Being defined by Benjamin Beddome

From the first time that he preached at the gathering of the Midland Association of Baptist churches in the 1740s, Benjamin Beddome was active till 1789. But he only appears to have written the Circular Letter once, and that was in 1765. The “masthead” that usually encapsulated the confession of the Association was replaced by a unique element that year which seems to have come from Beddome’s pen. Beddome identified himself and his fellow Baptists as those “maintaining the doctrines of free grace, in opposition to Arminianism and Socinianism: and the necessity of good works, in opposition to Libertinism and real Antinomianism.” There is more that needs to be said, of course, on other occasions, but this is very nice and succinct. Who are we? We are those who maintain the doctrines of free grace and affirm the necessity of good works. The phrase “the necessity of good works” coming hard on the heels of the statement “doctrines of free grace” obviously qualifies the term “necessity”: necessary proof of true conversion but not needed for justification.