After a fairly long post on the recent Brockton Consultation, the question remains by what doctrinal standard shall the Continuing movement rally itself? Will it be a strict or nominal reading of the St. Louis Affirmation? What will be the status of the 39 Articles? Some traditionalists mistrust the Thirty-Nine Articles because they believe the Settlement too inclusive of Puritanism and therefore unstable. Hardwick’s historical method instructs the proper reading of Articles precluding these worries. Continue reading
St. Augustine of Hippo
A recent post at RTBP questioned the possibility of a calvinistic reading of Anglican standards. While Whitgift’s Lambeth articles indeed represent a strong calvinism, the later delegation sent by King James to Dort conveyed a weaker type. Evidently there were shades of opinion. Dr. Cary (below) somewhat elaborates upon these points discussing Augustine’s relation to the range of 16th and 17th century monergism, identifying the Bishop of Hippo with a moderate sort. English soteriology falls into this particular strain, making its classification as pure Arminianism or Calvinism strained. Suffice to say Anglican Articles are Augustinian, squaring nicely with the Henrician catechisms.
John Davenant, Bishop of Salisbury
This excellent historic profile of John Davenant was found at Biblical Horizons . Predestination is a subject which Anglicans smartly caution and, at times, silence. Anglicanism, like early Methodism, contained and, to some extent, comprehended both Calvinist and Arminian opinions. Between the two, however, it has never been particularly dogmatic. Yet amongst Reformers we can find several soteriological gradations, Amyraldism being one kind. John Davenant was a british divine present at Dordt as royal delegate who tried bridging the difference between Puritan Calvinists and Anglican Arminians. Bishop Overall’s influence upon Davenant is also worth noting. Amyraldism is perhaps the closest the 39 articles can approach calvinism without leaving English confessional boundaries. The article below helps identify and locate the theological influences of Amyraldism. Steven Wedgeworth has written a number of articles on the subject of Davenant, including Saumur Theology and Not Amyraldian.
by Steven Wedgeworth
John Davenant was perhaps the single most influential delegate at the Synod of Dort (particularly for what he kept out of the final Canons). Much of his influence was examined in my previous post on the subject, but it is certainly the case that he remains a neglected figure. I had never heard of him until I began my studies on Dort, and as I survey some of the secondary literature, I see that a few commentators have questioned whether or not he ought to be considered a Calvinist. G Michael Thomas addressed Robert Godfrey’s claims on Davenant in his book The Extent of the Atonement, but I would like to address this issue a little myself by contrasting Davenant with John Overall, a man who had great influence on Davenant, but also a man whose historical point of view was quite different from Davenant’s.
An earlier post on Necessary Doctrine made some general statements about Henrican theology. I’d like to recap two points. First, the early date of clerical subscription was as early as 1536, followed by the Catechism in 1538. The intent of catechism, bible, and articles teaching together was a continuous feature of Settlement, beginning with Henry. Second, Henry’s theology, even in the mid-1530’s, was ‘reformed’ (Augustinian). The Henrican view of God’s grace began to theologically impact Worship, first, with respect to saints and, by Edward’s reign, vulgarities in the Mass. Henrican Catechisms and Articles were not merely ‘negative statements’ but were tied to matters of ceremony, each connected to the same doctrine of salvation. In this respect, Henrican theology offers a system of thinking, centered on the idea of ‘justification’. A high treatment of grace does not downplay sacrament but extols dependence on the very means instituted by Him.