By Michael Lynch

Today, if you walk into a random art gallery in the Grand Rapids, Mich. area, you might come across an 18th century Dutch landscape oil painting with a windmill or a church in its background. Perhaps, the painter’s name is Richard Muller. What you would be unlikely to know about this painter is that he has been one of the foremost historians of early modern protestant theology in the past century.

Among his accomplishments, he has nearly single-handedly saved Protestant scholasticism from being regarded as a dark age in church history. He is the focus of this essay, and I wish to give an outline of his work, not as a painter (which is quite impressive in its own right), but as a church historian.

Pedigree: From Oberman to Steinmetz to Muller

Understanding Muller’s background is essential for understanding his work as a historian. As an undergraduate in history at The City University of New York, Muller sat at the feet of historians who, although coming from various theological (or even non-theological) and ethnic backgrounds, were interested in the texts – the primary texts – of their period of study. Training to be a minister, Muller then earned his M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary. His final stop was at Duke, to work on a PhD under David Steinmetz. This was especially formative. Steinmetz was a disciple of the world-renowned historian of late medieval theology and early modern Protestantism, Heiko Oberman.

Among the many features of Oberman’s work, he was absolutely dedicated to contextualizing the Reformation.[1] What were its causes? What were its continuities and discontinuities with the late medieval period? And what did Luther and others understand “reformation” to be? This led him, unlike many of the 19th and early 20th century historians who Hegelianized history – making the Reformation simply the product of historical progression –to carefully investigate the writings of the period. A thorough analysis was necessary, casting a wider net and focusing on the emerging and evolving ideas of the period.

David Steinmetz was one of Oberman’s best students. Following his teacher’s own interests, Steinmetz began his research looking at Luther’s theology; he later moved his attention to Calvin.[2] Steinmetz’s Calvin was not a theological maverick, running roughshod over traditional theology. Instead, shaped both by humanism and scholasticism, Calvin was a child of the early modern period, better read in that context rather than our own.

Just as Oberman relied on a wide-range of primary sources to make sense of the Reformation, Steinmetz insisted that the best way to understand Calvin was not, for example, to simply read Calvin’s Institutes and draw some conclusions about Calvin’s thought; rather, as he puts it: “the best and most productive way to study Calvin is to place him in the context of the theological and exegetical traditions that formed him and in the lively company of the friends and enemies from whom he learned and with whom he quarreled.”[3] This methodological impulse to first contextualize and then interpret historical documents has been the life-blood of Muller’s own scholarship. It is to this we now turn.

The Fuller Years

Muller often tells the story of one of his students at Fuller Seminary who asked him what he thought of Carl Henry as a theologian. Muller responded that he didn’t. This landed him in some hot water with the administration, but it highlights an important aspect of Muller’s view of historical theology. The 20th century was not, in his judgement, an especially fruitful period for orthodox theology. Muller often quipped that Karl Barth may have been the best theologian of the 20th century, but that isn’t saying very much!

Since his time at Fuller, Muller’s interest has always been in early modern theology and philosophy, not least because the intellectual climate of these periods was rich and learned, producing some of the greatest minds Europe has ever seen. In fact, it seems more than coincidental that the Renaissance, with its emphasis on returning to the sources (ad fontes) and text criticism is not too dissimilar from Muller’s own historical methodology as he imbibed it from Oberman and Steinmetz.

After a brief, but fruitful, time as a minister of the gospel, Muller took a position at Fuller Seminary teaching history and theology. Expanding on his research on predestination and Christology in 16th century Reformed theology, which was the subject of his doctoral thesis at Duke, Muller published his first significant book Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology From Calvin to Perkins.[4]

If Barth’s commentary on Romans was like a bomb on the playground of theologians, Muller’s Christ and the Decree had a similar effect upon the studies of Calvin and early modern scholasticism. It was iconoclastic, controversial, and damning of a large swath of previous studies. Muller’s complaints with prior Calvinian scholarship were both interpretive and methodological. It was in this work, for example, where Muller attacked the famous Calvin versus the Calvinist thesis. In brief, this thesis contrasted John Calvin and his supposed Christocentric theology with Theodore Beza, Calvin’s successor at Geneva, and his predestination-centered theology. Muller, instead, by a careful comparison of Calvin and Beza’s doctrine of predestination, concluded that their theologies were substantially consistent.

