The New Hampshire Confession of Faith
The New Hampshire Confession of Faith was drawn up in 1833 by the “Triennial Convention” group of Baptists in the US, in response to an evolving understanding and perception of the earlier Philadelphia Confession of Faith that was first issued in 1742. The newer document is considered to be more moderate in nature, and while shorter than the PA Confession, largely affirms it.
The major controversy attached to the two statements was primarily to do with the issue of free will compared to predestination, with people viewing the NH confession as more supportive of free will.
The Triennial Convention Baptists were so-named because they met every three years and was the first Baptist denomination in the US, being formed in 1814. Its official name was The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions. In 1845 a schism (over issues to do with free will, missions and slavery) saw the founding of a separate group, the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Triennial Convention became primarily located in northern states, was renamed the Northern Baptist Convention in 1907, and renamed again to “American Baptist Churches USA” in 1972.
The notional author of the NH Confession was the Rev J Newton Brown, although a large number of people were involved in its drafting and publication. and the precepts of the document are Calvinist in nature rather than Lutheran.
We are publishing the full text of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith here because it is an important document and well supported by Bible citations. It is available online elsewhere, too (of course – here’s a great version that more closely ties the citations to the statements they support), but generally on websites that don’t offer the pop-up convenience of being able to instantly see what the Bible citations actually say.
A detailed and rather heavy-going analysis of this document in several parts is here. As time allows, we’ll add our own comments too.
I. Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect
treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and
truth without any mixture of error for its matter, that it reveals the principles by which
God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true
center of Christian union , and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds,
and opinions should be tried.
II Tim. 3:16-17; II Tim. 3:15; Proverbs 30:5-6; Romans 2:12; Phil. 3:16; I John 4:1
II. Of the True God
We believe that there is one, and only one living and true God, an infinite intelligent
Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth;
inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love;
that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost; equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in
the great work of redemption.
John 4:24; Ps. 83:18; Heb.3:4; Rom. 1:20; Jer.10:10; Ex.15:11; Ps.147:5; Isa.6:3; I Peter 1:15-16; Rev.4:6-8; Mark12:30; Rev.4:11; Matt.10:37; Jer.2:12-13; Matt.28:19; John 15:26; I Cor.12:4-6; I John 5:7; John 10:30; John 5:17; John 14:23; John 17:5&10; Acts 5:3-4; I Cor.2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; II Cor.13:14; Rev. 1:4-5.
III. Of the Fall of Man
We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker, but by
voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all
mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of
that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under
just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
Gen.1:27; Gen.1:31; Ecc.7:29; Acts 17:26-29; Gen.2:16-17; Gen.3:6-24; Rom. 5:12;
Rom.5:15-19; Ps.51:5; Rom.8:7; Isa.53:6; Gen.6:12; Rom.3:9-18; Eph.2:1-3;
Rom.1:18,32; Rom.2:1-16; Gal.3:10; Matt. 20:15; Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom.1:20; Rom.3:19;
IV. Of the Way of Salvation
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the Mediatorial
offices of the Son of God; who by the appointment of the Father freely took upon him our
nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his
death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, he is now
enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with
divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient
Eph.2:3, Matt. 18:11, I John4:10, I Cor.3:5-7, Acts 15:11, John 3:16, John1:1-14, Heb. 4:14, Heb. 12-24, Phil. 2:9&14, II Cor. 5:21, Isa. 42:21, Phil. 2:8, Gal. 4:4-5, Rom. 3:21, Isa. 53:4-5, Matt. 20:28, Rom.4:25, Rom. 3:21-26, I John 2:3, I Cor. 15:1-3, Heb.9:13-15, Heb.1:8, Heb. 1:3, Col. 3:1-4, Heb. 7:25, Col. 2:18, Heb. 7:26, Ps. 89:19, Ps.34
V. Of Justification
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him
is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life
on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of
righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by
virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it
brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other
blessing needful for time and eternity.
