Vol. 8


Volume 8 – Predestination and Justification: Two Theological Loci

Frank James III, trans. & ed.

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Predestination and justification are two of the most distinctive and familiar doctrines associated with the Protestant Reformation. Martyr, an influential Protestant theologian and biblical exegete of the sixteenth century, engages advocates and detractors alike in his most extensive discussions of these controversial theological topics, drawn from his monumental commentary on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. The great value of these two treatises is that they provide a vital if unheralded Protestant perspective on what were two of the most controverted doctrines of the Reformation era—not only between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but also among the Reformed, Lutheran, and Anabaptists as well.

Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 68

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Frank James III, trans. & ed.

How does a gracious God save stubborn sinners? Answering this question requires delving into two of the most challenging and hard-fought doctrines in Christian theology: predestination and justification. Few men in the sixteenth century were so well-equipped to address these difficult subjects as Italian Reformed theologian 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.

Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 68


Abbreviations Used in This Volume

General Editors’ Preface

Translator’s Preface

Translator’s Introduction

Part One: Locus on Predestination
Should Predestination Be Taught?
Does Predestination Exist?
Article 1: The Nature and Definition of Predestination 
The Nature of Predestination
The Definition of Predestination
The Definition of Reprobation
Article 2: The Cause of Predestination 
The Fourfold Cause of Predestination
Are Foreseen Good Works the Cause of Predestination?
Testimony from the Church Fathers
Contra Pighius
Article 3: The Effects of Predestination 
Is Grace Universal?
Is Grace Sufficient?
Arguments to the Contrary
Article 4: The Necessity of Predestination
Is Necessity Imposed upon Us?
Does Necessity Hinder Free Will?
Does Foreknowledge Cancel God’s Justice?

Part Two: Locus on Justification
Proposition 1: Justification Is Not by Works 
Proof from Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Proof from Paul’s Other Letters
Proof from Other Scriptures
Objections to Proposition 1
Proof from the Church Fathers
Proof from Church Councils
Proposition 2: Justification Is by Faith 
Proof from Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Proof from Paul’s Other Letters
Proof from Other Scriptures
Objections to Proposition 2
Proof from the Church Fathers
Proof from the Church Councils
Proposition 3: Justification Is by Faith Alone 
Contra Richard Smith
Proof from the Church Fathers

About the Editor and Translator

Scripture References

Classical Patristic, and Medieval References



Frank Allison James III was awarded the D. Phil. in history from Oxford University in 1993 for his dissertation on the intellectual and historical origins of Vermigli’s notion of gemina praedestinatio (double predestination) and the Ph.D. in historical theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in 2000 for his dissertation on Vermigli’s theological doctrine of justification. He received a Lilly Theological Research Grant (1999), was elected by the faculty of Keble College, Oxford University, to membership of the Senior Common Room (1994). Other awards include an Overseas Research Students Award (1991–92), the Isaiah Berlin Bursary, Oxford University (1990-91), the Leonard J. Theberge Memorial Scholarship, St. Peter’s College, Oxford University (1991–93), an Oxford University Research Grant (1991), the Christina Drake Research Award for Italian Studies, Taylor Institution, Oxford University (1991), and the St. Peter’s College Graduate Award, Oxford (1990–92).

James is the coeditor and contributor (with Charles E. Hill) of The Glory of the Atonement in Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspective (2003); coeditor (with Emidio Campi and Peter Opitz) of Peter Martyr Vermigli: Humanism, Republicanism and Reformation, Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 365(2002); coeditor (with J. Patrick Donnelly and Joseph C. McLelland) of The Peter Martyr Reader (1999). He is the author of Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer, Oxford Theological Monographs (1998); coeditor (with Heiko Augustus Oberman) of Via Augustini: The Recovery of Augustine in the Later Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought, vol. 48(1991). Since 1996, he has served as a general editor (with Joseph C. McLelland and J. Patrick Donnelly) of the Peter Martyr Library series and senior editor of Ad Fontes: Digital Library of Classical Theological Text (with Alister E. McGrath, Richard A. Muller, and Herman Selderhuis).

James was assistant professor of systematic and historical theology at Westmont College (1987–89); lecturer in philosophy and history, Villanova University (1986–87); and contributing editor at Christian History Magazine(1986–89). Since 1993 he has been professor of historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and in 2002 was appointed vice president for academic affairs of that institution.