Packer: Shepherd Reinvented The Neonomianism Of Richard Baxter

Shepherd in effect reinvented the neonomianism of Richard Baxter in the 17th century—and from the same motive—recoil from the practical antinomianism that surrounded him, and a desire to state the gospel as to make perfectly obvious that persevering holiness is enjoined on all who hope to be welcomed by Christ the Lord on the day of judgment. Like Baxter, he never understood why was constantly being accused of reintroducing legalism into Reformed soteriology when his purpose of promoting holiness among Reformed people was so demonstrably right….

—J. I. Packer (1992).

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    • I think you may have forgotten a pronoun, Trent. Isn’t it supposed to be “Isn’t ‘it’ supposed to be ‘why he was’ not ‘why was’?” not “Isn’t supposed to be ‘why he was’ not ‘why was’?”?

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if Baxter hadn’t written that huge best seller “The Reformed Pastor”?

    • I don’t know about this work specifically, but he wrote a lot. Muller (PRRD Vil 1 pg. 66) counts Baxter as among those “generally within the bounds of mainline Reformed theology”.

      • John Owen wrote an entire vol to refute Baxter on justification. Packer wrote his DPhil thesis on Baxter. He may have been “generally” orthodox on Trinity & Christology but he was a neonomian rationalist whose congregation became Unitarian.

        • Wasn’t Owen a Congregationalist? My point being that the theologies of the time were broader and muddier than some of us might like. In the same way, Baxter was both popular and respected not only in his time, but our time as well.

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