Thomas Ridgley on the Trinity

April 11, 2013Paul Helm, Puritans, Trinity

By Paul Helm– The period of English history in which Thomas Ridgley lived is generally regarded as inglorious from a religious and theological point of view. The Puritan aspirations were punctured by the Act of Uniformity, and the political and theological reaction to Puritanism accelerated its decline. 1662-1689 was a period of severe discrimination and … Read More

Calvin on the Temporary Christian

February 15, 2013Assurance, Calvinism, John Calvin, Paul Helm, Perseverance

Paul Helm– Calvin’s treatment of faith, permanent and temporary, has features that make it strikingly similar to Augustine’s discussion of perseverance. So it is interesting that though he quotes Augustine many times in connection with God’s imparting of his grace he does not refer to him explicitly on perseverance in the Institutes. Though it seems … Read More

Augustine and the Temporary Christian

December 4, 2012Augustine, Paul Helm

By Paul Helm– Augustine discusses temporary Christianity in his anti-Pelagian writings, as seen in  Rebuke and Grace, composed in 426-427 and On the Gift of Perseverance, written in 428/429.  In these short books Augustine strongly defends the sovereign grace of God, especially the idea of effectual calling and what later on came to be called … Read More

Plantinga’s Point

November 7, 2012Paul Helm, Philosophy, Providence

By Paul Helm— In a little-discussed paper of Alvin Plantinga’s, ‘Divine Knowledge,’ (in Christian Perspectives on Religious Knowledge, edited by C. Stephen Evans and Merold Westphal (Eerdmans, 1993), he discusses and defends the thesis that it is no objection to accepting the truth of God knows that p that We do not know how God … Read More

Pascal and Skepticism

October 5, 2012Faith, Paul Helm, Reason

By Paul Helm– We distinguish between two kinds of assurance (or doubt). One is of one’s own personal standing before God, the danger of hypocrisy, the occurrence of unwarranted doubt, the thought that Christ would not be the Saviour of a sinner such as me. There is need therefore to make one’s calling and election … Read More

Turretin on the Senses

September 7, 2012Paul Helm, Philosophy, Reason

By Paul Helm– In the course of his long discussion of the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Institutes, Calvin wrote this about the body of Christ: The body with which Christ rose is declared not by Aristotle, but by the Holy Spirit, to be finite, and to be contained in heaven until the last day. … Read More

Praying and Groaning

August 21, 2012Paul Helm, Prayer

By Paul Helm— I don’t know how it is with you, but I cannot cope with times in services of worship when the minister or leader invites the congregation to ‘spend a few moments of quiet praying for someone in special need’. My mind starts to think about anything or nothing except a person I … Read More

Francis Turretin on Faith and Reason

August 6, 2012Paul Helm

By Paul Helm– I‘m not sure why it is the case that fewer systematic theologies were produced in the UK during the Puritan era than on the continent, particularly in Holland but also in Geneva. Continental theologies are very thorough, dealing not only with the various loci of theology but also, under prolegomena, discussing the … Read More