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Title: Anthony Burgess and the Westminster doctrine of assurance
Author: Master, Jonathan Lair
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 1032
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of the Highlands and Islands
Date of Award: 2012
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This work is an examination of the a 17th century theologian and pastor Anthony Burgess (d. 1664), and specifically his contribution to the doctrine of the assurance of faith codified for many in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Burgess’ contribution to an understanding of assurance is found in his two-volume treatise on assurance, Spiritual Refining, and is especially relevant given his status as a delegate to the Westminster Assembly. Burgess’ writings are informed by three aspects of his personal background. The first of these is his status as part of the English Puritan movement in the 17th century; the second is his status as a pastor; the third is his scholastic training, which informed his method of argumentation on the assurance of faith. After examining these three key elements, this study then looks briefly at the contemporary debate on the Reformed doctrine of assurance. This study then examines the nature of the Westminster Confession itself. It analyses how the Assembly was designed, and how it operated with respect to its consensus on assurance. After establishing this, it assesses the way in which Burgess expanded on the Westminster consensus, doing so in ways which were fundamentally different from others of his day, particularly John Owen and Thomas Goodwin. This work affirms the basic finding of Muller regarding the influence of scholasticism on 17th century English Puritanism. It also affirms Beeke and others who have drawn attention to the pastoral necessities which drove 17th century English Puritan theology. Finally, it highlights the high degree of diversity that existed among those who held to the Westminster Confession of Faith on the matter of assurance, postulating that this diversity was to be expected given the way in which the Assembly at Westminster formulated its conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Assurance (Theology)