Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Historic Proof of Doctrinal Calvinism in the Church of England" by Augustus Toplady

"Historic proof of the doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England : including among other particulars, I. A brief account of some eminent persons..." by the Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady.

Calvin influenced, by letter, the reformation of the 1549 BCP.  Cranmer's 1552 BCP, with Bucer's help, emerged.

Cranmer, so highly impressed by Calvin, wrote to Calvin to write often to Edward VI.

Hooker, "Calvin was the wisest man ever produced by the French Church."

Bishop Morton, "Calvin had eminent judgment in Scriptures."

Bishop Stillingfleet re: Calvin.  "That eminent servant of God."
Joseph Scalinger.  "Hard to forbear any man who did not highly esteem John Calvin."

Bishop Hooper, highly esteeming Calvin and before his death in the Marian persecution (1555), wrote Calvin from prison, beseeching Monsieur Jean's prayer.  Let it be noted that Calvin heard of the ghastly persecutions.

Bishops Jewel, Abbot and Ussher honour John Calvin.

Toplady observes that the Universities (Oxford and Cambridge) revered Calvin "until the debaucheries of Laud."

Calvin writes to (the future ABC) John Whitgift in 1561 in general favour of the Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559.  (We'd add, let all Presbyterians at Westminster, Reformed and other anti-BCP institutions be advised.)

Whitgift notes that Calvin allowed episcopal sees. 

While the Puritan hotheads were rising in the later part of Elizabeth's reign, Beza wrote Bishop Whitgift in 1591 on two fronts: distancing himself from the Puritan hotheads and giving general approbation to episcopal government.

Bishop Bancroft, later Archbishop of Canterbury, a Calvinist, produces letters by the Italian Reformer, Zanchius, approving of episcopacy. 

Swiss Reformers, Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, Sadeel, Bullinger and Gualter, did not oppose decency and order in Prayer Book worship.

Earnest efforts were undertaken during the Marian period of Popedom to extinquish the Protestant and Anglican Bishops' views of gratituous and unconditional election, invincible grace, justification without works, predestination, and total depravity.  Why?  It undercut Romanism on all fronts. 

Toplady rightly affirms that Arminianism and Romanism on grace, free will, justification and works are similar. 

Queen Mary 1 outlaws all books--in England and at the Universities--by Luther, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, Calvin, Bucer, Peter Martry, Latimer, Hooper, Coverdale, Tyndale, Cranmer or "other Protestant predestinarians whose names are enumerated here."

John Rogers, Lecturer in Divinity at St. Paul's, a Protestant, Reformed Anglican, put to death at Smithfield, 4 Feb 1555.

Laurence Saunders, Cathedral of Lichfield, writes his wife before death (at the stake) about the gratituity of justification and the invincible work of God's grace and assurance.  The "seal of final perseverence" is given to us.  We are a "peculiar and elect people." Burned 8 Feb 1555 for the Protestant, Reformed and Anglican faith.

Dr. Rowland Taylor, Rector in Suffolk, writes admirably of the Reformation and "the diffusion of the Gospel." He speaks of Thomas Bilney and the congregation "getting rooted in the Scriptures."  Taylor was a Doctor of Canon and Civil Laws to wit, a lawyer. Toplady said Tayloer had the "piety of Calvin, the intrepidity of Luther, and the orthodoxy of both." The Papist Bishop, Edmund Bonner, degraded him and hit him on the breast with his Papist crozier.  Taylor burned 9 Feb 1555, a Protestant, Reformed and Anglican martyr.

Four days before death on 9 Feb 1555, Dr. Taylor wrote that Abraham was justified by faith, by grace, by promise and not by works as evinced in Romans 4 and Galatians, and that Abraham's faith in Genesis 22 was the fruit of a long-held status of justification.  Justification, like faith, was a gift.  If not a gift, then a person has a right to self-glory.

Thomas Causton and Thomas Higbed speak to Bishop Bonner.  A Catholic Church, built on the Apostles and Prophets, for whom Christ died, forgiven because of Christ's merits alone, justified freely, and all effected by Christ alone for "His people."  Yes, limited and efficaceous atonement. They too were burned at the stake.

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