“Beaten on Both Sides”: A Reevaluation of the Anti-Calvinism of Andrewes, Neile, and Laud
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This is a case of mistaken identity. Under the early Stuart kings, James I and Charles I, a ragtag group of churchmen challenged the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the Church of England and catalyzed civil war. They have been called the first true Anglicans, papist plotters, idolatrous traitors, and Arminian interlopers. Historians have called them Anglicans, Arminians, and Laudians. In his pivotal 1990 book, Nicholas Tyacke called them anti-Calvinists, but he identified their enemies too narrowly. Calvinists have become defined by five points of theology about predestination, but Calvin and his successors in Geneva were iconoclasts, fanatically opposed to the Roman church, devoted to simplicity in worship, and politically revolutionary. In the context of this period and subject, the term iconoclasts has a more specialist meaning than its use in other situations. Iconoclasts believe that religious imagery is either idolatrous by nature or likely to lead to idolatry and thus must be destroyed or removed from churches. By analyzing the lives, sermons, and letters of Lancelot Andrewes, Richard Neile, and William Laud, I have shown how varied their priorities were and how they came together over a common enemy and their enemies’ larger program of reformation. Led by these three churchmen, the English anti-Calvinists sought to restore reverence to worship, restore the material wealth of the church, and to fix the king as the final authority in religion in the kingdom. These and other similar priorities generally dwarfed predestination and the finer points of election in the minds of the most prominent anti-Calvinists. In reassessing the breadth of Calvinism, we can come to understand the heart of these men who made enormous waves in the lives of the people of England in the seventeenth century, religiously and politically.
Table of Contents
Anti-Calvinists and Calvinist soteriology -- Anti-Calvinists and broader Calvinist concerns
M.A. (Master of Arts)