I like Richard Baxter’s practical theology but reading Baxter without some caution is dangerous.
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…
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