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Predestination And The Thirty-Nine Articles

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Chapter Summary

Ever since the eclipse of Calvinism in the Church of England in the seventeenth century, there have been occasional references to the Church of England's 39 Articles as Calvinist. This opinion has usually been based on Article 17, 'Of Predestination and election', a subject later generations identified with John Calvin. The reign of Edward brought to England a new stimulus to theological precision, in the persons of the Italian Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) as well as the German from the Rhineland, Martin Bucer (1491-1551). The twin perils of desperation and security in the consideration of predestination are found, in remarkably similar descriptions, in both Article 17 and in the Reformation of the Ecclesiastical Laws. Martyr appears not to have spoken of the 'generality' of God's promises, an important term in both the Reformatio and Article 17.

Keywords: Calvinism; Church of England; Peter Martyr Vermigli; predestination

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