Friday, April 14, 2006

Select Annotations and Quotations on Supra- & Infralapsarianism: Part IV

This is the last installment in this select bibliography on the infra- and supralapsarianism debate. Below, I highlight additional articles, essays, and books for further study.

For Further Study

Basic Definitions

  • In addition to Berkhof, Alan Gomes gives a concise definition of the lapsarian views in W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, ed. Alan W. Gomes (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2003), 956-957. Hands down, the most valuable resource for terms and definitions is Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985). For example, see the following entries: causa (61), damnatio (87), decretum (88), electio (101), infra lapsum (155), intuitu fidei/ intuitu incredulitatis finalis (158-160), lapsus (172), massa perditionis (184), ordo rerum decretarum/ ordo decretorum Dei (215), praedestinatio (233-235), praeterito (243), reprobation/ reprobi (263-264), and supra lapsum (292).

General Overview

  • In addition to Bavinck and Barth, H. Heppe’s Reformed Dogmatics is an indispensable tool for getting acquainted with many primary sources from the 16th and 17th century, Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics: Set Out and Illustrated From the Sources, ed. Ernst Bizer, trans. G. T. Thomson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978), 133-149. For a good historical and theological survey, see G. C. Berkouwer, Divine Election (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 254-277.

Westminster Confession

  • In addition to Warfield and Murray, John Fesko’s work is the most recent and thorough scholarship on this debate. Although his claim that the infralapsarianism of Westminster and Dort is a moderation of the supralapsarianism of Calvin is provocative to say the least! Nevertheless, his argument is both critical and constructive and is well worth careful consideration. See J. V. Fesko, Diversity Within the Reformed Tradition: Supra- and Infralapsarianism in Calvin, Dort, and Westminster (Greenville, SC: Reformed Academic Press, 2001); idem, “The Westminster Confession and Lapsarianism: Calvin and the Divines,” The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, vol. 2, ed. J. Ligon Duncan (Fearn: Mentor, 2004), 477-526. Guy Richard’s recent article on Samuel Rutherford takes a slightly different angle from Fesko. Building on the modified language of Rutherford’s supralapsarianism, Richard argues that Westminster is an inherently supralapsarian consensus document that does not exclude infralapsarianism. See Guy M. Richard, “Samuel Rutherford’s supralapsarianism revealed: a key to the lapsarian position of the Westminster Confession of Faith?” Scottish Journal of Theology 59.1 (2006): 27-44. For something of a via media between Fesko and Richard, see Derek W. H. Thomas, “The Westminster Consensus on the Decree: The Infra/Supra Lapsarian Debate,” The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century, vol. 3, ed. J. Ligon Duncan (Fearn: Mentor, forthcoming).

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

[NB: This bibliography has narrowly focused on the infra- and supra- perspectives of the decree with only the occasional reference to Arminianism and Amyraldianism and no mention of the influence of Ramism. The following references will point those interested in pursuing these discussion to the pertinent sources.]

  • Richard Muller’s work needs no introduction. Since his monumental work Christ and the Decree, his research has become essential reading for anyone wanting to clearly understand the intellectual, theological, exegetical, and historical contexts of this debate. Among other writings, see Richard A. Muller, Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (Durham, NC: Labyrinth Press, 1986; paperback ed., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988); idem, God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991); idem, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003); idem, “Perkins’ A Golden Chaine: Predestinarian System or Schematized Ordo Salutis?” The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. IX, no. 1 (1978), 69-81; idem, “The Use and Abuse of a Document: Beza’s Tabula praedestinationis, the Bolsec Controversy, and the Origins of Reformed Orthodoxy,” Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment, eds. Carl R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999), 33-61; idem, “God, Predestination, and the Integrity of the Created Order: A Note on Patterns in Arminius’ Theology,” Later Calvinism: International Perspectives, ed. W. Fred Graham (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1994), 431-446; idem, “Found (No Thanks to Theodore Beza): One ‘Decretal’ Theology,” Calvin Theological Journal 32.1 (1997): 145-151; idem, “The Myth of ‘Decretal Theology,’” Calvin Theological Journal 30.1 (1995), 159-167.

  • In addition to Muller, see Joel R. Beeke, “The Order of the Divine Decrees at the Genevan Academy: From Bezan Supralapsarianism to Turretinian Infralapsarianism,” The Identity of Geneva: The Christian Commonwealth, 1564-1864, eds. John B. Roney and Martin I. Klauber (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998), 57-76; Lynne Courter Boughton, “Supralapsarianism and the Role of Metaphysics in Sixteenth Century Reformed Theology,” Westminster Theological Journal 48 (1986): 63-96.

  • Post-Reformation historiography has (thankfully) moved beyond the arguments of Hall, Armstrong, Kendall, Torrance, Clifford, et al. Nevertheless, their influence still seems to carry weight in some circles and is important for this discussion. For a quick crash course in the Calvin/Calvinist debate, see Paul Helm, Calvin and the Calvinists (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1982); Richard A. Muller, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 63-102 [NB: Muller’s discussion can also be found in Calvin Theological Journal 30 (1995): 345-375 and Calvin Theological Journal 31 (1996): 125-160.]

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