Muller also called into question the notion that the theology of the Reformers and Post-Reformation Reformed had a “central dogma” or an “inner principle” by which all of their theology (i.e., all the other theological loci) could be logically deduced. Popularly, behind this central dogma thesis was the belief that the Reformed were obsessed with God’s sovereignty and predestination and, therefore, all of their theology was tinged with that inscrutable decree. Instead, Muller downplayed the role the doctrine of predestination played within the theology of both Calvin and Beza and suggested that it, like the other theological loci, was just one aspect of their theology and they never treated the predestination as a first principle for all other doctrines.

During his time at Fuller, Muller also published the first edition of his Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.[5] The publication was somewhat accidental as Muller had been keeping an ongoing list of the various scholastic terms for his own use; but when Baker Publishing found out, they wanted to publish it. The result of this happy coincidence was a student handbook on the language of scholasticism found among the Reformed and Lutheran scholastics of the 16th and 17th century.

The first installment of Muller’s magnum opus, which Muller had begun to plan at the end of his time at Duke, saw the light during his Fuller tenure. In 1987, Muller published the first of a projected three volume overview of Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (hereafter PRRD), concentrating on the prolegomenal (i.e., foundational) level of dogmatics: the source of theology (principium cognoscendi) and its object (principium essendi), the Reformed orthodox doctrine of Scripture and doctrine of God, respectively.[6]

In PRRD, Muller built upon some of his earlier research on early modern Reformed scholasticism. One of the pillars of the Calvin versus the Calvinist thesis is that Reformed scholasticism was a departure from the humanistic and non-rationalistic theology of Calvin. Muller, however, argued that both scholasticism and humanism are not to be treated as philosophical systems, containing dogmatic components at odds with each other, but rather as methods of inquiry and systemization.

More simply, scholasticism was the inevitable outgrowth of what one would expect to happen when magisterial Protestantism infiltrated the academy. Eventually they needed to draw up confessions of faith and write systems of theology suitable to be taught in universities. One can hear the various criticisms of older scholarship in Muller’s definition of scholasticism:

[It is] the technical and logical approach to theology as a discipline characteristic of theological system from the late twelfth through the seventeenth century. Since scholasticism is primarily a method or approach to academic disciplines it is not necessarily allied to any particular philosophical perspective nor does it represent a systematic attachment to or concentration upon any particular doctrine or concept as a key to theological system.[7]

In other words, scholasticism is not necessarily Aristotelian or rationalistic as the Calvin versus the Calvinists would have it.

Another important contribution by Muller’s PRRD has to do with a timeline for Reformed orthodoxy. Muller suggests that Reformed orthodoxy began somewhere around 1560 with the composition of many of its major confessional documents (e.g., The Heidelberg Catechism, The Belgic Confession, The 39 Articles). This period of early orthodoxy witnessed the internationalization of Reformed theology, including the first international synod – The Synod of Dort – and concluded around the time of the Westminster Assembly, circa 1640, which marks the beginning of what Muller calls high orthodoxy. The high orthodox period is marked by the great scholastic thinkers of the period, such as Gisbertus Voetius and Francis Turretin. Finally, around 1700 with the abrogation of the Helvetic Formula Consensus in 1706), the late orthodox period begins. This period is shaped by a burgeoning rationalism and the dissolvement of classic Reformed orthodoxy.

At the tail-end of Muller’s time at Fuller, he published a book on Jacob Arminius entitled God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius.[8] This work, perhaps the least well-known of Muller’s works, displays all the marks of Muller’s historical methodology. Instead of looking at what every other scholar focusses upon in Arminius’ theology, viz., his doctrine of grace and soteriology, Muller situates Arminius’ theology within its wider theological setting as well as amongst the various theologians who shaped Arminius’ own thinking, including the medieval and early modern scholastics.

