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Over onsFaculteit Godgeleerdheid en GodsdienstwetenschapOrganisatieWetenschappelijke stafPhD ResearchChristianity and the History of Ideas

Johan Mouthaan

Divine Promises in Seventeenth Century Reformed Theology

Since Martin Luther’s revolutionary rethinking of the concept of the divine promises as the object of justifying faith and the foundation of assurance for salvation, the promises of God developed into a distinct theme in Protestant Theology. Early modern theologians have integrated the concept of divine promises into many theological loci, for example: Christ, faith, justification, predestination, vocation, the sacraments and the means of grace in general.

A lot of studies have focused on the first and second generation Reformers in order to clarify the meaning and function of the divine promises in Reformation theology. It’s the aim of this research project to investigate the meaning and function of the divine promises in seventeenth-century Reformed theology. Because of the unique Reformed position on predestination as distinct from Lutheranism and Arminianism, a separate study on Reformed theology is justified.

By way of three case studies, this project tries to clarify the meaning and function of God’s promises in Reformed theology. The first case study focusses on an academic lecture and disputation of Henricus Alting professor in Groningen from 1627 until his death in 1644. The central issues in this case are the systematic relations between the universality of the divine promises, the doctrine of predestination and the systematical impact of missions and the discovery of new nations. Not only are in this case Lutheran and Arminian positions involved, but also the Saumurian theology concerning universal grace.

The second case study focusses on Edward Leigh, a learned English nobleman, belonging to the Presbyterian party. He wrote extensive theological treatises and also one about the divine promises. He integrate the promises wholly into his doctrine of the covenants and brings a lot of thoughts from Puritan and continental theology together. Surprisingly, he wrote his book in English, not in Latin.

The last case is about a Dutch minister in Kampen, Johannes Teellinck. In 1661 he preached a very well received sermon about the Promises of God as a mean for recovering spiritual diseases. His sermon give a unique perspective on the dynamics of Reformed preaching and the vitality of Reformed theology in helping those who felt spiritually afflicted.

This three very different cases studies can provide more in depth knowledge about the meaning and function of the divine promises in seventeenth century Reformed theology. Starting from the observation that the promises are a recurring topic, the analysis of this three very different cases, will demonstrate its importance from historically contextualized examples. Moreover, it shows how the theological reflection on the promises functioned and how the promises were exactly understood.

J.N. Mouthaan

An artist impression of Rushall Hall, (Rushall, county Stafford), the place where Edward Leigh lived and probably wrote his theological treatises
An artist impression of Rushall Hall, (Rushall, county Stafford), the place where Edward Leigh lived and probably wrote his theological treatises
The Grote Kerk in Vianen where Johannes Teellinck preached his famous sermon on Psalm 119:50
The Grote Kerk in Vianen where Johannes Teellinck preached his famous sermon on Psalm 119:50
Laatst gewijzigd:03 juli 2017 12:36