Richard MullerNov 11, 2020
Grace and Freedom
William Perkins and the Early Modern Reformed Understanding of Free Choice and Divine Grace
Oxford University Press 2020
No-one has done more than Richard A. Muller to shape our approach to early modern historical theology. His earlier work, and most especially the four volumes of his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, initiated fresh interest in reading early modern Reformed sources on their own terms and in their own contexts, and pushed back against reductive accounts of the history of theological ideas. In this important new book, Grace and Freedom: William Perkins and the Early Modern Reformed Understanding of Free Choice and Divine Grace (Oxford UP, 2020), Muller argues that we need to re-think our understanding of the debate about “free will” – he prefers “free choice” – and divine sovereignty. In a close reading of work by William Perkins, the Church of England minister who became theologian of choice for the emerging puritan movement, Muller argues that the study of these themes require new categories of analysis – which, as might expect, are really some very old categories indeed.
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of Survival and Resistance in evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford UP, 2021).