The result of this method is a portrait of Arminius who is a lot less novel or innovative and, instead, of a theologian steeped within various theological trajectories, often those in continuity with the Reformed tradition, set well in advance of his time. Of course, this makes the question of Arminius’ relationship to the Reformed tradition more difficult to access. And Muller admits of this tension: “Arminius certainly shared many sources and attitudes with his Reformed contemporaries—and he was trained primarily by Reformed theologians in Reformed universities […] Arminius’ system, however, can only be interpreted as a full-scale alternative to Reformed theology.”[9]

The Calvin Seminary Years

In 1992, Muller took a teaching position at Calvin Seminary, where he would work until his retirement in 2015. Muller collaborated with a long-time colleague of his from Fuller Seminary, James Bradley, to publish a book which would introduce students to the discipline or science of church history: Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods.[10]

This work, intended for first-year PhD students, would serve the brand-new PhD program at Calvin Seminary. In the early 2000’s, Muller published two volumes of collected essays which represent his two main areas of historical study. The first, The Unaccommodated Calvin, was aimed at those studies of Calvin which accommodated Calvin to modern theological agendas (especially Barthian).[11] By a careful and thorough reading of Calvin in his sixteenth-century philosophical, theological, and political context, Muller attempts to give a more well-rounded Calvin who was not averse to scholasticism as earlier scholarship wished to paint him.[12]

The second collection of essays, After Calvin, looks beyond Calvin into the wider and deeper Reformed tradition after him.[13] This latter work, a nice companion to his PRRD, is Muller’s sharpest criticism of the Calvin versus the Calvinist thesis. Muller especially complained about its concentration on individuals such as Calvin and Beza instead of the plethora of early Reformed confessions as normative for later developments of the Reformed tradition.

Muller’s most important work in this period was his revision of PRRD, which ended up turning into four large volumes.[14] This revision, culminating in over 2100 pages, was not just a simple expansion on the previous edition. This newest edition contained the promised third volume on the doctrine of God, but was split into two volumes, with the first (volume three) covering the unity of God and the second (volume four) covering the Trinity.

Moreover, this updated PRRD marked a slight, but noteworthy, shift in Muller’s understanding of the post-reformation period. Muller explains this shift in the preface to the second edition of the first volume on prolegomena:

[O]riginally […] the thesis of the work had elements of a dogmatic counter to the “central dogma” theory couched to a high degree in negative terms—what Protestant scholasticism was not. In the course of what became not years, but decades, of research and writing, what developed is a less dogmatic, more methodological, contextual set of theses that attempt increasingly to come to terms with a broad description of what Reformed orthodoxy in fact was.[15]

In other words, while Muller’s project had at first a polemical aim, in the second edition we find a more positive aim as Muller traces the various dogmatic themes (Prolegomena, Scripture, and God) as they are received from the medieval period, modified by humanistic studies and the Reformation, and were codified in the scholastic period. The last chapter of volume four provides a brief overview of Muller’s findings.

Another important, though oft-overlooked change from the first PRRD is indicated in the second edition’s preface to the second volume. Muller says that one of the sub-themes of his project is “the placement of the Salmurian theology within the boundaries of confessional orthodoxy.”[16] By Salmurian theology Muller has in mind the 17th century French Reformed Academy in Saumur, France which was not only the most popular French academy in the 17th century, but also produced theologians who expressed quite controversial ideas. More will be said about the importance of this decision in Muller’s consideration of Reformed orthodoxy, but this addition marks a significant emphasis of Muller’s later work – viz., the broadness of the Reformed tradition.

Expanding the scope of what oft passes for the Reformed tradition is a central focus of Muller’s 2012 Calvin and the Reformed Tradition.[17] As the title implies, this set of essays explores the relationship of the Reformed tradition to Calvin. Perhaps most suggestive of this relationship – or, at least, Muller’s polemic against the standard narrative – is Muller’s essay “Was Calvin a Calvinist?”

