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Bound Choice Election and Wittenberg Theological Method: From Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord (Lutheran Quarterly Books)
Bound Choice Election and Wittenberg Theological Method: From Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord (Lutheran Quarterly Books)
by Robert Kolb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Predestination from a Lutheran Perspective, 27 Mar. 2011
Confessional Lutheranism is something of an enigma to other Protestants. It is neither Calvinist nor Arminian strictly speaking. Most believe Luther himself believed that man/woman is both predestined and that he/she cannot fall from grace, but the eventual Lutheran solution to the problem of predestination was to allow for both predestination and a potential fall from grace (see the Formula of Concord of 1577). For this confessional Lutheranism has been charged with being unfaithful to Luther himself as Kolb ably demonstrates vis a vis the protestations of one Cyriakus Spangenberg.

Predestination is not an easy issue and it has vexed the Christian Church from the beginning. Kolb gives much needed attention to the critical developments in Lutheranism between Luther's writing of his famous "The Bondage of the Will" in 1525 and the Lutheran solution found in the Formula of Concord of 1577.

This work is all the more valuable because the last significant discussion of these issues in Lutheranism was written in German by a Swede several decades ago - "Ex Praevisa Fide" by Rune Soderlund.


Transformation of Anglicanism, 1643-60, with Special Reference to Henry Hammond
Transformation of Anglicanism, 1643-60, with Special Reference to Henry Hammond
by J.W. Packer
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A Moderate Caroline Divine, 27 Mar. 2011
Unfortunately there is not more in print regarding the much lauded, but rarely read Caroline divines and so this book is a helpful starting point if one is interesting in discovering what the Caroline divines were really like as opposed to what later Anglican historiography has made of them.

Henry Hammond was a High Churchman who lived through the interregnum, though he, along with some 1500 other High Churchmen, was ejected from his ministry during that time. Hammond, however, was not discouraged and worked tirelessly in defense of the Church of England, though it had for all intents and purposes ceased to exist. He is a notable Caroline divine given his knowledge of the fathers and his defense of episcopacy. He was also moderate in temparement and would have been more merciful to the Presbyterians who were themselves ejected from their parishes in 1662 after the Restoration. Unfortunately Hammond only lived till 1660. Nevertheless his thought and writings were highly influential in High Church circles after the Restoration and were resuscitated during the Oxford Movement to some degree. Packer gives a helpful bio of the divine as well as descriptions of his most important theological treatises. Of some note is that Hammond appeared to reject the Protestant view of justification by faith alone and thus paved the way for some of the later High Churchmen and the Tractarians to disparage this hallmark of Protestant belief as "solafidianism."


Later Reformation in England 1547-1603 (British History in Perspective)
Later Reformation in England 1547-1603 (British History in Perspective)
by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enigma that became Anglicanism, 27 Mar. 2011
This little book is filled with the most recent scholarship on the English Reformation. MacCulloch's thesis is that the Reformation that was underway under the reign of Edward VI was cut short by his death. Thus the developments of 1550 (Hooper's refusal to wear vestments) and 1552 (Cranmer's revised Book of Common Prayer)were as far as the English Ref was going to go. The Ref in England experienced "arrested development." Farther than that Elizabeth would not go. Thus all the Evangelical/Puritan/Presbyterian efforts of those who had been schooled under Calvin in Geneva or in Frankfurt during Mary Tudor's brief reign were thwarted as they attempted to take the Reformation further along continental lines desiring to make England as Reformed as Zurich or Geneva. Due to Elizabeth's resistance to further ecclessial innovation, reformation or renovation the English church remained an odd mixture of early continental Reformed thought encapsulated in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the somewhat more catholic sounding Book of Common Prayer of 1559, which was more "catholic" than Cranmer's 1552 version, and the simultanteous retention of a medieval Catholic church structure constituted of bishops, dioceses and parishes. The Elizabethan Settlement of 1559 satisfied almost no one initially, but brutal suppression of Roman sympathizers on the one hand and radical Puritans on the other brought about religious stability by the 1580s. The Elizabethan Church was a large tent where men and women of conflicting religous passions could worship in the same church. According to MacCulloch Anglicanism as we know it did not come into being until Richard Hooker enunciated its ethos in his "Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" quite late in Elizabeth's reign. In the 1590s men weened on the Elizabethan Settlement began to envision a High Church type of Anglicanism that would briefly flower under Charles I albeit with disastrous consequences. With the Restoration of 1660 the enigma known as Anglicanism never dared to define itself clearly as either Protestant or catholic thus making necessity a virtue.

This very fine little book is an excellent discussion of the Church of England during the Late Reformation, a period as vital to a proper understanding of Anglicanism as the better known reign of Henry VIII.


