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The Idea of a ‘General Grace of God’ in Some Sixteenth-Century Reformed Theologians other than Calvin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that some sixteenth-century Reformed theologians, contemporaries of John Calvin, are not unaware of and in fact employ either the precise language of a divine generalis gratia or make use of the concept. It demonstrates that questions surrounding the definition of divine grace, specifically a general grace in distinction from a saving grace, was not unknown among sixteenth-century Reformed thinkers, which demonstrates that Calvin was not the sole voice working with this idea. Among sixteenth-century Reformed writers the doctrine of divine grace comes to varying degrees of strict definition. Heinrich Bullinger, for example, Zwingli's successor at Zürich, and one of Calvin's theological colleagues, treats divine grace in a rather formal and precise manner. The next theologian being a contemporary of Calvin, is Wolfgang Musculus. Like Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli speaks of the "common grace of creation".

Keywords: divine generalis gratia; Heinrich Bullinger; John Calvin; Peter Martyr Vermigli; sixteenth-century reformed theologians; Wolfgang Musculus



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