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The Rhetoric Of Reform. William Perkins On Preaching And The Purification Of The Church

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Chapter Summary

The English theologian and preacher William Perkins is known both for his lively pastoral piety and his rigorous scholastic theological method, giving the lie to the modern stereotype of post-Reformation theology as dry and overly intellectual. William Perkins was as committed to the Church of England as he was convinced of Reformed theology. He was optimistic about the potential of sound and energetic preaching to gradually transform the Church of England into the Reformed church that it was in name. Perkins aspiration to see the Church of England reformed from within through the labors of holy and conscientious preachers reflects the optimism of many renaissance thinkers, Philip Melanchthon foremost among them, who believed in the power of sound rhetoric and dialectic, and particularly the divine rhetoric of the Holy Spirit, to effect dramatic change.

Keywords: Church; Philip Melanchthon; preaching; rhetorical analysis; William Perkins



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