Thomas Cranmer's Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love
Thomas Cranmer's Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love
by Ashley Null
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.94

5.0 out of 5 stars What Cranmer really Believed, 27 Mar. 2011
While at first blush you may not be particularly interested in the difference between the late medieval and early Protestant understanding of repentance this book is much more than that. It deals with Cranmer's understanding of salvation and thoroughly outlines his theological development as it progressed over several decades. Cranmer stands squarely within the early Protestant tradition with regards to his doctrine of salvation and was as influenced by the Lutheran Philip Melanchthon as he was by such Reformed theologians as Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr and early editions of Calvin's Institutes. Null demonstrates the commonalities between Cranmer and Melanchthon but concludes that he ultimately veered towards Reformed soteriology. Null demonstrates time and time again how Cranmer returned to patristic sources, Augustine in particular, to justify his Protestant understanding of repentance and justifying faith. Cranmer's personl notes, the "Great Common Places" are filled with quotations and annotations of Augustine's works. Often Cranmer, like Calvin, will prefer Augustine to Luther, but not always. Other times he will read Augustine in light of Luther and Melanchthon. Null describes Cranmer's theology as Protestant Augustinianism.

In order to produce this work Null had to learn how to read Cranmer's hand writing - no simple task since much of it looks like chicken scratch at first blush - and thus Null read what the reformer actually thought, rather than offer pure speculation regarding the reformer's ideas as they developed over time.

Another hot issue is what Cranmer actually thought occurred when infants were baptized. Did he believe in universal baptismal regeneration? After all, the Prayer Book and Catechism indicate that the child is born again in baptism, but Null's extensive research into Cranmer's heretofore untranslated and barely read "Great Common Places" demonstrates that Cranmer's theology of the sacraments was guided by predestination. Thus Cranmer assumed that infants predestined to be saved were made regenerate in baptism, but not the non-elect. Cranmer tends to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in his liturgy and in his Homilies, but his private notes indicate that he was quite the predestinarian. The sacraments were efficacious only for the elect, but Cranmer never made his private beliefs public. Thus tremendous confusion ensued within the Church of England, for Cranmer's baptismal liturgy declared the infant regenerate, i.e., saved, while no stating, "Yet this only applies to the elect." Why was Cranmer not more forthright? Because he, nor anyone else, could possibly discern who the elect were at their baptisma and thus the benefit of the doubt was given to everyone. This is also the root cause of the accusation that Anglicans have a catholic Prayer Book, but Protestant Articles of Religion. In this sense alone Null has provided a great service in helping us to understand how the Articles and Prayer Book go hand in hand.

Also, neither should one think Cranmer an Arminian, for he believed that the justified and the elect were synonymous. Contra Augustine there was no possibility of someone justified could later fall from grace. In this case Cranmer followed other Reformed theologians while rejecting Augustine and the Lutheran position on perseverance.

Ashley Null has provided an invaluable service by making Cranmer's heretofore obscure personal writings clear and see the light of day. This book is an excellent complement to Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography of Cranmer.


Justification
Justification
by Martin Chemnitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.48

4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Finest Expositions of Justification from a Protestant Perspective, 27 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Justification (Hardcover)
Chemnitz was one of Melanchthon's preferred students and a table guest at his home. At his request Chemnitz began lecturing on Melanchthon's own work of systematics, the Loci Communes (Theological Commonplaces) in the 1550s. His own comments on Melancthon's "Theological Commonplaces" came to be know as the "Loci theologici" (Theological Topics) and became something of a standard introductory work to Lutheran dogmatics for the next 150 years or so.

Justification is so central to Protestant thought and Chemnitz's exposition of this chief article of the Christian religion is so fine that CPH was kind enough to publish it separately, though Chemnitz's entire Loci theologici is also in print.

Chemnitz's major premise is that the verb "dikaioun" signifies "to declare righteous" rather than "to make righteous" as was commonly understood by late medieval Roman Catholics. (St. Augustine according to Alister McGrath in his "Iustitia Dei" argues this was Augustine's mistaken notion of justification as well.) This shift in signification is the basis for the Protestant understanding that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repentant sinner on account of the righteous of Christ as opposed to any righteousness inhering in the believer. Justification is an event, rather than a process whereby one is gradually justified. Is this a novel approach to justification? Have any of the fathers spoken of an imputed righteousness? Well, not exactly, but the fathers spoke better of the righteousness of Christ that was imputed or reckoned to them on account of Christ in their pious meditations, rather than in their theological speculations. Were the fathers not justified by faith? Of course they were, even if they did not properly understand the concept. Why? Because all believers of all times have been justified by faith alone, for the Church is the assembly of the justified. And though Chemnitz concedes that even Augustine was not quite correct in all of his pronouncements his disputes with Pelagius were the dress rehearsal for the Lutheran Reformation.


Chemnitz's Works: The Two Natures in Christ
Chemnitz's Works: The Two Natures in Christ
Price: £33.66

5.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed Explication of Lutheran Christology, 27 Mar. 2011
Please understand that this is a somewhat heavy going text book defending and explicating Lutheran Christology at the end of the second round of the eucharistic debates between Lutherans and the Reformed in the sixteenth century.

