The Davenant Press
In this classic treatise, the great English theologian Richard Hooker tackles the question of justification by faith alone head-on, seeking to head off two opposite errors: insisting so rigidly on a right articulation of the doctrine that we neglect Christ himself, or minimizing differences over justification as unimportant. In the process, Hooker also offers an excellent blueprint for how to interpret and navigate doctrinal disagreement within the church on any issue.
Centuries on, this remains one of the classic statements of Reformational soteriology, presenting a clear account of what Protestants do and do not believe about the doctrine of justification, along with a careful summary of what their Catholic opponents held.
Often misrepresented as a fruitless human attempt to comprehend God, natural theology has in fact been a significant part of Christian theology throughout history. It has shaped the Christian doctrine of God and provided a starting point for evangelizing non-Christians. In an age when theologians and missionaries alike are in need of stronger doctrinal foundations, it is a doctrine as vital as ever.
In this brief guide, David Haines first outlines the biblical basis for natural theology, suggesting that, if Scripture is correct, certain truths about God should be well attested by non-Christians. A thorough historical survey demonstrates that this is indeed the case, and that the Church has long made use of that which is revealed to reason in order to serve Christ, who is revealed to faith.
Thinkers and theologians once argued we should rejoice in Protestantism's creation of societies grounded on reason, freedom, and the individual; now, many are quick to pin the blame for modernity's ills squarely on the Reformation. But these are two sides of the same coin, united by a shared assumption: that Protestantism necessitates revolution, and decisively broke our bonds with the past, the cosmos, and even each other.
But what if these accounts are wrong? What if Protestantism is more than this, or something different altogether? The burden of this book is to illuminate Protestantism's historic vision for church and state, politics and culture, and economics and justice, and proposes that Protestantism's own vision for these things is worth seeing afresh, on its own terms.
In November 1605, English Roman Catholics came within hours of killing the King. The famed Gunpowder Plot was a watershed moment in the conflict between England's Protestant monarchs and their Roman Catholic subjects, and triggered several years of fevered writing by Protestants and Catholics alike regarding the jurisdictions of the crown, the Church, and the Pope. In 1610, George Carleton (1559 - 1628) made a decisive Protestant contribution by publishing "Jurisdiction Regal, Episcopal, Papal".
The work outlines the biblical and theological basis for a Protesant view of church and state. Then, it exhaustively surveys church history to expose how Rome gradually robbed kings and churches of their rightful power, theologically justifying itself after-the-fact. This new edition includes a new scholarly introduction, as well as extensive footnotes, and its publication is timely in a when confusion abounds about the remits of church and state.
Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) was a forgotten giant of the Protestant Reformation. Born in Florence, Italy, the monk-turned-reformer's career spanned the continent, as he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other leading Protestant Reformers Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, and Thomas Cranmer. He left behind him voluminous biblical commentaries and treatises, and a band of faithful disciples who collected his writings into the massive theological compendium, the Loci Communes.
Now in English for the first time since 1583, "On Free Will and the Law" is Part II, Ch. 2 and 3 of the Loci Communes of Peter Martyr Vermigli. Masterufl and concise, the first part is deft treatment of the thorny issue of free will, simultaneously upholding the the fallen will's enslavement to sin and freedom to act. Likewise, Vermigli's briefer exposition of the doctrine of the Law alongside his criticisms of Manichean and Pelagian errors is a helpful summary of Protestant teaching on this issue.
John Wycliffe (c.1320-1384) has long been famed for his role in translating the Bible into English in Medieval England. Yet he was also a learned theologian and faithful priest - something now made evident to a new audienc ein these pastoral treatises. Newly translated into modern English, were originally written in the vernacular, a key means of reaching poorly educated priests who had been hastily ordained to replace those killed off by the Plague. Wycliffe argues that the Church and her ministers must return to their first love: the Lord Jesus.
In calling pastors in his own day to better tend their flocks by preaching the Scriptures, living simply, and working diligently for the good of their parishioners, Wycliffe speaks just as effectively to our time. Wracked by Plague, beset by social and political upheaval, and faced with corruption in our churches, we are more similar to Wycliffe’s audience than we might suppose. Like his original audience, we need Wycliffe’s message: our life in this world is a pilgrimage, and our destination is the celestial city, there to dwell forever with our Lord.
John Jewel (1522-1571), Bishop of Salisbury, stands as one of the leading architects and perhaps the staunchest defender of the Protestant Church of England. Writing in 1562 when the Elizabethan church was yet young and fragile, and menaced by Catholic foes at home and abroad, Jewel proudly proclaimed the independence of the English church from Roman rule, and the deep catholicity of its reformation.
Appealing throughout to the testimonies of the Church Fathers, Jewel made a powerful case that the Protestants were not heretics or innovators, but genuine reformers, restoring the church to the purity of apostolic practice and proclaiming anew the “faith once delivered to the saints.” Along the way, he refutes common misunderstandings or caricatures of Protestant teaching, and takes the offensive against what he sees as the tyrannical power of the medieval papacy.
