Owen vs. Baxter on Active and Passive Obedience in Justification

Posted in Justification with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2014 by Jultomte

Richard Baxter, The Reasons of the Christian Religion
Richard Baxter:
“The Independents gathered a Synod at the Savoy, and there among their Doctrinals, or Articles of Faith, laid down two points Expressly contrary to Scripture: 1. That it is not Faith, but Christ’s Righteousness, that we are justified by; whereas it is both, and the Scripture often saith the contrary.”

John Owen, Excercitations Concerning the Name
John Owen:
“It is a strange thing that any man should take upon him such Magisterial Dictatorship in matters of Religion, to insinuate into Men’s Minds, and unjust accusations of others: For 1. When the Scripture speaks of Justification by Faith, doth any sound Divines or Christians understand it of the Act of believing, but that the object of Faith that Justifies, is the Righteousness of Faith, our own Righteousness, or Christ’s Righteousness; but this dispute is not our present Province. The Articles of the Savoy Confession saith, God freely justifieth us — not by imputing faith it self, the Act of believing, &c. Will you say, That God imputes the Act of believing for Righteousness, in Justification of a Sinner before God? If you will, there’s more good Protestants will condemn this as your Error, then will say there is any Error in that Article of the Savoy Confession; I am sure we have Scripture enough against you; but this is one of your Arminian Errors.”

Richard Baxter:
“That Christ’s Righteousness imputed is our sole Righteousness; whereas the Scripture doth name also our inherent and practical Righteousness.”

John Owen:
“Why do you not speak out now, but intimate an Error? Doth the Scripture name inherent Righteousness for Justification? I know what you would be at, you are for your Evangelical Works to come in Cheek by Jole with the imputed Righteousness of Christ for Justification; and you are inforced to it, because you will bring in the To Credere, one may as well come in as the other; And in this Doctrine I must tell you, you have laid the fairest Bridge for Popery to come in, that ever any Protestant Divine hath done this hundred years. And that’s your Popish Error.
I will rehearse the Savoy Confession in its own words, which is taken verbatim almost, if not quite, from the Assembly’s; so that you charge the latter, in charging the former.”

Savoy Confession of Justification, Chap. XI.

Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing Righteousness into them, but by pardoning their Sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing Faith it self, the Act of Believing, or any other Evangelical Obedience to them, as their Righteousness, but by imputing Christ’s Active Obedience unto the whole Law, and Passive Obedience in his death, for their whole and sole Righteousness, they receiving and resting on him and his Righteousness, by Faith, which Faith they have not of themselves, it is the Gift of God.

“This Article we stand by, and will defend against all men that shall oppose it as erroneous.”

Isaac Chauncy, A Theological Dialogue, 48 Owen and Baxter

It just has to be true! Because…well…

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on November 13, 2014 by Jultomte

Thomas Wright, The Passions, 317

No one is exempt.

Dr. Carl Trueman on the Doctrine of Scripture

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , on November 1, 2014 by Jultomte

Trueman Conference

Matthew Hopkins, Witch-Finder General

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on October 31, 2014 by Jultomte

Beware, witches and werewolves! Matthew Hopkins is on the case. With his high boots, sharp spurs, bowstaff, and superhero cape he’s sure to solve the mystery and bring those sorcerers to justice!

Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins

(A Were-wolf is caught and killed, 1590).
A Werewolf, 1590

(A surfing witch, 1643)
A Witch, 1643

(Devils doing devil stuff, 1700)
Joseph Glanville, Saducismus

(Witches on a hog, 1612)
Witches, 1612

(Witches getting ready to fight Matthew Hopkins, 1618)
Witches, 1618

Happy Reformation Day!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , on October 31, 2014 by Jultomte

There are many informative and helpful posts being published today concerning Martin Luther, his 95 theses, and other events related to the Protestant Reformation. Here at Particular Voices, however, we like to take you to the sources (ad fontes) in true Reformation style. So enjoy these few portraits and pieces from Martin Luther.

Martin Luther, 3

Samuel Clark, The Marrow, 227

Martin Luther, 1

Francis Atterbury, An answer to some considerations, 6-7

Martin Luther, 2

Martin Luther, Colloquia, Preface

Sleidanus, The General History, 2

Melancthon, A Famous

And in good Luther fashion, a little rhetoric…
Alber Erasmus, The alcoran of the franciscans, 139, 141

Adam Melchior, The life of Dr Martin Luther, 141

Adam Melchior, The life of Dr Martin Luther, 142

Martin Luther

A Dying Father’s Words to His Daughter

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on October 14, 2014 by Jultomte

Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 3-4
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 4-5
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 7
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 8-9
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 95
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 96
Hugh Peters, A Dying Father's, 97

A Few Thoughts for Consideration in the Modern Republication Debate

Posted in Covenant Theology, Westminster Confession of Faith with tags , , on September 4, 2014 by Jultomte

These thoughts are directed primarily at members in the OPC and PCA.

For those contra republication:

  1. The view that the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of works is a view found among Reformed divines in the 17th and 16th centuries.
  2. The Westminster Confession of Faith is not the exclusive expression or boundary of Reformed orthodoxy.

For those pro republication:

  1. The fact that a given divine at the Westminster Assembly held to a given view does not mean that the Confession itself either reflects, includes, or accounts for their view. They debated many things. The conclusion of the debates was a majority vote in one direction, not a unanimous vote.
  2. A covenant of works and a covenant of grace are as different as wood and stone. They are different “substances.” If the Mosaic covenant is a formal covenant of works (not just containing a remembrance of Adam’s covenant) it cannot be the covenant grace. See John Ball, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (London: Printed by G. Miller, 1645), 93-95. Ball is discussing John Cameron’s view that the Mosaic covenant (the old covenant) is neither the covenant of works nor the covenant of grace but a legal covenant for the nation of Israel to live life in the land of Canaan. Ball concludes that this view makes the old covenant differ from the new in substance. See also John Owen, A Continuation of the Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (London: Printed for Nathaniel Ponder, 1680), 324-42. Owen considers the majority view as expressed in the WCF and rejects it because he views the Mosaic covenant as a works covenant for life in the land. This is the result of the simple logic of substance as applied to covenant theology.

For both groups:

  1. The Westminster Confession was originally intended to be used as a government-backed, fueled, and promoted public standard of teaching and preaching in England, a standard not to be contradicted. Its limited function means that divines could participate in its making, and even live with its final form, so long as they did not overturn the status quo. In England, the Confession of Faith never got off its feet. The Independent-controlled government edited its proposed form in key ways, and the restoration of Charles II neutered any force the confession would have had. Scotland was another story. See http://pettyfrance.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/confessional-subscription-and-the-westminster-assembly/ and http://pettyfrance.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/the-textual-history-of-the-westminster-confession-of-faith/
  2. How your church uses the Westminster Confession of Faith may be quite different from its original intent and design. Whereas its original function may have permitted the flavors of Reformed theology to coexist, the function that your church is assigning to it may not. You have to deal with that. If you are another “flavor” than the WCF but your view was found among the Westminster divines or Reformed theology in general, that still does not mean that your church’s use of the WCF permits you within its boundaries.
  3. You’re probably not using the term “administration” correctly or accurately.
  4. Vindiciae veritatis preface




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