Update 11 March 2010
Marty gave a fine lecture today and we recorded an episode of Office Hours after classes this afternoon. He highlighted the fundamental role that compromise played in the decline of Reformed theology. How, in two generations, did the Genevan theological leadership move from Francis Turretin to Jacob Vernet’s denial of the Trinity? The process began early in the 17th century at Saumur and happened in other compromises along the way to the early 18th century (e.g., refusal to exclude the Remonstrants consistently from the Reformed churches). In other words, the collapse of Reformed theology in Geneva didn’t just happen. It was the consequence of a series of bad decisions made by otherwise orthodox people. One of the crises they faced repeatedly was to choose between getting along and getting it right. Too often otherwise orthodox people chose to get along. The consequences of those choices didn’t appear immediately but they did appear.
We who are facing a variety of challenges whether from the Emergent/emerging church movement(s), the FV movement, the NPP movement(s), Open Theism (or “right-wing” temptations such as theocracy, theonomy, or other such fundamentalisms) need to remember that the choices we make now, perhaps to get along with kin or friends may produce unforeseen consequences.
Original Post 10 Mar 2010
The study of post-Reformation Reformed theology (Reformed orthodoxy or scholasticism) was revolutionized by the research of Richard Muller beginning in the late 1970s. Muller applied the methods and approach of David Steinmetz (who had focused on the Reformation) and Heiko Oberman (who had focused on late medieval nominalism and the Reformation) and Robert Preus (who had focussed on Lutheran orthodoxy) to the study of post-Reformation theology. The results of that work changed the way scholars have seen Reformed orthodoxy. Despite Muller’s pioneering research much work needs yet to be done. Martin Klauber of the few scholars who has paid much attention to the late period (c. post-1680) of Reformed orthodoxy. You can see a little of Klauber’s work in Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment. Marty will be giving a convocation lecture tomorrow at 10:00AM, in the chapel, at WSC, during which he’ll be speaking to the question of what happened to Reformed orthodoxy in the 18th century. On Fri morning he’ll be lecturing in the Reformed scholasticism seminar. For that session we’re reading Jean Daille, Right Use of the Fathers. Thanks to WSC student Dan Borvan for setting up this visit and for making the arrangements.