Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace

Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace

Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace

Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace

Synopsis

Jacob Arminius (1559-1609) is one of the few theologians in the history of Christianity who has lent his name to a significant theological movement. The dissemination of his thought throughout Europe, Great Britain, and North America, along with the appeal of his ideas in current Protestant evangelical spheres (whether rightly understood or misunderstood), continue to attract both scholarly and popular attention. Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall's Jacob Arminius offers a constructive synthesis of the current state of Arminius studies. There is a chasm separating technical, scholarly discussions of Arminius and popular-level appeals to his thought. The authors seek to bridge the scholarly and general discussions, providing an account based on interaction with all the primary sources and latest secondary research that will be helpful to the scholar as well as comprehensible and relevant to the undergraduate student.

Excerpt

In our former lives as Ph.D. students at Calvin Theological Seminary, we first discussed the idea of writing a book on Arminius and Arminianism. After focused publications in the areas of historical and systematic theology, we thought the time was right to return to this project. We now both teach at institutions affiliated with evangelicalism, and we regularly field questions from students and colleagues about Arminianism. We struggle to find one good volume to recommend. in addition, we have taught seminars on Calvinism and Arminianism and also have trouble finding appropriate textbooks for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

The most widely read book on Arminius is the classic biography by Carl Bangs. Bangs’s work is based on good historical records and is accessible to any interested reader. Its primary task is strictly biographical, which is its strength. Bangs also weaves some theology into the narrative, and he includes a brief chapter summarizing Arminius’s theology. Since theology is not its primary purpose, however, Bangs’s book is necessarily limited when it comes to exposing Arminius’s thought. There are other books available that deal with Arminianism but have little or nothing significant to say about Arminius himself. These and other popular-level books are of varying quality. But they are mostly written from an overtly apologetic-polemical perspective, and none gives full attention to Arminius. Moreover, there are recent, quality studies devoted to Arminius himself, but they are technical monographs. These contributions appeal primarily to scholars in historical theology and focus much of their attention on narrow aspects of Arminius’s ideas.

Thus our book recommendations have always been accompanied by necessary caveats. We desired a book that would serve as the best “onestop” source of information for ministers and theologians interested in Arminius and the movement that he inspired, as well as a book that would . . .

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