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Letter to the Editor: Response to the Last Editorial

Letter to the Editor Response to Last Edition’s Editorial Dear Editor, Thank you very much for your Christian charity and spirited editorial, Friday 8th October 2021, ( E.C. No.8090).  Also thanks are due to you for reprinting so much excellent reformed evangelical...

Letter to the Editor: The Murder of Sir David Amess

Murder of Sir David Amess Dear Editor, I grieve at the loss of a friend and former Party colleague Sir David Amess, MP who was murdered in an increasingly dangerous world. In the 70s I worked with David in the Young Conservatives before he became an MP and he was...

Reformation Sunday Advert

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:                        15 October 2021. My ‘Advert’ titled “Reformation Sunday 31 October” said, “The Church of England should still celebrate this 500th year since Martin Luther declared at the ‘Diet of Worms’ in 1521, “Here I stand. God help...

Leicester Diocese Illogical

Letter to the Editor Leicester Diocese Illogical   Sir, Leicester Diocese’s decision on 9 October to replace its traditional Parishes with ‘Minsters' is both spiritually and financially illogical.  The Church of England’s own growth report ‘From Anecdote to...

Barnabas Fund Reports: Turkey Escalates Airstrikes Against Christians in Syria & Iraq

Barnabas Fund Reports Turkey Escalating Airstrikes Against Christians and other Minorities in Syria and Iraq Turkey has escalated a supposedly anti-terrorist military campaign in Syria and Iraq which appears to be targeting Christians and other minorities. A spate of...

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Gospel-Driven Anglicanism Part 4

Should I Stay or Should I Go? By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles Part 4 Gedaliah is appointed governor and we read that Jeremiah purposely chooses to live amongst “those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile in Babylon” (40:7). Things have taken a turn...

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley Saturday, 16 October marked the 466th anniversary of the martyrdoms of Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.   They were burned at the stake after being found guilty of heresy due to their refusal to...

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture: John Yates III to Speak

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture  Revd Dr John Yates III to Speak The annual Clive West Memorial Lecture will be held on Thursday, 11 November at 19:30 at St Nicholas’ Church, Lisburn Road in Belfast.  This year’s speaker is the Revd Dr John Yates III, Rector of Holy...

Book Review: Bleeding for Jesus

Bleeding for Jesus John Smyth and the cult of the Iwerne Camps Andrew Graystone Darton, Longman and Todd, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913657123, 250pp, £12.99) This book is the latest instalment of a long-running tragedy. It comes six years after the author was first made aware...

School Pupils Across the Country Memorise Passages from BCP for £1,000 Prize

School Pupils Across the Country  Memorise Book of Common Prayer Passages  £1,000 Prize for Winner By Tim Stanley Hundreds of school pupils across the country are busy this term studying prayers and readings from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in a bid to win a prize...

Sanlon’s Response to Turner’s Letter

Sanlon’s Response to Turner’s Letter

Dear Mr Turner,

Thank you for engaging with my article on Common Grace. You are correct that neither the 39 Articles nor Westminster Confession use the phrase. When the Westminster Divines met they were aware of the term – the Assembly minutes record discussion of it.  The point is worth noting as sometimes people mistakenly think the concept was invented by Kuyper.

The debate is whether you think common grace a useful term to summarise Biblical verses which show God gives gifts and shows kindnesses to unregenerate people. One may treat all that under the rubric of providence – but many reformed theologians have felt that ‘common grace’ orders the data elegantly.

Calvin discussed God’s gifts to the unregenerate in Book 2 – under the heading of ‘Knowledge of God the Redeemer.’ He was happy to use the word ‘grace’ to refer to God’s gifts to unbelievers: ‘so universal is this good that every man ought to recognise for himself in it the peculiar grace of God.’ (2.2.14)

No reformed divine who uses the term would intend for common and special grace to be confused. Berkhof wrote, ‘No amount of common grace can ever introduce the sinner into the new life in Christ.’ (p.439)

Like all theological terms, Common Grace can be misunderstood or disconnected from other doctrines. I believe it remains a helpful term but, of course, nobody is under compulsion to use it. The relevant doctrines can, as you suggest, be treated as aspects of providence.

In Christ,

Revd Dr. Peter Sanlon 

Tunbridge Wells

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