To the question, Muller gives a resounding no. The Reformed tradition never saw Calvin as the fountainhead of its pursuit of orthodoxy, and often what passes as “Calvinism,” such as certain expositions of so-called TULIP, is quite substantially a modification of Calvin’s own views. One area of theological development amongst the Reformed which occurred largely after Calvin’s death was on the question of the extent of Christ’s satisfaction: For whom did Christ die? Muller spends a few chapters showing that the Reformed tradition, especially after Calvin, did not answer this question univocally. Of course, there was broad agreement confessionally (cf. the Canons of Dort, II), but within these confessional boundaries, quite the diversity.

During his time as a professor at Calvin, Muller oversaw many dissertations taking up his call to investigate in more detail the various philosophical and theological ideas found among the Reformed orthodox. Muller wrote in 2002: “I am more aware than ever of the need for the study of individual thinkers, of the varieties of doctrinal formulation among the Reformed orthodox, and of the issues debated between the Reformed orthodox and their various opponents.”[18]

The PhD program at Calvin was designed to be one small step in fulfilling that need. On the philosophical side of things, Muller oversaw the work of Nathan Jacobs, whose work on Leibnitz demonstrates not only careful philosophical analysis, but an unusual awareness of Leibnitz’s background in Reformed scholasticism.[19] Muller has also overseen some brilliant historical-theological studies including Carol Williams’ study on the pactum salutis (i.e., the covenant of redemption) and Jay Collier’s recently published dissertation by Oxford University Press on the debate over the doctrine of perseverance of the saints in post-Reformation England.[20]

Nearing retirement, Muller began to investigate the doctrine of the human will in Reformed orthodoxy, long overdue for study and requiring both philosophical and theological skill. The result of this study was his monograph, Divine Will and Human Choice, nicely summarized by Derek Rishmawy.[21] As he did in PRRD, Muller begins with the medieval period, attending to the views of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus especially, before examining the Reformed and Post-Reformation Reformed orthodox.

Perhaps the greatest fruit of Muller’s labors in encouraging further study of post-Reformation Reformed orthodoxy is his influence on the development and growth of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research. In 2008, a group of Muller’s students, Todd Rester, Jordan Ballor, David Systmsa, Albert Gootjes, et al., began working on what would become known as the Post-Reformation Digital Library (or PRDL). This website, which to date (12/24/2018) contains digital links to nearly 130,000 primary and secondary source texts related to the early modern period, has taken advantage of the digitalization of older manuscripts across the world during the past twenty years. Consider the fact that at any single moment, at your computer with the help of PRDL, you have access to nearly every important work from the period. With greater access to these sources, though, comes greater responsibility!

In the rest of this introduction to Muller’s work, I want to give some more attention to what I perceive to be the most important takeaways from his research.

Confessional Documents and Orthodoxy

In 1969, Brian Armstrong published Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy.[22] Muller often said that it was one of the only books which made a mistake in its very title. Although this might sound petty, it was an important observation. Amyraut (or Amyraldianism) was never found guilty of heresy by a church court. In fact, his theology, on multiple occasions, was deemed within the bounds of orthodoxy. What, then, defines the Reformed tradition or what gives the Reformed tradition its boundaries? As we have seen, the wrong answer is John Calvin or any other single theologian.

However, that leaves many other options available. Perhaps it is whatever the majority of Reformed theologians have taught; or maybe some well-known confessional document, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith. None of these options are viable. Why should such a provincial confessional document like the Westminster Confession of Faith serve as the defining standard of Reformed orthodoxy when it never even came to serve that purpose in England! Moreover, why should the dogmatic conclusions of a majority of Reformed theologians become the standard for the whole tradition?

In a 2008 essay, “Arminius and the Reformed Tradition,” Muller attempts an answer to this question vis-à-vis Arminius’ relationship to the Reformed tradition.[23] Arminius, like Amyraut, was never condemned as a heretic nor was his teaching formally judged as outside the Dutch Reformed confessions before his death in 1609. As Muller puts it: “Arminius […] remains Reformed in the ecclesial sense.”[24] However, that’s not the end of the story. Arminius, as Muller shows, clearly professed opinions which landed outside of the Dutch Confessions of the period. Indeed, Arminius’ doctrine of predestination was not at all consistent with the teaching of the other non-Dutch Reformed confessional documents of the period.

