Continuity and Discontinuity, continued (!)

Muller continues his discussion with this key statement on page 46: “No small part of the task of describing properly the work of Protestant orthodoxy belongs to the discussion of its relationship to the Reformation. In its simplest form, this relationship is one of broad doctrinal continuity together with methodological discontinuity. Of course, the relationship is considerably more complex than this basic statement: methodological changes bring about changes in doctrinal statement if only because careful systematization of an idea tends to remove elements of tension and paradox resident in the initial, unsystematic formulation.”

This statement plainly proves that Muller’s position is firmly against the “Calvin versus the Calvinists” school of thought (he says this explicitly many times elsewhere). As noted in the last post, it was historical changes that were responsible for the changes in wording and method. This does not indicate a change in substance of doctrine.

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1 Comment

  1. tim prussic said,

    September 17, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I know you’re not around currently to respond, Pastor Lane, but maybe some other folks are interested enough to pick this up.
    When I was an undergrad (at a state university), my focus and my senior paper were in the discipline of historical theology. Specifically, I examined the doctrine of the effectual call from Calvin, through Ames and Shepard, to Edwards. In the midst of that research, I ran across a bit of Calvin vs. Calvinists scholarship. After that, in seminary, I ran across conservative, evangelical folks that scorned the “scholasticism” of the generations after the magisterial reformers and claimed that succeeding generations after Calvin modified his doctrine. I was almost convinced of that position, so I thought I’d try to substantiate it. I figured that a comparison of the doctrine of Scripture in Calvin and Turretin would be a great example. You know, the hunkering down of the scholastics vs. the rich biblical theology of Calvin, and all. I wrote my MTS thesis on that and ended up completely debunking what I had formerly thought. I found a great amount of continuity and only very little change. Far too much is made of the effects of Reformed scholasticism on the magisterial reformers’ theology, and usually without much knowledge of the Reformed Scholastics themselves.
    Anyway, Muller was a tremendous help to me in that research. I like reading what you have to say about his work.


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