General and Particular Baptists disagree over the impact of sin upon the natural conscience, which is comprised of reason, the will, and communication. General Baptists see conscience as marred by sin, though operative, while Particular Baptists think it virtually destroyed. They both agree, however, that redemption brings a new conscience and with it a sanctified reason. The redeemed obtain an "inlightened conscience, carrying a more bright and lively stamp of the kingly place and power of the Lord Jesus." In an enlightened conscience, all English Baptists aver, the trinity does not set aside the norms of the "reasonable soule" by superseding the faculties thereof. On the contrary, God the Spirit approves "every truth to the understanding," moving at all times "without violence, with a rational force," respecting standards of reasonableness. God the Son, clears the truth and leaves "naked the errors." And, God the Father "would have every man fully persuaded in his owne mind."This paragraph is but one small detail in a masterful exposition of the thoroughly trinitarian and personal understanding of truth that prevailed among early Baptists.
Mauldin's book is essential reading for anyone who cares to understand the difference between the thought of early Baptists as opposed to the theology of rationalists and presuppositionalists like Carl Henry, Al Mohler, and the numerous Baptist disciples of Francis Schaeffer.
Cross posted from the Mainstream Baptist weblog.
The Classic Baptist Heritage Of Personal Truth: The Truth As It Is In Jesus