One need not appeal to the later Synod of Dort (1618–1619), which would formally condemn Arminius teaching as heterodox, to arrive at the conclusion that “[f]undamental points in Arminius’s theology, virtually from the moment that he began to utter it, were not Reformed. His views on the exegesis of Romans and on such topics as human nature, grace, and election were inimical to the theology of the Reformed confessions—and not merely inimical to a Calvinian or, indeed, a Bezan interpretation of the documents, but also to a Bullingerian understanding.”[25] In other words, the Reformed confessions of the period – during Arminius’ own lifetime – prove his theology to stand outside of Reformed orthodoxy.

However, this same approach to Reformed confessions, especially when looked at with a wider, pan-geographical perspective, can provide a lot of room for disagreement within Reformed orthodox boundaries. Within the boundaries of Reformed orthodoxy, there is quite a lot of diversity to be found—the subject of Muller’s 2011 article, “The Diversity of the Reformed Tradition.”[26] In this essay Muller attempts to categorize the various degrees of diversity amongst the Reformed in the early modern period in order to:

highlight not only the diversity of Reformed theology in the era of orthodoxy but also the diversity of the debates as they played out across a spectrum from major encounters requiring confessional statement and, indeed, condemnation or disapproval, to often bitter arguments of considerably lesser weight that addressed issues of preference in theological formulation without directly broaching questions of confessionality or leading to new confessional formulae.[27]

Muller explains that not all the debates of the period rose to the level of needing confessional condemnation as Arminius’ theology did. Many other debates, such as those over ecclesiology, hypothetical universalism, and the imputation of Christ’s active obedience, while certainly causing a lot of concern amongst the Reformed churches, never actually went beyond the bounds of confessional orthodoxy.

One takeaway from Muller’s research into the diversity of the Reformed tradition is that is makes room for disagreement, without needing to make “my orthodoxy” Reformed orthodoxy. Too often, we are tempted to think of our own interpretation of Reformed theology as the Reformed position. This is not only unhealthy for our churches, but it fails to consider that the confessions themselves were “very carefully worded either to discourage certain positions without overtly condemning them or to allow a significant breadth of theological expression within and under the confessional formulae.”[28] Recognizing this does not make one a theological indifferentist; but it does demand irenicism. Charles Hodge, who knew both heterodoxy and Reformed orthodoxy well, made this observation of Reformed diversity in the 19th century. It is worth quoting at length:

Our ministers and elders are required to adopt the Confession of Faith as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures. No doctrine, therefore, consistent with the integrity of that system is the proper ground of discipline. It is not enough that a doctrine be erroneous, or that it be dangerous in its tendency; if it be not subversive of one or more of the constituent elements of the Reformed faith, it is not incompatible with the honest adoption of our Confession. It cannot be denied that ever since the Reformation, more or less diversity in the statement and explanation of the doctrines of Calvinism has prevailed in the Reformed Churches. It is equally notorious that for fifty or sixty years such diversities have existed and been tolerated in our own church; nay, that they still exist, and are avowed by Old-school men. If a man holds that all mankind, since the fall of Adam, and in consequence of his sin, are born in a state of condemnation and sin, whether he accounts for that fact on the ground of immediate or mediate imputation, or on the realistic theory, he was regarded as within the integrity of the system. In like manner, if he admitted the sinner’s inability, it was not considered as a proper ground of discipline that he regarded that inability as moral, instead of natural as well as moral. If he taught that the work of Christ was a real satisfaction to the justice of God, it was not made a breaking point, whether he said it was designed exclusively for the elect, or for all mankind [….] We do not say that the diversities above referred to are unimportant. We regard many of them as of great importance. All we say is, that they have existed, and been tolerated in the purest Calvinistic churches, our own among the rest.[29]

Cribbing the title of this website, mere Reformed orthodoxy is much broader than popular expositions of Reformed theology often let on.

Other Methodological Concerns

For those who were his students, Muller’s greatest influence has most-likely been methodological—for many years Muller taught a research methodology course, required for PhD students. Muller tells the story of how, when he was younger, he decided to read through a multi-volume history of the world. When he got to the part on ancient oriental history, he was enamored at its cogency and its unifying picture; it just made sense.

