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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

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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

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

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Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

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Birthday of Anglicanism in America

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Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

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

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

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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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