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Who Were the Reformed?

October 21, 2008

Hey all,

Over at Theological Mediations, Tony has outlined certain critical points from comments made by Richard Muller on Amyraldianism [click here], on how Amyraldianism is both Reformed and within the major confessional lines as delineated by Westminster and Dort, as exemplars.

I know certain uber-Calvinists and “internet” apologists want to claim that “Amyraldianism” is outside of the Reformed confessional tradition. However, for myself, I am going to accept Muller’s scholarship way before I accept the so-called “scholarship” of our uber-Calvinists.

The irony is, we have a sort of “much-more” argument here. If Amyraut’s Amyraldianism is within confessional orthodoxy, how much more so is the position of classic and moderate Calvinism and Calvinists? If Amyraut is “in” how much more we who are non-Amyraldian classic Calvinists?

Let me repeat for emphasis, Muller says that even Amyraut’s Amyraldianism was within the confessional lines, and he gives a lot of darn good historical reasons as well, so when one of our so-called internet apologists says otherwise, I will here defer to Muller and the historical testimonies first and foremost.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2008 4:32 pm


    T-fan wrote:

    …full-blown Amyraldian position: one that contradicts all the major Reformed confessions and which consequently is properly placed outside the bounds of “Reformed” theology…

    1. Turretinfan is asserting that “full-blown” Amyraldian position contradicts all the major Reformed confessions.

    2. Turretinfan is asserting that Amyraldism is properly placed outside the bounds of Reformed theology.

    T-fan wrote:

    …universal redemption, contrary to the WCF…

    3. Turretinfan views all versions of universal redemption as contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    T-fan wrote:

    …when Amyraldians make such arguments today, everyone should just accept them as part of the ‘Reformed’ perspective.

    4. Turretinfan is complaining that modern Amyraldians want to be accepted as part of the Reformed perspective.

    T-fan wrote:

    …such positions (the positions contrary to the Reformed confessions) should still be viewed Reformed.

    5. Turretinfan is complaining that David’s views [in addition to Amyraut’s] are contrary to all the Reformed confessions and should not be viewed as Reformed.


    In complete contrast, Dr. Richard Muller makes these points:

    1. Seventeenth-centuray opponents of Amyraldianism [such as Turretin] recognized that the views of Cameron and his Salmurian successors were not heresy, and that, like it or not, were consciously framed to stand within the confessionalism of Dort. See MAJT 17 (2006), 36.

    2. Reformed churches did not identify a particular theologically defined group [including Saumur and Baxter] as beyong the bounds of the confessions. See Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 1:76.

    3. Davenant, Martinius and Alsted [i.e. Dortians] had maintained similar lines of argument as Amyraut’s concerning the extent of Christ’s satisfaction. See PRRD, 1:76.

    4. The Westminster Confession was in fact written with this [Baxter, Amyraut, Davenant, Martinius and Alsted] diversity [on the extent of the satisfaction] in view. See PRRD, 1:76.

    5. The WCF confessionally encompassed the varient Reformed views on the nature of the limitation of Christ’s satisfaction to the elect, just as it was inclusive of the infra- and supralapsarian views. See PRRD, 1:76-77.

    6. Amyraut is intraconfessional [like Turretin], and stood in agreement with Turretin on the issues of the fundamental articles of the faith. See PRRD, 1:77.

    7. Although some distinctions can be made between the line of Swiss orthodoxy [found in Turretin and Heidegger] from the line of the Academy of Saumur, they are both various lines of development within Reformed orthodoxy. See PRRD, 1:79-80.

    8. There is no justification for identifying the Saumur strain of Reformed thought [or the Bremen theology, the British variety of Reformed thought or that of Baxter] as being outside the bounds of Reformed orthodoxy. See PRRD, 1:79-80.

    9. Voetius did not set the Saumur theologians outside of the Reformed Confessions. See PRRD, 1:80.

    10. Turretin himself consistently identifies the Saumur theologians as Reformed and as “our ministers.” See PRRD, 1:80.

    11. Owen and Baxter [the latter being a universal redemptionist of sorts] acknowledged each other’s theologies as belonging to the same confessional tradition. See PRRD, 1:80.

    12. The Salmurians are a branch of the Reformed tradition standing within the boundaries established by the major national confessions and catechisms of the Reformed churches. See PRRD, 1:80.

  2. January 29, 2009 8:47 pm


    Although I’m learning the history at this time, my impression and observation was Turretin and others seemed to overact, if Amyraut was warned that his teachings could be interpreted as dangerous, but was exonerated by the old council, then I believe he should be viewed as orthodox.

    I’m still researching and studying this aspect so forgive me for not enough specifics such as additional names. But at this stage, I agree with you all. Dr. Muller and yourself to be specific.

  3. Flynn permalink*
    January 30, 2009 4:39 pm

    Hey Donald,

    I agree. Amyraut did make some statements in his earliest work which offended some. He was examined by two national French synods. In both he was exonerated. He was cautioned to not use some of his language, because of possible offense. He promised to stop using the phrase “Christ died for all equally” because some quarters were misreading him. And he agreed to drop the language of “conditional decree” and replace it with the language of conditional will. On that though, it is clear from the sources from these two synods, that it was well understood that he meant conditional revealed will, which had been called conditional decree. That phrase had been well used by men like Zanchi and Bucer.

    You are right to point out that he should therefore be treated as orthodox. It is irresponsible for some to continually ground their “charges” on early statements which he later clarified and corrected. Imagine if these modern detractors were told that Pink must be condemned because early in his theological career he was a dispensationalist. Their reply would be obvious.


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