Thursday, September 4, 2008

Andrew Fuller Conference: Benjamin Keach and the Protestant Cause Under Persecution- Austin Walker

- fear of a "Popish plot" led to the persecution of dissenters (1678)
- 1680s- Keach wrote against the persecution of Protestants in the UK and Europe and advocated liberty of conscience
- wrote two poems in which he expresses his grief over the persecution of the church

- the fear of Catholicism must be put into a Reformation/Counter-Reformation context- they remembered Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I, the Irish Catholics, the Rye House Plot, the Monmouth Rebellion
- there was a universal belief that the Pope was the Antichrist and Rome was Babylon
- they saw William and Mary as God's instruments in the overthrow of the Antichrist

believed in freedom of conscience in matters of religion but not in what today is called "religious liberty"
- it was like the fire shut up in Jeremiah's bones
- it was forthright and passionate
- it was grounded in God's truth

- Keach lamented not only over the worldliness of his society but over the "Romish remnants" in the church
- he was also concerned with division in the churches and the lack of Gospel success
- he was a Protestant apologist, so this brought him into many conflicts

- but he was confident that Christ would comfort and keep His church and vindicate His cause and Name
- had a strong trust in Christ's Kingdom being established and in God's providence in all things
- was unquestionably a man of prayer
- he waited on the Lord and soon had cause for rejoicing

- the duty of each Christian is to pray that God will prosper the cause of the church and establish her and do her good as He conforms her to Christ
- we are in need of patience, courage, and perseverance- historians are surprised and enamored by the perseverance of the dissenters

- Keach advocated non-violence but not non-resistance
- Romans 13 tells us to plead with God and patiently wait for God

Hebrews 12:1-4 "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin."


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