Richard Baxter and the Federal Vision

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Reformed Covenanter, Jan 1, 2008.

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  1. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Are the views of FVers on justification the same as those of Richard Baxter, with his view of Neonomianism, or do you consider them to be more extreme?

    The reason I ask is because I was reading today (as part of my exam revision) about a leading Non-Subscribing Irish Presbyterian John Abernethy (1720s) who (so it was alleged) held a view that believing the gospel and our good works was the ground of our justification.
     
  2. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Hi Daniel,

    The scheme: "in by grace, stay in by faith and works (or faithfulness)" is as old the 1st century rabbis. Baxter may not have taught the FV, but his theology does anticipate elements of the modern moralist theology. I discuss this some in CJPM. You're right to see a connection.

    rsc

     
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  4. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Dr Clark

    The problem then is that the FVers could say that since they are only teaching what Richard Baxter taught (though I think some of them go beyond that) then they are not teaching anything outside the bounds of Calvinistic orthodoxy.

    Is it not also true that they (and in particular, Norman Shepherd) say that 3 members of the Westminster Assembly denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ to the believer (it is alleged William Twisse held such a view)?
     
  5. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Well, there are two ways to reply:

    1) Richard Baxter is not the norm of Reformed orthodoxy. Baxter was a notorious neonomian in his own day whose doctrine of justification was repudiated by John Owen and the rest of the orthodox.

    2) The Reformed confessions define orthodoxy. The fact that we've become a little sleepy-headed about Baxter's slipperiness and the confessions gives no foothold to the moralists. We confess what we confess and it's quite distinct from what the moralists confess.

    3) Yes, a small number of divines denied IAO. See the relevant chapter in CJPM where I address this.

    rsc

     
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks Dr. Clark. :cheers:
     
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