The debate between the Lutherans and the Reformed was over the precise nature of Christ's resurrected body and where it could and could not be found. The nature of Christ's body was discussed in great, great detail in the early Church, but not in relation to Christ's presence in the eucharist. In the sixteenth century the debate over Christ's body and the two natures in Christ (the human and the divine natures) took on great significance in relation to where Christ was and was not located physically. The Reformed essentially argued "the finite was not capable of the infinite" and thus Christ was not able to be present physically in the Lord's Supper, for a physical body, including Christ's resurrected body, was constrained by the limitations of any physical body and thus Christ's body was located in heaven and nowhere else. Luther argued Christ's physical body was everywhere, but that Christ was present "for you" at the Lord's table. Chemnitz accepts Luther's belief in the omnipresence (ubiquity) of Christ's physical body, but with a significant qualification: Christ is able to be present physically wherever He so desires to be (ubivolipraesens) and He desires to be present where He promised to be: at the Lord's table.

In "The Two Natures in Christ" Chemnitz sets out in great detail to explain how the divine nature of Christ is communicated to the human nature in Christ such that the attributes of the divine nature are communicated to the human nature in Christ. What does that mean? That means that if the divine nature can be everywhere and is not limited by space or time as we undertand it, then the physical body of Christ also is capable of exercising this ability and can thus be anywhere at any time. This "communication of majesty" from the divine to the human nature is a subset of the famous "communication of attributes" first discussed by the early church fathers, but now applied to the eucharistic debates. Each chapter is quite detailed and Chemnitz is particularly eager to demonstrate that the voice of antiquity is on his side as he quotes copiously from the church fathers, especially Cyril of Alexandria and John of Damascus. One further caveat before reading this Lutheran classic: Chemnitz's conclusions are not as clear as some modern readers might expect so it's best to read Chemnitz's "The Lord's Supper" before proceeding to this much more detailed work. Also, since this work is really a technical manual to Lutheran Christology one would probably benefit from consulting Francis Pieper's section on Christology in his 3 volume Dogmatics or Hoenecke's section on Christology in his 4 volume dogmatics to see how Chemnitz fits into the grander scheme of orthodox Lutheran thought. Werner Elert's discussion of Christology in "The Structure of Lutheranism" is also very helpful and easier to understand than the two above mentioned dogmaticians.


The Study of Anglicanism
The Study of Anglicanism
by John Booty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Single Introduction to Anglicanism, 25 Mar. 2011
This is a most helpful introductory handbook to Anglicanism detailing its history, its major divines, the 39 articles of religion, the Book of Common Prayer and a host of other major issues that define Anglicanism. The various articles are written by various scholars, each respected in his/her field. Overall extremely helpful.


Anglicanism and the Christian Church
Anglicanism and the Christian Church
by The Rev. Dr. Paul D. L. Avis
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Fine Discussion of Anglicanism's Relation to other Christians, 25 Mar. 2011
This is one of the finest works on Anglicanism I have found to date. Paul Avis has provided us a major service with this book by detailing Anglicanism's unique relationship to other Christian denominations over the centuries, especially the Reformed on the continent, the Lutherans, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox. Rather than speaking in broad sweeping categories Avis details the particular stance of all the major Anglican theologians from the Reformation up until the present so that what Cranmer, Jewel, Hooker, Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Jeremy Taylor, et al. all thought of the Church of England and its relationship to other Christian communions is discussed in great detail. All the more interesting when one considers that Puritans such as William Perkins would have nothing to do with the Church of Rome whereas a generation later William Laud conceded salvation was most certainly possible inside the Church of Rome. Later the Tractarians emphasized the catholic nature of the C of E while Evangelicals fought to maintain its Protestant identity. Others eagerly sought fellowship with the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, a branch of Christendom for which many Anglicans have held a particular fondness. Overall one of the finest resources on Anglicanism out there, especially since ecclesiology is such a major aspect of Anglican identity.


Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Mark Chapman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a Novel, 25 Mar. 2011
This is indeed a very short introduction to Anglicanism taking us through its twists and turns from an historical vantage point. After all it is rather difficult to understand any form of Anglicanism if one does not understand its most unique history. Chapman, interestingly enough, emphasizes the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic branches of Anglicanism while seemingly ignoring Liberalism/Broad Churchmen/Latitudinarians inside the Church of England. Contrary to the above reviewer I did not get the impression that Chapman was anti-Anglo-Catholic and pro-Evangelical. Issues of contemporary importance were discussed as factually as possible.


The Works of Mr. Richard Hooker V2: In Eight Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity with Several Other Treatises and a General Index
The Works of Mr. Richard Hooker V2: In Eight Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity with Several Other Treatises and a General Index
by Richard Hooker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooker's All Important Book 5, 25 Mar. 2011
This volume contains Hooker's all important Book 5 of the "Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" and functions as something as a commentary as well as a defense of the Book of Common Prayer. Herein Hooker discusses predestination, the eucharist and the possibility or lack thereof of Christ's presence in the eucharist as well as a host of other important issues relevant to the debates of his day as to how Reformed the Church of England should become. Rightly or wrongly this is considered the blueprint for what would become known as Anglicanism. Also very helpful to read Hooker in his own words given that he has been pulled in various directions over the centuries by various factions that have been less than biased in their interpretation of this great English churchman and theologian.


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