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"Take heed of being too forward in imposinge on others": orthodoxy and heresy in the Baxterian tradition

Keeble N (2006) "Take heed of being too forward in imposinge on others": orthodoxy and heresy in the Baxterian tradition. In: Loewenstein D & Marshall J (eds.) Heresy, Literature and Politics in Early Modern English Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 282-305.;

First paragraph: 'No particular Words in the World are Essentials of our Religion'.2 This startling pronouncement was made by the Puritan divine Richard Baxter during a conference convened in London in late 1654 to define the limits of tolerable religious orthodoxy under the Protectorate. What lay behind these words was a deep-seated suspicion of creedal formulae, confessions and platforms which to Baxter’s mind simply ‘multiply controversies, and fill the minds of men with scruples, and ensnare their consciences, and engage men in parties against each other to the certain breach of Charity’. Since ‘the Christian world will never have Concord, but in a FEW, CERTAIN, NECESSARY things’, to insist on subscription to any form of words is a recipe for divisiveness. ‘The great cause of our uncharitable censures and divisions, hath been our departing from the Antient simplicity of Faith, and also from the sufficiency of the holy Scriptures, to be the Rule and Test of Faith’.3 ‘Did the Primitive church require Subscription to all our 39 Articles?’ he pointedly asked.4

Baxter, Richard; Puritanism; Heresy; Orthodoxy; Baxter, Richard, 1615-1691

Author(s)Keeble, Neil
Publication date31/12/2006
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher URL…bn=9780521820769
Place of publicationCambridge, UK
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