John 1:16, Eph.3:8, Acts 13:39, Isa. 53:11-12, Rom5:1-2, Rom. 5:9, Zech. 13;1, Matt. 9:6, Acts 10:43, Rom. 5:17, Titus 3:5-7, I Peter 3:7, I John 2:25, Rom. 5:21, Rom. 4:4-5, Rom. 6:23, Phil. 3:7-9, Rom. 5:19, Rom. 3:24-26, Rom.4:23-25, I John 2:12, Rom. 5:3, Rom. 5:11, I Cor. 1:30-31, Matt. 6:33, I Tim. 4:8
VI. Of the Freeness of Salvation
We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the
immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial penitent, and obedient faith; and that
nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent
depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an
Isa. 55:1, Rev. 22:17, Rom. 16:25-26, Mark 1:15, Rom. 1:15-17, John 5:40, Matt.23:37,
Rom.9:32, Pro. 1:24, Acts 13:46, John 3:19, Matt. 11:20, Luke 10:27, II Thess. 1:8
VII. Of Grace in Regeneration
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that
regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a
manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with
divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper
evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life
John 3:3, John 3:6-7, I Cor.3:14, Rev.14:3, Rev. 21:27, II Cor. 5;17, Ezek. 36:26, Deu. 30-6, Rom. 2:28-29, Rom.5:5, I John 4:7, John 3:8, John 1:13, James 1:16-18, I Cor. 1:30, Phil. 2:13, I Peter 1:22-25, I John 5:1, Eph. 4:20-24, Col. 3:9-11, Eph. 5:9, Rom. 8:90, Gal. 5:16-23, Eph. 3:14-21, Matt. 3:8-10, Matt.7:20, I John 5:4, 18
VIII. Of Repentance and Faith
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties and also inseparable graces,
wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced
of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to
God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; at the same time
heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and relying on
him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour
Mark 1:15, Acts 11:18, Eph. 2:8, I John 5:1, John 16:8, Acts 2:37-38, Acts 16:30-31 Luke 18:13, Luke 15:18-21, James 4:7-10, II Cor. 7:11, Romans 10:12-13, Ps.51, Rom. 10:9-11, Acts 3:22-23, Heb. 4:14, Ps.2:6, Heb. 1:8, Heb. 7:25, II Tim. 1:12
IX. Of God’s Purpose of Grace
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously
regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free
agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most
glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and
unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer,
praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of
means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly
believe the gospel, that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it
with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
II Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; I Peter 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15;16; I John 4:19; II Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matt. 20:16; Acts 15:14; Ex. 33:18-19; Matt. 20:15; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:23-24; Jer. 31:3; Rom.11:28-29; James 1:17-18; II Tim.1:9; Rom. 11:32-36; I Cor. 1:26-31; Rom.3:27; Rom. 4:16; Col.3:12; I Cor. 3:5-7; I Cor. 15:10; I Peter 5:10; Acts 1:24; I Thess. 2:13; I Peter 2:9; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; I Thess. 2:12; II Tim. 2:10; I Cor. 9:22; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; I Thess 1:4-10; Isa. 42:16; Rom. 11:29; II Peter 1:10-11; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 6:11
X. Of Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the process by which according to the will of God, we
are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in
regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power
of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed meansespecially
the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
I Thess. 4:3; I Thess. 5:23; II Cor. 7:1; II Cor. 13:10; Phil. 3:12-16; I John 2:29; Rom. 8:5; Eph. 1:4; Pro. 4:18; II Cor. 3:18; Heb. 6:1; II Peter 1:5-8; John 3:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 1:13-14; Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 4:11-12; I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18; II Cor. 13:5; Luke 11:35; Luke 9:23; Matt. 26:41; Eph.6:18; Eph.4:30
XI. Of Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end: that their persevering
attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial
professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by
the power of God through faith unto salvation.
John 8:31; I John 2:27-28; I John 3:9; I John 5:18; I John 2:19; John 13:18; Matt. 13:20-21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9; Rom. 8:28; Matt. 6:30-33; Jer. 32:40; Ps.121:3; Ps. 91:11-12; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13; Jude 24:25; Heb.1:14; II Kings 6:16; Heb. 13:5; I John 4:4
XII. Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel
We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral
government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the scriptures
ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver
them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the
holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the
establishment of the visible church.
