Amyraldianism: Theological Criteria for Identification and Comparative Analysis -- By: David Wenkel

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 11:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Amyraldianism: Theological Criteria for Identification and Comparative Analysis
Author: David Wenkel


Amyraldianism: Theological Criteria for
Identification and Comparative Analysis

David Wenkel

David H. Wenkel earned his B.S. degree at Columbia College of Missouri but switched paths after being called into ministry. He continued at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, graduating with an M.A. in Christian Thought with a major in systematic theology. This summer he will be a visiting professor at Grace Baptist Theological Seminary. His e-mail address is dwenkel @voyager.net.

Abstract: Historians and theologians have made mutually exclusive claims about the soteriology of several post-Reformation protestants. The task of this article is to examine the different labels used for those of the Calvinist tradition who fall under the category of Amyraldianism. This paper seeks to relate Amyraldianism to Calvinism in a more precise way. First, current definitions of Amyraldianism are evaluated for differentiation and scope. Next, Amyraldianism is considered as a theological system rather than as the theology of Moise Amyraut alone. Finally, a set of historically sensitive criteria is offered for identifying Amyraldianism as a system.

Introduction

Just what exactly Calvinism includes becomes a pertinent question in light of the number of theologians and pastors who are said to have held to a nuance of Calvinism typically called Amyraldianism. This is of interest to both Dispensational and Reformed camps because the list includes, but is not limited to, John Bunyan, John Davenant, Richard Baxter, Lewis S. Chafer, Samuel Hopkins, Heinrich Heppe, and Jonathan Edwards.1

There are some who would state that Amyraldians are Calvinists; others see Amyraldianism as being outside of Calvinism, but not yet part of Arminianism.2 This problem of locating Amyraldianism on the theological

spectrum affects not only the methodology of investigation into the history of the doctrine but also the terminology used throughout the scholarly works.

Labels other than Amyraldianism have been given to those within the Reformed theology who have held to a soteriology belonging to a variant of Calvinism usually associated with a mediate view of the atonement. These labels include the following: “The Other Reformed Tradition,” “New Methodism,” “Hypothetical Universalism,” “Dualism,” “Neo-Amyraldianism,” “Salmurianism,” and “Baxterianism.”3 The label that is most common is “Amyraldianism” (Amyraldism), which comes from the name of the French post-Refo...

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