Theological Division


Historical Theology


Richard A. Muller

Reader 1

Lyle Bierma

Reader 1

Ronald Feenstra

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Predestination, Seventeenth-century England, Puritan, Reformed theology


This thesis demonstrates that Elnathan Parr‟s (1577-1622) treatment of divine predestination in his homiletical commentary on Romans and in his catechism entitled Grounds of Divinity evidences a pastoral approach in which the scholastic precision characteristic of the era does not lead to speculative aridity but serves positive spiritual purposes. Parr was neither afraid of nor obsessed by this part of the “whole counsel of God.” While his popular teaching incorporated detailed theological argumentation, including an extended examination of the supralapsarian-infralapsarian issue, his concern was to apply this doctrine through multiple types of “uses” to his spiritually diverse readership with the desire they would be led to experience, be assured of, live out of, and glory in God's electing love. The thesis focuses on the early seventeenth-century teaching of predestination as it relates to exegesis, doctrine, piety, and especially pastoral ministry. It addresses the generalized caricatures of the Puritan and Reformed teaching of predestination in early seventeenth-century England that perpetuate due to a lack of analysis of specific pastors and theologians of the period. By examining the popular works of one who has received little more than a passing mention in secondary literature and comparing him to other contemporaries, it contributes toward a better understanding of the period.



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