Yet, when he got to chapters touching on subjects he knew more about, such as English history, he realized that the author didn’t have a clue about what he was talking about. From that moment on, it dawned on him: the only reason he enjoyed and found the history of Ancient China section compelling was because he didn’t know anything about that period!

Muller is not overly impressed by historical surveys. He thinks most are too ambitious and rely too heavily on secondary and tertiary literature. Just scan the type of sources used by Will Durant in his Story of Civilization or note the very disappointing comment by Shelby Foote, the famous Civil War historian who admitted that in the writing of his three-volume history of The Civil War, “I did not go to original material [….] The Civil War is so widely written about that you don’t need to go back to the original documents; they’ve all been gone over.”

Muller would often quip to his students not to let secondary or tertiary literature fill in the gaps of one’s research. Muller insisted that his student’s advance their argument or studies not by way of secondary literature but by interaction with the primary sources.

Another methodological complaint of Muller’s was what he and other historians have called whiggish history (getting its name from Herbert Butterfield’s famous essay, The Whig Interpretation of History).[30] Muller has been especially weary of historical studies that bring with them strong biases attempting to employ a historical event or person for some contemporary or modern interest.[31] The result of such whiggism is that history becomes little more than a story between the good guys and bad guys, where the good guys often end up looking eerily similar to the historian’s own particular values and beliefs.

To be sure, Muller admits that it is our values and interests which incentivize our research, but the job of the historian is not to impose those values or interests upon another period, but, rather, to explain the values and interests of whatever period is under examination. The job of a historian is to read a by-gone age on its own terms. Muller, in his response to John Frame’s biblicism, sums up his own approach to history well:

I would contend that historians can only make truth claims about the world that they attempt to reconstruct in their investigations. Historical investigation attempts to reconstruct the past from remaining traces of events. What a historian cannot do, without the importation of non-historical criteria to his work, is assess the truth or falsity of a theological or philosophical point or the rectitude of an ethical act. That is done on the basis of theological, philosophical, or ethical criteria applied by the historian or by someone else to the results of an investigation.[32]

Another unfortunate by-product of whiggish history is its propensity to focus on the “great thinkers” of a period. By adopting this approach, such studies lose “track of the interrelationships of ideas, and indeed, of the host of ‘lesser’ minds whose work may have been far more important to their contemporaries than the ‘great thinkers’ identified by later generations.”[33] How is it that the likes of Gisbertus Voetius, John Davenant, Franciscus Junius, who fifty years ago were hardly known and certainly not read apart from a select few in the academy, are now household Reformed orthodox names? Because scholars of early modern Reformed theology, following the methodological paths paved by Oberman, Steinmetz, and Muller, have taught us that even though these theologians are no longer read by modern theologians, nevertheless, in their own time, they were some of the major shapers of Reformed orthodoxy. And if you want to know something about Reformed orthodoxy, you must acquaint yourself with these names, regardless of the decision of publishers.

Conclusion

Muller’s dogged commitment to ad fontes has been infectious. Since the publication of Muller’s second edition of his PRRD, many have taken up his call to study the various doctrines and persons of the early modern period. There has been a steady increase in the interest in early modern scholasticism among both academics and popular writers. This has led scholars to the rediscovery of a whole host of topics, once relegated to the dustbins of history, such as the role of classic peripatetic philosophy in the service of theological doctrine, the function of natural law in moral theology, and other areas of continuity between Reformed orthodox theology and medieval scholasticism.

This ressourcement of Reformed orthodox theology has also created further avenues of inquiry. For example, recognizing that Reformed theology in the early modern period liberally sourced its terminology and methods from Roman Catholic and Lutheran theology, has spurred on evangelicals to expand their horizon beyond their own tradition. Given this intellectual interplay between various traditions in the early modern period, in order to fully contextualize the Reformed orthodox, one will inevitably need to master sources beyond that tradition.

