The Christian's ABC: Catechisms and Catechizing in England C.1530-1740

By Ian Green | Go to book overview

8
Predestination

THE subject of double predestination provoked some of the sharpest disagreements in sixteenth-century Europe, not only between Protestant and Catholic but also between Lutheran and Calvinist, and between different shades of Calvinist opinion.1 On the Protestant side, some of the best minds of the day were drawn to the subject, their capacity for argumentativeness enhanced by the revival of Aristotelianism and the rise of Ramism.2 That England was not immune from these divisions is demonstrated by the debates on free will in the mid-Tudor period, the number of treatises and university theses on predestinarian topics written in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods, and the periodic attempts to change the church's official position on predestination.3 Opponents of Calvinism were dismissed by their rivals as 'Lutherans' or--worse--'Arminians' (after Jacobus Arminius, the leading spokesman of the more liberal Reformed element in the United Provinces), even though many had not read Arminius's work, while by the 1620s Calvinists were being dubbed 'puritans' by their opponents, even though many were fully conformable to the established church.4 This name-calling and stereotyping was in no small degree the result of an

____________________
1
McGrath, Iustitia Dei, i. 137-43, ii. 15-16, 30, 40, 48-51, 114-20; Schaff, Creeds, 185, 199; A. W. Harrison , The Beginnings of Arminianism to the Synod of Dort ( 1926); C. Bangs, Arminius ( Nashville, 1971); B. G. Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy ( Madison, 1969); Weir, Federal Theology, ch. 2.
2
Armstrong, Calvinism, 38-42; Clifford, Atonement and Justification, ch. 6; Weir, Federal Theology, 69-74, 103, 111; White, Predestination: 17-18, 25; and see above, p. 306 n. 42, and below, pp. 428-30.
3
D. A. Penny, Freewill or Predestination: The Battle over Saving Grace in Mid-Tudor England ( Woodbridge, 1990), chs. 1, 8, and passim; D. D. Wallace, Puritans and Predestination: Grace in English Protestant Theology 1525-1695 ( Chapel Hill, NC, 1982), chs. 1-2; works cited in Weir, Federal Theology, 95 n. 72; H. C. Porter, Reformation and Reaction in Tudor Cambridge ( Cambridge, 1958), pt. 3; Lake, Moderate Puritans, ch. 9; N. Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c. 1590-1640 ( Oxford, 1987), pp. 23-5, chs. 2-3, pp. 135-6, 267-8; but see also P. White, 'The Rise of Arminianism Reconsidered', Past and Present, 101 ( 1983), 36-9, and id., Predestination, passim.
4
For the perception and the reality, see N. Tyacke, 'Puritanism, Arminianism and Counter- Revolution', in C. Russell (ed.), The Origins of the English Civil War ( 1973), 133-4, and Tyacke, Anti- Calvinists, 7-10, 137-9, 166-8, 185-6; C. R. Trueman, Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers 1525-56 ( Oxford, 1994); Penny, Freewill or Predestination; B. Hall, 'The Early Rise and Gradual Decline of Lutheranism in England', in D. Baker (ed.), Reform and Reformation: England and the Continent ( 1520-1660) (Studies in Church History, Subsidia 2; Oxford, 1979), 103-31; Porter, Reformation, 282-3; Wallace, Puritans and Predestination, 73-5; D. D. Wallace, 'The Anglican Appeal to Lutheran Sources', Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 52 ( 1983), 355-67; Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists, 20, 33; and cf. Patrick Collinson remarks on Lutheran works in Cambridge booklists, in JEH 39 ( 1988), 279-81; H. R. Trevor-Roper, 'Laudianism and Political Power', in his Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans ( 1987),

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