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.

The 1689 Does NOT “decline to confess a covenant of works, as defined in WCF & SD” & Reasons for “deletions.” – Sam Renihan

A new post at the Particular Voices blog entitled, “The covenant of works in the 1677 London Baptist Confession” begins:

When comparing the Second London Baptist Confession to its parent documents, questions are raised as to why certain changes were made. A recurring question revolves around the place of the covenant of works in the confession. In his book, “Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective,” Greg Nichols dedicated an appendix to the “Adamic Covenant.” In that appendix, Nichols commented on the covenant of works in the Second London Baptist Confession. He noted that:


“LCF completely omits WCF 7:2 without defining a pre-fall covenant. It also deletes “covenant of works” from LCF 19:1″

“Further, LCF deleted the doctrine of the covenant of works from LCF 6:1, which was based in part on the First London Confession of 1644 (LCF1:4) and in part on the Savoy Declaration.”

“Thus, LCF intentionally deleted WCF 7:2 entirely and revised LCF 7:2 to accommodate this deletion. It also intentionally deletes the phrase “covenant of works” when employing WCF 19:1 and SD 6:1. However, it does not remove every vestige of this doctrine. Nevertheless, these deletions are significant and strategic. They express distance. The Baptist fathers do not deny a pre-fall covenant with Adam. Yet, at the very least, they decline to confess a covenant of works, as defined in WCF 7:2, 19:1 and in SD 6:1. Thus, the covenant of works doctrine does not have the same prominence in LCF that it has in the Westminster Standards and Savoy Declaration.”

In a footnote, he says “LCF 20:1 begins: “The covenant of works being broken by sin,” a verbatim quote of SD 20:1. The correct explanation for this inconsistency is not clear to me.”


Nichols does not quote a single Particular Baptist author in defense of his conclusions. For further reference on “subsequent development” of this topic in the LBCF tradition he suggests Gill, Dagg, and Boyce.


This post will offer evidence that the Second London Baptist Confession does not “decline to confess a covenant of works, as defined in WCF and SD.” It will offer evidence to the contrary. It will also offer reasons for the “deletions.”

Read the rest or listen to 13 minute readout (note: SoundGecko doesn’t readout the pictures.)

1689 Confession, Particular Baptists & the Substance/Administration Distinction – Sam Renihan

A very important post from the Particular Voices in which Sam Renihan begins:

Given recent interaction in a variety of places related to http://www.1689federalism.com/ in general, and the video on “20th century Reformed Baptists” in particular, I thought that it would be helpful to provide some data and reflections for those interested.

Here is the video:


Given the preface of the confession which declares that wherever there is agreement the same words will be used, we have to realize that if the editors of the London Baptist Confession wanted to confess WCF 7, they would have done so. Instead we see heavy changes. Now, what is the nature of these changes? This is not like the covenant of works in the confession. The covenant of works may have its name erased in chapter 7 and a few other places, but all of its parts are taught and the category itself is used throughout the confession. So in the case of the covenant of works, the LBCF does not deviate from the Westminster doctrine at all. But, in the case of the way that it treats the covenant of grace it most definitely departs from the Westminster Confession. Is the substance and administration setup taught elsewhere in the confession? No, it isn’t. So when you see an edit like that, it would indicate that the Baptists are at least declining to confess the Westminster model (one substance/two administrations) and perhaps rejecting that model.


This should lead us to say, “well, what do their writings demonstrate, following the WCF model or departing from it?” This blog has been largely dedicated to showing that the majority of Particular Baptists self-consciously rejected the “one substance/two administrations” model. However, Particular Baptist federal theology was not monolithic. Not all Particular Baptists agreed on all points, nor was federal theology articulated in monolithic ways (on either side of the debate). So, do not conclude that the Particular Baptists rejected the ideas of “the substance of the covenant” or the “administration of the covenant.” What the majority of them rejected was that the old and new covenants were simply “administrations” of the one covenant of grace. In a nutshell, because the new covenant was established on “better promises” the old and new could not be the same covenant. Nevertheless, there were Particular Baptists who adopted the WCF model, in a sense…

And one very important conclusions from this blog (that is highlighted on the blog):

It is probable that while the confession positively supports that notion (that the old and new differ in substance), it also remains broad enough to accommodate some of the variety within Particular Baptist federal thought.

Read the rest or listen to 13 minute readout (note that the readout doesn’t read the pictures on the site).

For more, check out the following podcast interview:


Update Aug. 18, 2014Part 2

Particular Voices 7 Day Roundup: WCF Textual History, Coxe, Keach & More

Looks like Sam Renihan has posted more than normal in the last 7 days. So I thought I would just round them all up here:


The textual history of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Alexander Mitchell, in The Westminster Assembly (1883), tells us a little bit about the textual history of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Contrary to popular assumption, the Westminster Confession as we know it today is not authentic in the sense that it is not the parliamentary approved version. The Westminster Assembly was called by Parliament, and was thus accountable to Parliament for authorization of its work. As you will see below, the version we know today is the version that was illegally reprinted and distributed in Scotland. The parliamentary approved version makes edits which Mitchell points out below…

Apparently, the Scots had a hard time submitting to the civil magistrate.


What does this mean? Your copies of the Westminster Confession of Faith are illegal!


Was there an old covenant administration of the covenant of grace?

What is the covenant of grace? From Nehemiah Coxe’s “A Discourse of the Covenants…”

To the authors of the late confession of faith

In 1678, Joseph Whiston, a very polemical writer, took a break from fire-breathing to speak a word of encouragement to the authors of the second London Baptist Confession. From Whiston’s “Infant Baptism Plainly Proved.” Guess who replied to Whiston in 1681? Perhaps, an author of the confession?