Rom. 3:31; Matt. 5:17; Luke 16:17; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 4:15; Rom. 7:12; Rom.7:7,14-22;
Gal.3:21; Ps. 119; Rom.8:7-8; Josh. 24:19; Jer. 13:23; John 6:44; John 5:44; Rom. 8:2-4;
Rom. 10:4; I Tim. 1:5; Heb. 8:10; Jude 20&21
XIII. Of a Gospel Church
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers,
associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances
of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in
them by his word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops or pastors and deacons
whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
I Cor. 1:1-3; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 11:21-23; I Cor. 4:17; I Cor. 14:23;
III John 9; I Tim. 3:5; Acts 2:41-42; II Cor. 8:5; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 5:12-13; I Cor. 11:2; II Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; I Cor.11:23-24; Matt. 18:15-20; I Cor. 5:6; II Cor. 2:17; I Cor. 4:17; Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; John 15:12; I John 14:21; I Thess. 4:2; II John 6; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 4:7; I Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:22; I Tim. 3; Titus 1
XIV. Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the
name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful
emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect, in our death
to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church
relation, and to the Lord’s Supper; in which the members of the church by the sacred use
of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded
always by solemn self-examination.
Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:5-6; John 3:22-23; John 4:12; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12; Acts 16:32-34; Acts 18:8; Acts 10:47-48; Gal.3:26-28; Rom.6:4; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:20-21; Acts 22:16; Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; I Cor.11:28; I Cor. 5:1-8; I Cor. 10:3-32; I Cor. 11:17-32; John 6:26
XV. Of the Christian Sabbath
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath; and it is
to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful
recreations, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public;
and by preparation for the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; I Cor. 16:1-2; Ex. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Ps. 118:15, 24; Isa. 58:13-14; Isa. 56:2-8; Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; Acts 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2-3; Ps. 26:8; Ps. 87:3; Heb. 4:3-11
XVI. Of the Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good
order of human society,; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously
honored, and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
Rom. 13:1-7; Deuteronomy 16:18; II Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:23; Jer. 30:21; Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13; I Tim. 2:1-4; Acts 5:29; Matt.28; Dan. 3:15-18; Dan. 6:7-10; Acts 4:18-20; Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4; Rev. 19:16; Ps.72:11; Ps.2; Rom. 14:9-13
XVII. Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the
wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and
sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as
continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and
this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
Mal. 3:18; Pro. 12:26; Isa. 5:20; Gen. 18:23; Jer. 15:19; Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 6:16; Rom. 1:17; Rom. 7:6; I John 2:29; I John 3:7; Rom. 6:18,22; I Cor. 11:32; Pro. 11:31; I Peter 4:17-18; I John 5:19; Gal. 3:10; John 3:36; Isa. 57:21; Ps. 10:4; Isa. 55:6-7; Pro. 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Pro. 10:24; Luke 12:4-5; Luke 9:23-26; Ecc. 3:17; Matt. 7:13-14
XVIII. Of the World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the Last Day Christ will
descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn
separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment,
and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of
men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
I Peter 4:7; I Cor. 7:29-31; Heb. 1:10-12; Matt. 24:35; I John 2:17; Matt. 28:20; Matt. 13:39-40; II Peter 3:3-13; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Heb. 9:28; Acts 3:21; I Thess 4:13-18; I Thess. 5:1-11; Acts 24:15; I Cor. 15:12-58; Luke 14:14; Dan. 12:2 John 5:28-29; John 6:40; John 11:25-26; II Tim. 1:10; Acts 10:42; Matt. 13:49; Matt. 13:37-43; Matt. 24:30-31; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 22:11; I Cor. 6:9-10; Mark 9:43-48; II Peter 2:9; Jude7; Phil. 3:19; Rom. 6:23; II Cor. 5:10-11; John 4:36; II Cor. 4:18; Rom. 3:5-6; II Thess. 1:6-12; Heb. 6:1-2; I Cor. 4:5; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:2-16; Rev.20:11-12; I John 2:28; I John 4:17; II Peter 3:11-12