Did Calvin's Successors Distort His Doctrine of Predestination?
The division of history into various periods serves as a helpful pedagogical tool. I walked out of my courses in ancient, medieval, Reformation, and modern history with a sense of accomplishment in having somewhat mastered important events, individuals, and trends of thought that make each period distinct from one another. Such divisions offer convenient and accessible methods of studying history. At the same time, these divisions come with serious side-effects. They lead to an oversimplification of history by dealing with highlights that fail to portray the diversity and complexities of each period. More importantly, such divisions overlook the necessity of identifying the continuities and discontinuities of each period with the period that precedes and succeeds it. Such oversight often results in oversimplification and erroneous historical conclusions. If you have a current subscription or current on-line account please log-in here to read the rest of this article.
1 [ Back
] Heiko A. Oberman, Forerunners of the Reformation
(New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966); idem,The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967).
2 [ Back
] Basil Hall, "Calvin Against the Calvinists," in John Calvin
, ed. Gervase Duffield (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966); cf. Brian Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth Century France
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969); R. T. Kendall, "The Puritan Modification of Calvin's Theology," in John Calvin: His Influence in the Western World
, ed. W. Stanford Reid (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982); Philip C. Holtrop, "Decree(s) of God," s.v. in Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith
, ed. Donald K. McKim (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1992), 97-99.
3 [ Back
] Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy
4 [ Back
] Hall, "Calvin Against the Calvinists," 27.
5 [ Back
] For a specific discussion of the decrees, see Richard A. Muller, Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins
(Durham, NC: Labyrinth Press, 1986; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988). For a broader continuity/discontinuity of the Reformation and Protestant Orthodox, Richard A. Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists: Assessing Continuities and Discontinuities Between the Reformation and Orthodoxy, Part I," in Calvin Theological Journal, 30
, no. 2 (November 1995), 345-375; idem, "Calvin and the Calvinists: Assessing Continuities and Discontinuities Between the Reformation and Orthodoxy, Part 2," in Calvin Theological Journal, 31
, no. 1 (April 1996), 125-160.
6 [ Back
] Muller, Christ and the Decree
7 [ Back
] Calvin, Institutes
8 [ Back
] Holtrop, "Decrees," 98.
9 [ Back
] Muller, Christ and the Decree, 129.
10 [ Back
] Ibid., 180.
11 [ Back
] Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists, Part 2," 155.
12 [ Back
] Ibid., 151-57.
13 [ Back
] Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology,
vol. 1, trans. George Musgrave Giger, ed. James T. Dennison (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1992), I:v:3.
14 [ Back
] Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists, Part 1," 345-359.
15 [ Back
] Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists, Part 2," 134-137.
16 [ Back
] Muller, Christ and the Decree, 68.
17 [ Back
] Ibid., 39-75.
18 [ Back
] Ibid., 138.
19 [ Back
] Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists, Part 1," 367.
20 [ Back
] Muller, "Calvin and the Calvinists, Part 2," 126, 129.
21 [ Back
] Turretin, Institutes, I:xiii:2.
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Issue: "Predestination and the Freedom of God" Nov./Dec. 1998 Vol. 7 No. 6 Page number(s): 38-41
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