When was the institution or outward administration of the Covenant of Grace first established?

From Benjamin Keach’s “The Everlasting Covenant.” Keach tells us that though the Covenant of Grace had been made known since the fall of man, it was not established, nor did it have an outward visible administration until the life and death of Jesus Christ. Click the image for a larger version…

The old and new covenants differ in substance

From Nehemiah Coxe’s “A Discourse of the Covenants…”

The Buffoonery Of Harlequins by Abraham Booth [quote]

Abraham Booth talks about the seeker sensitive movement…err…wha??? [Thanks Sam Renihan!]


Others, and often the same persons, frequently use the gestures of the theatre, and the language of a mountebank : as if their business were to amuse, to entertain, and to make their hearers laugh. Extravagant attitudes and quaint expressions, appear in abundance, and constitute no small part of the entertainment furnished by such persons.

abraham-booth-kingdom-of-christ-63It may perhaps be said ; “This kind of trifling has its use. It is a mean of exciting curiosity, and of drawing many to hear the gospel, who might not otherwise have the least inclination so to do.” Such, I presume, is the chief reason by which preachers of this cast endeavor to justify themselves at the bar of their own consciences. In answer to which, a repitition of that capital saying, “My kingdom is not of this world,” might be sufficient : for that must be a wretched cause, even of a secular kind, which needs buffoonery to support it. To trifle in the service of God, is to be profane. It is, therefore, an impious kind of trifling ; and “shall we do evil that good may come?”


Nay, persecution has frequently been an occasion of spreading the gospel : yet few, I take it for granted, have persecuted for that end, or attempted to justify the practice upon that principle. Were this farcical conduct lawful, there would be reason to think that the cause of Christ, and the interests of the harlequin, are nearly allied ; because, the fame kind of means is adapted to promote them.



Among all the devices of carnal policy for the support and enlargement of our Lord’s kingdom, there are none more contempitble, and few more detestable than that of converting the pulpit into a stage of entertainment.


Eternal Justification Rejected at the First General Assembly in 1689 – Sam Renihan

An interesting little bit of history pointed out at Particular Voices:

These portions come from an anonymous work combating eternal justification. Its title is “Actual Justification Rightly Stated…” The following section shows that this question was brought up at the very first General Assembly in 1689, and that the ministers there rejected eternal justification.


Here is a transcription of the question posed and answered at the General Assembly:

“Q. Whether Believers were not actually reconciled to God, actually justified and adopted when Christ died?

A. That the Reconciliation, Justification, and Adoption of Believers are infallibly secured by the gracious purpose of God, and merit of Jesus Christ. Yet none can be said to be actually reconciled, justified, or adopted, until they are really implanted into Jesus Christ by Faith; and so by virtue of this their Union with him, have these Fundamental Benefits actually conveyed unto them. And this we conceive is fully evidenced, because the Scripture attributes all these Benefits to Faith, as the instrumental cause of them. Rom. 3.25. Chap. 5.11. Chap. 5.1. Gal. 3.26. And gives such Representation of the state of the Elect before Faith as is altogether inconsistent with an actual Right in them, Eph. 2.1,2,3,–12.”

See larger image and read more 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?


An open letter to our Reformed Paedobaptist brethren… from 1677

From Particular Voices:

This is a portion of the brief introduction to the appendix on baptism attached to the 1677 publication of the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith:


…if any of the Servants of our Lord Jesus shall, in the Spirit of meekness, attempt to convince us of any mistake either in judgement or practice, we shall diligently ponder his arguments; and accompt him our chiefest friend that shall be an instrument to convert us from any error that is in our ways, for we cannot wittingly do any thing against the truth, but all things for the truth.

Read the entire transcript.

Hermeneutics, Typology & Our Baptist Forefathers

Some snippets from our Baptist forefathers on Typology and Hermeneutics in general, from Sam Renihan’s Particular Voices blog:

Sam Renihan’s Particular Voices Blog With Nehemiah Coxe Snippets

Martin Marprelate, on his blog, points out the blog we were talking about on podcast #3 with Pascal Denault:

American theologian Sam Renihan has an interesting new blog, named Particular Voices [Interesting bits and pieces of 17th century literature.].


It consists of snippets from Puritan writers, mostly Particular Baptists… Many of them are on covenant theology; some of these are very interesting indeed. It is a folly of our age to imagine that those who went before us have nothing helpful to say to us.

The site is: http://pettyfrance.wordpress.com/

To give you a taste if the site, here are the snippets he’s obtained from Nehemiah Coxe:

New Covenant Theology and the 1644/1646 London Baptist Confession

There are some who choose to confess the 1646 London Baptist confession rather than the 1677 London Baptist confession. Their reasons for this choice vary, but among them are those who wish to adhere to what is known as “New Covenant Theology.” In making this move, it is claimed, they are identifying with Baptists who did not hold such a “rigid” stance on the law as it is expressed in the 1677 London Baptist confession. However, when examined in its historical context, there is no difference between the views of the early and later baptists concerning the law.

After the publication of the first confession in 1644, certain criticisms and inquiries were made to the Baptists concerning their positions on certain issues. In reply, they revised the confession and republished it in 1646. Benjamin Coxe, father of Nehemiah Coxe, also published an appendix to the confession in 1646 in order to give added clarity to some of the issues in question.

Go to the Particular Voices blog to see this short writing from Benjamin Coxe.