Predestination and Justification: Two Theological Loci

Peter Martyr Vermigli Library, Vol. 8

By Peter Martyr Vermigli, Translated and Edited by Frank A James III


Publication Date: December 10, 2018

About this book

How does a gracious God save stubborn sinners?

We cannot answer this question without delving into two of the most challenging and hard-fought doctrines in Christian theology: predestination and justification. Both doctrines played a crucial role in the Protestant Reformation, provoking conflicts not merely between the Reformers and Rome but also within the ranks of each. As a deeply Augustinian theologian, trained in one of the leading Catholic universities before converting to Protestant teaching, few men in the sixteenth century were so well-equipped to address these difficult subjects as Peter Martyr Vermigli.

His treatments of these great doctrines, developed as part of a series of lectures on the Book of Romans as Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford from 1550 to 1552, became classic statements of early Reformed theology, exerting great influence on the development of the Reformed tradition in England and throughout Europe. In them, he blends his knowledge of the Augustinian tradition and the doctrinal precision of medieval scholastic theology with the intense study of the Scriptures characteristic of Reformation humanism. Convinced that the work of salvation is wholly the work of a sovereign, irresistible, and gracious God, Vermigli defends the implications of this conviction against both ancient heresies and recent Catholic opposition. Vermigli’s work has long been admired for both its erudition and precision, both of which are on display here in his discussion of these sometimes difficult and obscure doctrines.

Paperback | 296 PAGES | 6×9 | PubliSHed December 10, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1949716900

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From the Book

“In case our reasoning should stray too far, which might easily happen in so large a field as God’s predestination, a subject full of twists and turns, we intend to divide the subject into four principal parts.

First, I will examine carefully the nature and definition of predestination.

Second, I will ask what the cause of predestination is, since nothing can be known adequately unless its cause is known.

Third, I will consider the effects that predestination brings forth in men; there are many things that are most plainly under-
stood from their effects.

Last, I will ask whether its power is such that it brings necessity to man, whether it takes away or hinders the freedom of the human will, and whether it can be changed. After each of these parts has been discussed, we
will end this discourse.

Yet I will not promise to say all that can be said, for there are innumerable things that present themselves to those considering this matter. For the moment, I will touch only those things that seem most necessary and are most controversial. Since my treatment is so compact, it will not be hard for others to gather many things elsewhere.

Before we proceed to the definition of predestination, there are two things I
must answer: first, whether it befits true Christian religion to dispute or to preach
about predestination: if it is not lawful, we would seem to be acting wickedly by writing on the topic. Second, Logicians first pose the question of whether a thing exists naturally goes before the question of what it is. Lest we go against that order, let us consider whether or not there is such a thing as predestination, so that afterward we may define it more certainly. . .”

Read a Portion of the book here



Abbreviations Used in this Volume


General Editors Preface


Translator’s Preface


Translator’s Introduction

Part One: Locus on Predestination



Article 1: The Nature and Definition of Predestination


Article 2: The Cause of Predestination


Article 3: The Effects of Predestination


Article 4: The Necessity of Predestination

Part Two: Locus on Justification



Proposition 1: Justification Is Not by Works


Proposition 2: Justification Is by Faith


Proposition 3: Justification Is by Faith Alone


About the Editor and Translator


Scripture References


Classical Patristic, and Medieval References



About the Authors

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) was born in Florence and educated in Padua before rising through the ranks of the Augustinian order in Italy. A secret convert to Protestantism in the 1530s, he eventually fled north to Germany in 1542, before holding a series of influential posts at Strasburg, Oxford, and Zurich. He ranks alongside John Calvin and Henrich Bullinger as among the chief architects of the Reformed Protestant tradition.

Frank A. James III is the President of Biblical Theological Seminary, a position he previously held at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, before which he taught there as Professor of Historical Theology. He has been one of the leaders of the modern renaissance of Peter Martyr Vermigli studies.

In 1993 he completed a D.Phil at the University of Oxford on Vermigli’s doctrine of predestination and published Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer in 1998. In 1996 he became a general editor of the Peter Martyr Library and served for many years as president of the Peter Martyr Vermigli Society.


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