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Title: Arminianism and anti-Remonstrant polemic in the later Stuart and early Hanoverian Church of England
Author: Fornecker, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 4329
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis analyzes modes of engagement with the Dutch Remonstrant tradition by Arminian conformists of the later Stuart and early Hanoverian Church of England. It argues that several of the period’s fiercest theological controversies arose from what traditionalist divines took to be the uncritical appropriation of that tradition by their fellow churchmen. It shows that many Arminian conformists credited Remonstrant ideas with facilitating the emergence of an intellectually robust Unitarianism, and that such divines accentuated identifiably Reformed emphases in an unprecedented display of disambiguation from the Remonstrant tradition. In brief, the thesis contends that later Stuart and early Hanoverian conforming Arminianism cannot be seen as a monolithically antipodean reaction to Reformed theology without obscuring the negative consensus that united Reformed and Arminian against the alleged heterodoxy of the Remonstrants and those who propounded their views in England. In this way, the thesis challenges the notion that a broadly unified Arminian consensus emerged at the Restoration, on the basis that the Arminian reaction to interregnum Calvinism produced divergent and sometimes incompatible positive theological agendas. It argues that soteriology is an insufficient criterion for judging ecclesial theological integrity, correcting an overemphasis on soteriological controversy by showing how debates over grace and predestination intersected with other debates over reason and revelation, faith and obedience. In applying this method of analysis to the appropriation of Remonstrant ideas by Arminian conformists, the study provides a fresh perspective on the Arminian theological tradition in the political, confessional, and educative contexts of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England. Among its more surprising conclusions is the discovery that the association of Remonstrant theologians with Socinian heterodoxy came often from leading Arminian churchmen themselves, and that the doctrinal emphases of such churchmen were not as comprehensively opposed to those of their Reformed contemporaries as has previously been thought.
Supervisor: Hampton, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion ; Church of England ; Reformed theology ; Arminianism ; Later Stuart Church of England ; Early Hanoverian Church of England ; Theological controversy ; Conformity ; Reformed Scholasticism ; Ecclesiastical history ; Trinity ; Revelation ; Remonstrant ; Restoration Church of England ; Anti-Remonstrant ; Jonathan Edwards ; Daniel Waterland ; William Nicholls ; Joseph Beaumont ; Theological polemic ; Convocation ; Later Stuart ; Early Hanoverian ; Antitrinitarianism