The Richard Hooker Modernization Project
Radicalism: When Reform Becomes Revolution
In this initial offering of an ongoing translation project by the Davenant Institute, we present Hooker’s Preface to the work, which offer a short and accessible sample of his profound insight and rhetorical genius. Much more than a mere preface, this wide-ranging discourse on the psychology of religious and political radicalism, and the need to balance the demands of conscience with legal order, offers startlingly relevant insights for the church and the task of Christian citizenship today.
Divine Law and Human Nature
In this second volume we present Book I of Hooker’s Laws, for which he is perhaps most famous. Here he offers a sweeping overview of his theology of law, law being that order and measure by which God governs the universe, and by which all creatures—humans above all—conduct their lives and affairs. In an age when natural creation order is under wholesale attack, even within the church, Hooker’s luminous treatment of the relation of Scripture and nature, faith and reason is a priceless gift to the church.
Proceedings from the 2nd Annual Convivium Irenicum. The authors use the doctrine of Creation to explore the relation of philosophy to theology, of the church to the saeculum, and of the kingdom of Christ to the visible church. This volume brings together careful investigations of established and emerging historians and theologians, exploring how these questions have been addressed at different points in Christian history, and what they mean for us today.
Proceedings from the 3rd Annual Convivium Irenicum. Together, the essays in this volume challenge us to recognize the breadth and depth of our heritage of Protestant political wisdom, and the complexity and contingency of civic life to which its principles must be artfully applied, which rules out any attempt to inscribe any particular instance of Christian politics as a model for all time.
Proceedings from the 4th Annual Convivium Irenicum. The Reformed tradition today often carries a reputation for narrowness and dogmatism, rather than breadth and diversity. But it was not always so. The essays in this volume offer an introduction to the theological rigor and surprising breadth of the early Reformed tradition.
Protestantism today has an idolatry problem. Not merely in the sense of worshipping false gods—of pleasure, wealth, or politics—but in the sense of worshipping the Triune God of Scripture according to images and ideas of our own devising. Whether it’s a God who suffers and changes alongside his creatures, or a “Trinitarian circle dance” of divine personalities, or a hierarchically-arranged Trinity that serves as a blueprint for gender relations, modern evangelical theology has strayed far from historic Christian orthodoxy. Needing a God that can be put on a greeting card or in a praise song, our idolatrous hearts shrink the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to size, and make him more like us.
Cardinal Newman once stated that to be deep in church history is to cease to be Protestant. These essays argue that, on the contrary, to be Protestant is simply to be a principled catholic. In one sense, the Protestant tradition just is the catholic tradition shorn of excess and reduced to truly “universal” doctrine and principle. We embrace God’s calling to maturity by learning to be active participants in the universal church as it grows into fuller understanding of God's revelation. Openness to reform is not silly submission to the ethos of each age, but is rather the insistence that all of our understanding must submit (in the classic formula of Luther) to the bar of the Scripture and plain reason, which stands above and judges the church in each era. The whole Word stands in judgment over our fractured communities and fragmented understanding.
“In this concise little book, the author does more than merely refute the case for Christian pacifism…highly recommended for anyone who is struggling with this issue.” —Dr. Craig A. Carter, Tyndale University College.
In this guide, Bradford Littlejohn sketches the history of the doctrine and clears away common misunderstandings, and shows that the two-kingdoms doctrine can offer a valuable framework for thinking about pastoring, politics, and even financial stewardship.
Even believers often navigate the world based on knowledge not always derived from Scripture. Frequently misrepresented as an assertion of the autonomous power of human reason or as a uniquely Roman Catholic doctrine, natural law has actually been an integral part of orthodox Christian theology since the beginning, and is even asserted in Scripture. In this brief guide, David Haines and Andrew Fulford explain the philosophical foundations of natural law, clear up common misunderstandings about the term, and demonstrate the robust biblical basis for natural law reasoning.
Tertullian famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Since the first century, Christians have hotly debated the relationship between faith and reason, between Scripture and natural revelation, and between Christian doctrine and non-Christian philosophy. Too often, though, the history of this conflict has been misrepresented and misunderstood. Thus, before we seek to answer these questions for our own time, we must first come to grips with the answers of the past. What did “philosophy” mean for our spiritual forefathers? When Christian teachers raised warnings in the past about its dangers, what precisely did they have in mind? And most importantly, where does this leave the church today?
After an age of original integrity, the doctrine of divine simplicity fell from grace. Once a cornerstone of orthodox Christianity’s doctrine of God, many modern theologians expelled it from the garden. But was the doctrine of divine simplicity’s fall deserved? Is it unreasonable to hold that God is metaphysically without parts? Is the Lord really one? Rather than dismiss the challenges leveled against divine simplicity by modernity, The Lord is One engages them. This volume presents exegetical, historical, and theological treatments of divine simplicity. It argues the doctrine of divine simplicity is cogent and indispensable while also making space for historically marginalized or idiosyncratic articulations of it.