Faithful Friday: Richard Baxter

By Ian Wilson (Rated G)

Born in 1615, Richard Baxter lived in a tumultuous time in British history, a time when it was easy to be an extremist, yet he always sought to keep the middle ground between the factions. He was fond of saying “In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” 

At the age of 23, Baxter was ordained a clergyman in the Church of England and placed in the parish of Kidderminster, where he served as pastor. While he himself was opposed to the episcopacy, he tried his best to avoid conflicts between episcopalians, presbyterians and congregationalists, continually working to bring the various church factions together on pastoral matters. Baxter, however, did not bend on his convictions, however. When convinced of a matter by the inspiration of Scripture, Baxter was unyielding; of the works of his that survive, most of them are long discourses on Christian doctrine. 

Because of his moderate views, Baxter became a target for extremists on all sides of the English Civil Wars. He would not be silenced, however; even after being barred from ecclesiastical office and imprisonment, Baxter continued to preach and write. 

May his unyielding devotion to firm doctrine and church unity inspire us to seek truth within unity. 


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