A Catholic Reformed Theologian
Federalism and Baptism in the Thought of Benjamin Keach, 1640 - 1704
Studies in Baptist History and Thought
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
278 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.56 in
- Published: April 2010
- Published: April 2010
This study demonstrates that Benjamin Keach, the most important Baptist figure of the seventeenth century, was a catholic Reformed theologian. This is done by investigating his relationship with the tradition of the church, his interaction with federalism, and his concept of baptism. Dr. Riker presents Keach, and thus the Baptist tradition, in a new way: not as a "Calvinist" but as part of the broad Reformed family. Secondly, believer's baptism, the rite from which the Baptists derive their name, is systematically scrutinized over against pedobaptism. In so doing, Riker presents every argument, strong or weak, that was used in the sixteenth--and seventeenth--century debates, and their respective refutation by a Baptist.
'In these days of ecumenical rapprochement, it is important to retrace the origins of different theological traditions and see how they relate to the wider Christian world. Benjamin Keach was a Baptist theologian who drew on both Catholic and Reformed principles and Dr. Riker has ably demonstrated how he must be classified as belonging to both those traditions. This book helps us to put believers' baptism in context and is an important contribution to inter-church dialogue in our own time.'
--Gerald Bray is Director of Research, Latimer Trust, Cambridge, UK, and Research Professor, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.
'Making use of fresh perspectives on the history of the church in the late medieval and early modern eras, this new study of the most important Baptist theologian of the late seventeenth century capably demonstrates both Keach's catholicity and his profoundly Reformed convictions. As such, this excellent study helps orient contemporary Baptist thought as to its place in the larger Christian tradition and the inadequacy of the church-sect model as a way of explaining the Baptist past. Riker has helped restore Keach to his significant role as one of the key shapers of Baptist life and thought. Highly recommended.'
-- Michael A.G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
'Dr. Riker's book challenges any assumption that English Nonconformity was uninterested in the church's tradition and history. It makes a significant contribution to a growing body of scholarship that highlights the connections between the work of the Reformed thinkers such as Keach and the theology of the patristic and medieval eras.'
-- Nick Thompson is Lecturer in Church History, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen.