Retaining the Old Episcopal Divinity: John Edwards of Cambridge and Reformed Orthodoxy in the Later Stuart Church
Author: Jake Griesel (Peterhouse 2016)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
John Edwards of Cambridge (1637-1716) has typically been portrayed as a marginalized 'Calvinist' in an overwhelmingly 'Arminian' later Stuart Church of England. In Retaining the Old Episcopal Divinity, Jake Griesel challenges this depiction of Edwards and the theological climate of his contemporary Church. Griesel demonstrates that Edwards was recognised in his own day and the immediately following generations as one of the preeminent conforming divines of the period, who featured prominently in notable theological controversies involving contemporaries such as John Locke, Gilbert Burnet, Daniel Whitby, William Whiston, and Samuel Clarke. Despite some Arminian opposition, Edwards' theological works are shown to have enjoyed a warm reception among sizable segments of the established Church's clergy, many of whom shared his Reformed convictions. The analysis shows that, instead of a theological misfit, the anti-Arminian Edwards was a decidedly mainstream churchman.
Griesel's reassessment has ramifications far beyond the figure of Edwards and ultimately serves as a prism through which to visualize with much greater clarity the broader theological landscape of the later Stuart Church of England, and particularly the place of Reformed orthodoxy within it. Retaining the Old Episcopal Divinity develops recent research on the persisting vitality of Reformed theology within the post-Restoration Church, demonstrating the strength and numbers of conforming Reformed divines between the Restoration and the evangelical revivals.