Predestination, policy and polemic : conflict and concensus in the English Church from the Reformation to the Civil War


Predestination, policy and polemic : conflict and concensus in the English Church from the Reformation to the Civil War

Peter White

Cambridge University Press, 1992

  • pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index

Bibliography: p. 313-326



This is a major study of the theology of grace in the English Church between the Reformation and the Civil War. On the basis of a wide reading of both English and continental writings, the author challenges the prevailing view that there was essentially a 'Calvinist' consensus in the Elizabethan and Jacobean Church, and stresses instead an indigenous latitudinarianism of doctrine against which a concerted campaign was conducted in the last decade of the sixteenth century in the controversies which led to the Lambeth Articles. Mr White reviews the impact Arminian ideas had in England, firstly through a detailed exposition of the theology of Arminius, and subsequently by means of a review of the links between the English and Dutch churches as the quarrel between the Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants reached its climax in the Synod of Dort. Other chapters discuss the place of Hooker in English theology, the impact of Richard Montagu, the ideas of Thomas Jackson, the writings of Neile and Laud on predestination, and the regulation of doctrine in the period of Personal Rule. At all stages the theological debate is related to its political - and often polemical - context, not least in a carefully documented reassessment of the role of the court both in the last years of James' reign and in the early years of the rule of Charles I.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. The polemics of predestination: William Prynne and Peter Heylyn
  • 2. The theology of predestination: Beza and Arminius
  • 3. Early English Protestantism
  • 4. The Elizabethan church settlement
  • 5. Elizabeth's church: the limits of consensus
  • 6. The Cambridge controversies of the 1590s
  • 7. Richard Hooker
  • 8. The early Jacobean church
  • 9. The Synod of Dort
  • 10. Policy and polemic, 1619-1623
  • 11. A gag for the Gospel? Richard Montagu and Protestant orthodoxy
  • 12. Arminianism and the court, 1625-1629
  • 13. Thomas Jackson
  • 14. Neile and Laud on predestination
  • 15. The personal rule, 1629-1640
  • Select bibliography
  • Index.

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