Good Mr. Baxter (1)

I am wonderfully and warmly acquainted with a four-legged canine, Mr. Baxter. But in this post I am referring to a two-legged human Puritan, Richard Baxter. And Besides, of late, the only thing Mr. Baxter (the canine) is “good” at is whining.

That word “good” (in the subject heading), by me is used quite loosely. For indeed, Richard Baxter is NOT truly “good,” but a bad, wicked, and evil heretic who being woefully ignorant of God’s righteousness sought to establish his own (cf. Romans 10:1-4). This is NOT to say that Richard Baxter has nothing at all “good” to say, but it needs pointing out that any superficially “good” quote by Baxter needs to be read and understood in his overarching heretical light.

Curt Daniel under the heading “The Major English Puritans,” writes:

Richard Baxter (1615-1691). Presbyterian. By far and away the most prolific Puritan writer, wrote on a host of subjects (systematic theology, ethics, politics, pastoral theology, ecclesiology, devotionals, evangelism, history, etc.), such as The Saints Everlastinq Rest; A Call to the Unconverted; The Reformed Pastor; Aphorisms of Justification; The Christian Directory; and over 100 other books, plus sermons, an autobiography, etc. One of Cromwell’s Chaplains. Considered a model pastor. Irenic and conciliatory for true ecumenism, though he was a leading opponent of Antinomianism. Founder of Neonomianism error. Helped in the recall of King Charles II” (Curt Daniel, The History & Theology of Calvinism).

Yes, Baxter is extremely prolific. Ironically, Richard Baxter’s “more practical works” are so dauntingly voluminous that it makes them impractical to read (or at least to read from cover-to-cover).

Mark Jones writes:

“Who were the Puritans? Since you are ‘meeting’ them it would be remiss if I — and I do not wish to implicate my fellow contributors in this contention — did not at least give a definition of who the Puritans were. Now, one of the problems in defining a ‘Puritan’ has to do with the ‘canon’ that the Banner of Truth Trust set up, a canon that included the solidly Reformed men and a few others like Richard Baxter — but, note, only Baxter’s ‘practical works.’ Of course, has anyone ever raised the question as to whether Baxter’s neonomianism may have (negatively?) impacted his practical stuff?”

Jones’ point is that the Trust has not published Baxterian works such as Universal Redemption of Mankind. Whatever the Trust may deem as unfit for publishing in Baxter’s alleged “neonomianism,” it may be that Baxter’s views are not as dissimilar as those works the Trust DOES publish. Anyway, here are a couple of excerpts from Baxter’s aforementioned work:

Prop. XLVII …They therefore that think it, a making Christ to suffer in vain, to say, He died for some that perish; do themselves make him much more, to suffer in vain, in saying, he paid a Price for some, which was sufficient for all, but shall be no way efficient for them.

Prop. LIII. The Doctrine of Universal Redemption thus delivered, runs with the whole Scope of Scripture, and hath not the least inconveniences; when the denial of it, contradicts a multitude of express Texts, and brings on more desperate consequences than can easily be conceived.

Prop. LIX Those that dare say, that Christ is an imperfect Redeemer if he do not procure Faith itself for every Man that he Dies for, (which is their master Argument) may as well say, that God is an imperfect Creator, because he maketh not Worms to be Men; or that he is an imperfect Conservator because he preserved not man from Mortality, Damnation and Antecedent Calamities; especially from Sin: Or that he is imperfectly Merciful, because he permits Men to sin; and Condemns them: Or that Christ is an Imperfect Redeemer of the Elect, because he suffers them after his Redemption to Sin, Suffer and Die: Or, that the Holy Ghost is an imperfect Sanctifier and Caller, because many wicked Men are Sanctified and Believe imperfectly (so as will not suffice to Salvation) and because they resist and quench the Spirit, and fall from that Faith and Sanctification which they had. Or that the Spirit is an imperfect Comforter; because so many Saints Live and Die in such uncomformitable sadness: Or that Scripture is an imperfect means, because the Effect is so imperfect. In a word, they may as well say, that where God doth not overcome mens wicked dispositions, he is an imperfect God to them in regard of his Mercies: All which beseem not the Tongue of a Christian” (Richard Baxter).

Regarding proposition LIX quoted directly above: Not good, but very bad logical reasoning there, Mr. Baxter. To maintain that MANY are those who perish for whom Christ died, is NOT to make Him an “imperfect Redeemer,” but a “perfect failure.” Thus, it is damnable blasphemy to so maintain. It is to maintain that the supposedly saved elect sinner is the ultimate redeemer who “redeems” Christ’s work from failing (as it is perniciously supposed to have failed in those non-elect sinners who were unable or unwilling to “redeem” the “redeemer”).