In the last post on the Baptist Catechism, I presented some of the history of the catechism from Benjamin Beddome’s Exposition. Below, I provide a little more information regarding the catechism, taken from Philip Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom.
Schaff footnotes the section with additional information regarding the adoption of the catechism by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742.
According to “A genetic history of Baptist thought” by William H. Brackney, the Baptist Confession of 1689 was being used in various churches in New England and was officially adopted, along with the catechism, by the first Baptist association – the Philadelphia Baptist Association, in 1742. The Philadelphia Association ordered Ben Franklin to print enough copies to be distributed to all the churches in this first early association. The confession remained the primary statement of faith for Baptist churches until the Great Awakening of the 1820s. Interestingly, a new catechism was drawn up in New England in 1795 to teach the doctrines of the 1689 Confession – “It simplified doctrinal statements and was a popular expression for several generations.” From my own review of this newer catechism, I can see the influence of more modern and American Baptist elements displacing some of the more strongly Reformed positions. The catechism can be found HERE, perhaps mistakingly called ‘Philadelphia Baptist Confession’ at that web site.