, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

James Petigru Boyce (1827-1888) was the founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his theological training at Princeton under Charles Hodge. In A Brief-Catechism of Bible Doctrine, he articulates a robust Baptist Calvinism in a straight-forward and simple way so that children may easily understand it. To give you a flavor it and an example of the good theology found therein, here is his section on “good works”:

  1. Q. Has not God offered life and happiness upon the performance of good works? A. He has.
  2. Q. Have any of mankind ever been justified in that way? A. None have been thus justified.
  3. Q. Why is this? A. Because, having a sinful nature, no man can perform good works in an acceptable manner.
  4. Q. Since, then, we are to be saved by faith alone, does God still require good works? A. He does, and gives us grace to help us to do them.
  5. Q. Are they to be performed with any hope of attaining salvation? A. They are not: for we can never perfectly perform them in this life.
  6. Q. From what motive then? A. From a spirit of love and obedience.
  7. Q. What, then, is the position of works in God’s way of justification? A. They are the fruits and evidence of a change of heart and of love to God.
  8. Q. With what motive should we let men see our good works? A. With the hope that thus they may be led to glorify God.

Cited in Tom J. Nettles, Teaching Truth, Training Hearts: The Study of Catechisms in Baptist Life (Amityville, N.Y.: Calvary Press Publishing, 1998), 177-8.