Benjamin Keach’s The Marrow of True Justification [4-Part Audio Read by Jeff Massey]

Jeff Massey, who helps kick out an excellent weekly radio program, in 2006 provided this excellent resource [RSS for MP3s]:


Benjamin Keach

Read by Jeff Massey

Benjamin Keach was a leader among the 17th century English Particular Baptists and a pastor of a Particular Baptist Church meeting at Horsly-Down, Southwark for 36 years. He also represented the church at Horsly-Down at the 1689 General Assembly, which adopted what has become known as the Second London Baptist Confession.


In this first reading from The Marrow of True Justification, Benjamin Keach explains why the Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ Alone is ‘the very pillar of the Christian Religion.’ Then Keach gives the scope and coherence of Romans 4:5, so that his hearers might ‘understand the design and main drift of the Holy Spirit therein.’

Part 1 [mp3]

In this second reading from The Marrow of True Justification, Benjamin Keach answers the false and erroneous teachings of some men concerning the great Doctrine of Justification. He refutes the teachings of the Papists, Socinians, Arminians, Quakers, and some men, such as Richard Baxter, who were looked upon as true preachers of the Gospel by many, but who wrongly insisted that ‘sincere obedience’ must be joined to faith in order for a man to be justified.

Part 2 [mp3]

In this third reading from The Marrow of True Justification, Keach gives the scriptural proofs and arguments to confirm the doctrine that all works done by the creature are excluded from justification. Keach also shows that the false notion that men can be justified by works has its real origin in our corrupt natural reason and is part of the wisdom of this world.

Part 3 [mp3]

In this fourth and final reading from The Marrow of True Justification, Keach provides further scriptural proofs and arguments to confirm the doctrine that all works done by the creature are excluded from justification. Keach also shows that the Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ Alone does not lead to lawlessness (Antinomianism).

Part 4 [mp3]

Concern Expressed About Richard Baxter’s so-called “Reformed Pastor” [Brian Mann]

Richard Baxter

Pastor Brian J. Mann of Catherine Lake Baptist Church has written a short post expressing concern regarding the embrace by many of the practical works of Richard Baxter, particularly his book, The Reformed Pastor.

If you have not already been exposed to Richard Baxter, the time may come that someone may speak of him as gold, and it shall do you well to be informed on the matter–at least a bit.  Most know Baxter by his book entitled:  The Reformed Pastor.  This book’s title is actually misleading because it does not mean “reformed” as we know it concerning a covenantal view and doctrines of grace, but rather simply “renewed.”  Baxter speaks of the need to reform or renew pastoral ministry via closer examination of members in the churches.  The idea sounds quite attractive, but the motives are questionable.

This is because theoretic or marrow theology necessarily impacts practical and pastoral theology.  Just as a person in the pew can be motivated out of guilt to do this or that, so can the pastor.  And in the case of the Reformed Pastor, Baxter sets forth what was reputed to be the best thing since sliced bread of the time to many.  However, it is far from accurate to say all or even most accepted Baxter’s practical works in addition to the marrow of his theology built thereupon.


Baxter did not believe Christ was his righteousness, but that his faith and works contributed to his salvation not much different than Rome.  Those such as John Owen and Robert Traill spoke against this theology…


Baxter’s Reformed Pastor teaches us the lesson that just because something is called something it does not mean it is really that thing which it is called.  The title as mentioned is misleading, the book is informed by a teacher that has a historically erroneous view of the law and of justification; and goes so far to deny the doctrines of grace.  There is no restriction in reading a work like the Reformed Pastor, but if you are like me, you wish you had been informed when you first received such a book.  We are living in times when all that is hailed as reformed is not necessarily truly reformed.  That which professes godliness, does  not always produce godliness.  I find this matter important for pastors, because pastors lead churches, and if the pastor is not doing what he does based on good doctrine and reason, the same is likely to be passed on to those he is teaching.  The heart does matter.  And doctrine does impact what we do.  Therefore, it is not to say we cannot get something out of books that are motivated by wrong theology, but we should read with discernment and be concerned enough to question if the marrow of theology is wrong in a person’s life, should we not also question the practical theology as well?  If what a person believes is not biblical, then should we accept what a person says to do?  Jesus spoke of Pharisees, to listen to what they say, but do not practice what they practice.  Many make the opposite case for Baxter:  Don’t listen to what he teaches, but just do what he says.  I find this to be very questionable.  Christians are not people who are to simply do something without being informed and empowered by a true gospel… No matter how reputable a person is that recommends the Reformed Pastor, we have biblical principles that have authority above that person.

Read the entirety of Pastor Mann’s post here[6 min. readout]

At the end of his post he recommends watching Dr. Renihan’s lecture on this topic and says, “If time is limited I recommend watching at least the 15:54-19:20; and 54minute marks.”

Keach Contra Baxter [Austin R. Walker]

Benjamin Keach
Benjamin Keach

Austin R. Walker, writing for the Reformed Baptist Theological Review, describes how Benjamin Keach wrote against Richard Baxter’s rejection of the orthodox, confessional view of the gospel.

At the heart of Baxterianism was the teaching that by his death Jesus Christ the Mediator died for all men and merited a new and milder law of grace, the requirements of which were faith, repentance, and sincere obedience. It taught that God now presented the gospel as this new law, replacing the original law under which man was created. Christ, it was alleged, having made a compensation to divine justice and the law of works, effectively removed from the equation the original law that demanded perfect obedience. God will now no longer execute against sinners the punishment due to sin as a result of the breaking of this original law. Instead, the gospel offers an amnesty to penitent breakers of the old law. By virtue of Christ’s work, God now accepts penitent sinners on the basis of a new law of grace, with faith, repentance, and sincere obedience as their righteousness. Sinners are justified insofar as they obey the gospel terms and live holy lives, and not by the active and passive obedience of Christ imputed to them by faith. Justification is no longer by faith alone, by trusting in Christ and in God’s promised pardon. Rather, it is conditional: pardoned sinners accepting this new arrangement must now fulfil the easier gospel terms by their own obedience.

