Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

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