Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Benjamin Keach, Not "Reformed"


We received the following email from our friend, Ian Elsasser, in which he points out how the so-called "Reformed Baptists" have erroneously pegged Benjamin Keach of the 17th century as "Reformed." Keach was a "Baptist" but there is no evidence that he or any other Baptists of his period referred to themselves as "Reformed."

Keach was one of C. H. Spurgeon's notable predecessors as Pastor of the church in London, including John Gill and John Rippon. None of these ever referred to himself or the church as "Reformed Baptists." Neither did Spurgeon himself.


I came upon the Benjamin Beach entry in Wikipedia and noticed that, like the Spurgeon entry, some Reformed Baptist identified him in the first sentence as "a Reformed Baptist preacher." I changed the description to "Particular Baptist" since that is what he was.

These Reformed Baptist guys need to stop this anachronism which will mislead the readers and serves only to co-opt Keach and his brethren into their own movement which is not necessarily the same as the 1600-1800 period thought. I wish these gents would have respect for history and use the proper terms, for Reformed Baptist did not exist as a phrase until the 1960s in England and then into Canada and the USA.

Bob's comment:

A friend of mine who is a very keen and scholarly student of Baptist history sent me the following email awhile back:

>>Bro. Bob: In my research over the years I have never found a historical reference where the term "Reformed Baptists" was used by missionary Calvinistic Baptists before the 1950s influence of the Banner of Truth [Pedobaptist] men. It was, however, in the nineteenth century a term used to designate both the anti-missionary Primitive Baptists and the anti-missionary Campbellite movement, and as you know the latter was also anti-Calvinistic. The Campbellites were often referred to by Regular (Calvinistic) Baptists as "Reformers" and "Reformed Baptists." I can cite a number of historical examples of this. Even "Reformed Baptist" Samuel Waldron, in his book, Baptist Roots in America, in order to find a historical use of the term "Reformed Baptists" had to cite a Primitive Baptist example. >>

Keach was not a "Reformed Baptist," and no Baptist today who repudiates Reformed Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinism should refer to himself as "Reformed." It is a modern misnomer.

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