Chapter

A Different Kind of Calvinism? Edwardsianism Compared with Older Forms of Reformed Thought

Paul Helm

in After Jonathan Edwards

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756292
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950379 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756292.003.0007
A Different Kind of Calvinism? Edwardsianism Compared with Older Forms of Reformed Thought

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Edwards’s theological significance is partly due to how he combined the theological conservatism of his inherited Reformed Orthodoxy (largely but not entirely, in its English Puritan expression) and a “modern” outlook, that of the world of Locke and Newton. Scholastic methods were largely abandoned in favour of Lockean psychology and Newtonian physics. This is particularly apparent in issues of freedom and determinism, Edwards’s occasionalism, and his approach to the Trinity. Comparisons are drawn between Edwards and both continental (e.g., Calvin, Turretin) and Anglophone Reformed orthodoxy (Charnock, Owen). This chapter explores how this plays out in the conceptuality and methodology of his philosophical theology, and its effect (if any) on matters of theological substance. A “control” is offered by briefly comparing Edwards and his English contemporary John Gill, whose work (some of which Edwards was acquainted with) remains indebted to many of the features of the older conceptuality.

Keywords: Reformed Orthodoxy; Jonathan Edwards; philosophical theology; John Gill; Puritan theology

Chapter.  5778 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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