This stands in stark contrast to the teaching of the Reformed confessions.

Read a larger selection from this article at Reformed For His Glory.

More contra “Baxterianism”

James Renihan on Richard Baxter’s Doctrine of Justification [Audio & Video]


This lecture is primarily based off of Dr. Renihan’s article in the Reformed Baptist Theological Review: Reforming The Reformed Pastor: Baptism and Justification as the Basis for Richard Baxter’s Pastoral Method… in which Dr. Renihan shows the unorthodox neonomian errors of Richard Baxter who denied justification by faith in his Aphorisms of Justification.

Pastor Tom Hicks:

I’m grateful for the post, since while many people are aware of Baxter’s Reformed Pastor and Christian Directory, few are aware of his denial of all imputations (Adam’s, ours, Christ’s), denial of justification by faith only, and affirmation of justification by works of inherent righteousness.


Here is the 67 minute video from Dr. Renihan’s Puritanism in Context course:


More contra “Baxterianism”

[source: MCTS]

Unity Against Distortions of Justification by Faith Alone [Benjamin Keach]

keachIn this post from Particular Voices, Benjamin Keach calls for unity among those who affirm the Scriptural doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone, on the grounds of the imputed righteousness of Christ Alone. He warns his readers against those who would give lip-service to this truth, while actually seeking to undermine and distort it. Faith – belief of the gospel – is the instrument by which we lay hold of Christ and his righteousness; it is not a work we must perform, a law to be obeyed, or a means of meriting salvation. (This was the error of Puritan Richard Baxter, what was sometimes called “Baxterianism” as Keach refers to it here.)

This post is all too relevant for today, with movements such as the Federal Vision continuing to make headway in denominations such as the PCA. You can read this timely post here.

Hole in External Federal Holiness, Federal Vision Response, Objection! Not All Credos Have Saving Faith! + More – Particular Voices

Lots of post on the Particular Voices blog this week (and some days),which means lots of snippets from our Baptist forefathers. Throughout the week I started to put them in our “Weekly Roundup” post but some of the content was just to good not to feature on it’s own (not to mention some of the titles themselves are just great.)

First I will feature the Dippers Dipt graphic he posted followed by the rest of the post I mentioned above:

Daniel Featley’s “The Dippers Dipt”

This is the first page of Daniel Featley’s “The Dippers Dipt.” The picture has been slightly censored. It’s sad that it was needed. How does one take such work seriously when this picture is the first page?


The Grace of Law by Dr. Ernest Kevan Reviewed by Guy Davies

Dr. Ernest Kevan (1903-1965) was a Strict Baptist Minister, and Founder and Principle of London Bible College (now London School of Theology). He is best known for his often referenced PhD thesis, “The Grace of Law” which is a study of the Puritan’s understanding of The Moral Law. What follows is Pastor Guy Davies’ (Ebenezer Baptist Church, West Lavington, Wiltshire, England)  review of this work.


[buy via Amazon]

A confession. I’m something of a chronological snob. Not a full blown one, mind you. I count Augustine, Calvin, Owen and Bavinck among my favourite authors. But I’m a chronological snob none the less. Unless it’s stuff that’s over, say, a hundred years old, I have difficulty in reading anything other than recent publications. This year’s titles and last year’s, yes. The year before that, maybe. But anything before 2009 is so out of date. It’s an unfortunate quirk, I know, but there we are.

What to do, then with a book originally published in the 1960’s and reprinted in 1993. That’s neither decently old or fresh and up to date. Best leave it gathering dust on the shelf. But then I was sent a copy of the author’s biography to review, Ernest Kevan: Leader in Twentieth Century Evangelicals, by Paul E. Brown (Banner of Truth, 2012) . How could I do a proper review of the subject’s life if I wasn’t acquainted with his key book? Time to crucify my chronological snobbery, swallow hard and dust off The Grace of Law. Glad I did too.

kevan 1

In their historical context the Puritans had to engage with three divergent, yet erroneous views on law of God. They had to avoid the Scylla of the legalists, who taught salvation by law and the Charybdis of the antinomians, who rejected the law as a rule of life for believers. To make things more complicated, they also had to resist the Siren voices of the neonomians, who turned the gospel into a new, easier-to-keep version of the law. That all sounds very seventeenth century. But like the poor, legalists and antinomians are always with us in one form or another. And there is more than a passing resemblance between Richard Baxter’s neonomian conception of the law and the position advocated by Tom Wright and his ‘new perspective’ fellow-travellers. The Puritans provide us with the theological resources to respond to contemporary versions of the heterodox views on the law with which they had to battle.

Kevan ransacked the works of the Puritans in order to recover their thinking on the law of God. He provides a richly detailed and nuanced study of the Puritan view of the law as an expression of God’s commanding authority. Amongst other things he discuses the law and sin, the place of the law in the covenant purposes of God, the law and justification, and grace-enabled Christian law keeping. The Puritans did not regard the law of God as a burden on the believer. Rather, they taught that the joyful keeping of the law is the authentic expression of Christian liberty from the bondage of sin. In the words of William Perkins, “The more we are bound to obedience, the freer we are: because the service of God is not bondage, but perfect libertie.” (Cited on p. 247-248).

The Grace of Law, Kevan’s Phd thesis makes for a demanding, yet rewarding read. If nothing else, his work has helped liberate me from my chronological snobbery against books that either aren’t new enough or old enough to warrant my usual attention. Now I’m ready to make a start on the author’s biography.