A notable irony has resulted from Muller’s popularity in evangelical circles. Muller’s conclusions on any given subject have been granted almost gospel-like status. Such a sentiment, perhaps unknowingly embraced, is decisively anti-Muller. His theses are only as strong as the evidence he garners. If we agree with Muller, it should be because of the sources. Only then, I’d suggest, can you truly appreciate (and perhaps even disagree with) Muller’s work over the past fifty years.

  1. Among the most noteworthy of Oberman’s works are: Luther: Man between God and the Devil (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000); Forerunners of the Reformation: The Shape of Late Medieval Thought (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1966); The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992).
  2. Steinmetz’s most significant works include: The collection of essays entitled, Taking the Long View: Christian Theology in Historical Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Reformers in the Wings: From Geiler von Kaysersberg to Theodore Beza, 2d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Calvin in Context, 2d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Luther in Context, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002).
  3. Calvin in Context, 278.
  4. Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology From Calvin to Perkins (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008). This was a revision of his dissertation: “Predestination and Christology in Sixteenth Century Reformed Theology” (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1976).
  5. Cf. Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017).
  6. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 2 vols (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987–1993).
  7. PRRD, (1987) 1:18.
  8. God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991).
  9. God, Creation, and Providence, 281.
  10. Cf. Church History: An Introduction to Research Methods and Resources, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016).
  11. The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  12. Cf. “Scholasticism, Reformation, Orthodoxy, and the Persistence of Christian Aristotelianism,” Trinity Journal 19NS (1998): 81–96.
  13. After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  14. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725. 2d ed., 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003).
  15. PRRD, I:16.
  16. PRRD, II:15.
  17. Calvin and the Reformed Tradition: On the Work of Christ and the Order of Salvation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012).
  18. PRRD, III:15.
  19. “In Defense of Leibniz’s Theodicy” (Ph.D. diss., Calvin Theological Seminary, 2012). Note also his and Chris Firestone’s In Defense of Kant’s Religion (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008).
  20. Williams, “The Decree of Redemption is in Effect a Covenant: David Dickson and the Covenant of Redemption” (Ph.D. diss., Calvin Theological Seminary, 2005); Collier, Debating Perseverance: The Augustinian Heritage in Post-Reformation England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
  21. Divine Will and Human Choice: Freedom, Contingency, and Necessity in Early Modern Reformed Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017).
  22. Brian G. Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969).
  23. “Arminius and the Reformed Tradition,” Westminster Theological Journal 70.1 (2008): 19–48.
  24. “Arminius and the Reformed Tradition,” 40.
  25. “Arminius and the Reformed Tradition,” 46–47.
  26. “Diversity in the Reformed Tradition: A Historiographical Introduction,” in Drawn into Controversie: Reformed Theological Diversity and Debates Within Seventeenth-Century British Puritanism, eds. Mark Jones and Michael A. Haykin (Oakville, CT: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011), 11–30.
  27. “Diversity in the Reformed Tradition: A Historiographical Introduction,” in Drawn into Controversie, 17.
  28. “Diversity in the Reformed Tradition: A Historiographical Introduction,” in Drawn into Controversie, 29.
  29. “Retrospect of the History of The Princeton Review,” The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review: Index Volume from 1825 to 1868 (Philadelphia: Peter Walker, 1871), 1–39, 23
  30. Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (London: George Bell, 1931).
  31. On the Muller’s anti-whiggish historiography sentiments, see his “Reflections on Persistent Whiggism and Its Antidotes in the Study of Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Intellectual History,” in Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion, eds. Alister Chapman, John Coffey, and Brad S. Gregory, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 134–153.
  32. Muller, “Historiography in the Service of Theology and Worship: Toward Dialogue with John Frame,” Westminster Theological Journal 59 (1997): 301–310, 306.
  33. Church History: An Introduction to Research Methods and Resources, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 28.

Michael Lynch is a PhD candidate at Calvin Theological Seminary and teaches Latin and Greek at Tall Oaks Classical School in Delaware.

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  • Ian

    I find PRRD really useful and appreciate the careful historical work it and other Muller texts exemplify, but the attitude that superciliously sneers “Karl Barth is among the best of twentieth century theologians isn’t saying much” is unimaginative and haughty.