Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525-1556

By Carl R. Trueman | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION TO PART TWO

UNITY AND DIVERSITY

Detailed study of Tyndale, Frith, and Barnes reveals that any attempt to categorize them with such blanket labels as 'Lutheran', 'Humanist', or 'Reformed' is doomed to failure. The theological background of each is too complex to be dealt with so simplistically. Luther, Erasmus, and the emerging Reformed theology of the Upper Rhineland each helped to shape their respective theologies.

First, it is clear that not one of these three men came to Reformation theology without a previous thorough grounding in Humanism. It was only after they had distinguished themselves as Humanist scholars that they came under the influence of Reformation thought. That this background exerted a formative influence on all three men can be seen in the high regard they each had for the Fathers of the Church, as opposed to the contempt they expressed for the scholastic theologians. It is also evident in the concern which they each had for the production and distribution of the vernacular Bible. Furthermore, Humanism also gave them a lasting concern for the practical, moral dimension of the Christian life.

While their initial reforming activities were shaped by their Humanist convictions, all three men were profoundly influenced by continental Lutheranism. Tyndale and Barnes both studied at Wittenberg, while Frith's earliest published works were translations of tracts by Luther, Melanchthon, and Patrick Hamilton, a Scottish Lutheran. The extent to which each followed Luther is a complex question, and reveals differences between their respective positions. All three accepted justification by faith as fundamental. However, Frith was the only one who, in his doctrine of the two purgatories, came close to developing a Lutheran theology of the cross. He was also the only one to develop a clear doctrine of the atonement based upon God's

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Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525-1556
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Note on Texts xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - The Historical and Intellectual Context 7
  • 1 - Five Roads to Martyrdom 9
  • 2 - The Intellectual Context 1 31
  • 3 - The Intellectual Context 2 54
  • Part Two - The Reformers Under Henry VIII 81
  • 4 - William Tyndale 83
  • 5 - John Frith 121
  • 6 - Robert Barnes 156
  • Conclusion to Part Two 198
  • Part Three - The Reformers Under Edward VI and Mary 203
  • 7 - John Hooper 205
  • 8 - John Bradford 243
  • Conclusion to Part Three 289
  • Bibliography 294
  • Index 303
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