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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dancing on the Head of a Pin, 17 Feb 2008
Rev. Kevin P. Robinson (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Richard Sibbes: Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (Paperback)
This is a very dry academic account of a late Elizabethan early Stuart puritan. NB IT IS NOT AUTHORED by Eamon Duffy who has simply provided a brief forward. Mark Dever is an American Baptist minister whose text remains akin to a doctoral thesis. The mainly unnecessary footnotes are almost more voluminous than the main text. The author assumes that readers are well acquainted with much technical language and many details of post reformation protestant theology. "Assurance" "Sanctification" "Adiophora" "The Book of Sports" "Six Articals" etc. He dismantles the otherwise accepted belief that Sibbes was yet another dispossessed "Martyr" of the newly established English religion. By a process of good fortune, moderated Calvinist opinions and professional connections Sibbes was able to retain an influential status and a satisfactory lifestyle as an ordained minister and preacher, first at Cambridge and later at the Inns of Court while the established church became increasingly subject to Laudian tendencies. Throughout his life as one of the so called "Godly" party, Sibbes continued to resist separatist tendencies and represents a period when, with Rome utterly outlawed, English Christianity might still be described as an undivided "Covenant Community". Sibbes died on the eve of the English Civil war and was spared from witnessing the disaster that soon enveloped the nation. Rejecting all kinds of ceremonial practice within the CofE as leading towards superstition it makes sobering reading for latter day Anglo Catholics and there are few laughs to be had along the way. The tautology of rival schools of biblical thought during the period is illuminating but leaves the head spinning in search of something of more solid and simply sacramental.
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Richard Sibbes: Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England
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