May 3, 2009

Van Stam on the Synod of Alençon and Amyraut's "Conditional Decree"

In a following article the synod [of Alençon] declared that, though Amyraut and Testard had referred to a "conditional decree" of God, both viewed this expression as an anthropomorphic way of speaking: faith and repentance are demanded of man in order that the promise of God's decree may be realized. It was definitely not the intent of Amyraut and Testard to ascribe to God "ignorance about the outcome, or powerlessness in the execution, or lack of firmness in his will. For the will of God always remains firm and unchangeable in itself, in accord with the nature of God in which there is neither change nor shadow of turning." The synod therefore took explicit steps to protect Amyraut and Testard from the criticism of Pierre Moulin. At the same time, and in the same article, there is the insistence that from now on the expression "the conditional, defeasible or revocable decree" should no longer be used, but the term "will" be employed rather, since they were dealing with the revealed will of God.
Frans Pieter Van Stam, The Controversy Over the Theology of Saumur, 1635-1650 (APA-Holland University Press, 1988), 132.

Earlier Van Stam wrote:
Sometimes Arminians also referred to the "conditional decrees of God". When Amyraut was later criticized for his use of some such expression, he admitted he also had his reservations about it but had used it in his discussions with Arminians.
Ibid., 55n108.

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