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The Doctrines of Grace in an Unexpected Place

  • By Mark R. Stevenson
  • Foreword by Tim Grass
Does God sovereignly elect some individuals for salvation while passing others by? Do human beings possess free will to embrace or reject the gospel? Did Christ die equally for all people or only for some? These questions have long been debated in the history of the Christian church. Answers typically fall into one of two main categories, popularly known as Calvinism and Arminianism. The focus of this book is to establish how one nineteenth-century evangelical group, the Brethren, responded to these and other related questions. The Brethren produced a number of colorful leaders whose influence was felt throughout the evangelical world. Although many critics have assumed the movement's theology was Arminian, this book argues that the Brethren, with few exceptions, advocated Calvinistic positions. Yet there were some twists along the way The movement's radical biblicism, passionate evangelism, and strong aversion to systematic theology and creeds meant they refused to label themselves as Calvinists even though they affirmed Calvinism's soteriological principles--the so-called doctrines of grace. --Mark Stevenson's groundbreaking study offers a challenging and richly resourced reminder of what many Brethren, and historians of evangelicalism, have forgotten--that the movement that gave birth to dispensationalism was a movement of vigorous and emphatic Calvinists.-- --Crawford Gribben, Queen's University Belfast --With no official creed or confession, the Brethren movement presents a daunting challenge to those interested in inquiring into its original beliefs. From the writings of the movement's earliest leaders, Dr. Stevenson has produced a first-rate study of their soteriological convictions--specifically, their views on what are commonly known as the doctrines of grace. While his conclusions might surprise some, his scholarly insight will prove edifying to all.-- --J. Stephen Yuille, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary --Stevenson provides a fascinating narrative strewn with ironies. The Brethren 'fathers' charted a doctrinal course that they believed to lie somewhere between Calvinism and Arminianism, the formal study of which they eschewed. Spurning doctrinal articles, they supposed (mistakenly) that their own periodic writings could suffice to guard the form of the gospel as they preached it. They lived to see their own mildly Calvinistic teaching undermined by new emphases traceable to the 1859 Revival and the Moody campaigns. Here, in microcosm, is the story of nineteenth-century evangelical Protestantism.-- --Kenneth J. Stewart, Covenant College --The Brethren, the vigorous Evangelical movement that sprang into existence in the years around 1830, repudiated systematic Calvinism as mere human speculation. They were insistent that they embraced the teaching of the Bible alone. But, as Stevenson shows clearly in this volume, nineteenth-century Brethren leaders normally professed beliefs that are recognizably Calvinistic. He has indeed demonstrated the existence of the doctrines of grace in an unexpected place.-- --David Bebbington, University of Stirling --Stevenson demonstrates irrefutably by the abundance of evidence he accumulates that the early Brethren were Calvinists. He lucidly explicates the nuances present in their convictions about salvation that enabled them to maintain the doctrines of grace while remaining passionate evangelists. His work succeeds in both filling a gap in Brethren historiography and being a thought-provoking work of historical theology with implications for contemporary developments in evangelicalism.-- --Neil Dickson, Editor, Brethren Historical Review Mark R. Stevenson (PhD, University of Wales) is Professor of Bible and Theology at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa.

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    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781498281119
    • Manufacturer: Pickwick Pubn
    • ISBN 13: 9781498281119
    • Publication Date: 03/01/2017
    • Format: Hardcover
    • Author: Mark R. Stevenson
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