September 17, 2008

Observations from Richard Muller's Review of Jonathan Moore's Book

The following are observations taken from a review by Dr. Richard Muller on Jonathan Moore’s book English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology. This entire review was posted by David HERE.


1) Dr. Richard Muller knows, like Moore, that John Preston taught that Christ died for the sins of the human race, even as John Davenant and James Ussher did.

2) He concedes that the Reformed side of the debate was variegated, such that it [the "Reformed" side] included some holding to "hypothetical universalism."

3) It is rightly observed that the early seventeenth-century debate on the subject too simplistically identified the parties in debate as either Arminian or Calvinist [in the sense of strict particularist Calvinists]. I would say that the same thing [the false either/or dilemma] is happening on a massive scale today.

4) It is noted that Davenant and Richard Baxter correctly referred to the variety of thought on the subject at the time of Dort and the Westminster Assembly.

5) Bucanus is considered Reformed and yet Muller says he "was no federalist."

6) Muller correctly notes that there is a "non-Amyraldian" form of universalism in the Reformed tradition, and that Preston's view can be considered as "a continuation of one trajectory of Reformed thought" that was "present from the early sixteenth century onward."

7) He concedes that Davenant rightly observed a form of univeralism in Heinrich Bullinger, and that Zacharias Ursinus, Wolfgang Musculus and Jerome Zanchi were also universalists.

8) The Canons of Dort did not canonize either the universal view or the particularist doctrine. George Carleton, John Davenant, Samuel Ward, Thomas Goad, Joseph Hall, Mathaias Martinius, Ludwig Crocius and Johann Alsted could all sign it in good conscience.

9) Even the Amyraldians were able to argue that their teaching did not run contrary to the Canons.

10) It is not appropriate to deem either non-Amyraldian universalism or the Amyraldian view as new in the decades after Dort or as a softening of the Reformed tradition.

11) The views of Davenant, Ussher and Preston were following out "a resident trajectory long recognized as orthodox among the Reformed." Muller sees them as representative of one of many streams of theology in the Reformed tradition.


Marty said...

Good stuff Tony! Muller also argues in his paper on John Cameron that the Salmurian school harmonizes with Dort.

Blessings, Marty.

Tony Byrne said...

Hi Marty,

Thanks. Yes, I recently went to DTS and copied the John Cameron article [along with the one on the Pactum Salutis] by Muller, even though David already had a copy. Muller even seems to suggest that Amyraut [as well as the others who were in the stream of Davenant, Martinius and Alsted i.e. the "non-speculative, hypothetical universalists"] is within the bounds of the Westminster Confession.