By Luigi Giussani
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Extra resources for American Protestant Theology: A Historical Sketch
This type of theological thought, which derives its name from Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609), professor at the University of Leiden in Holland, arose in reaction to Calvinist rigidity regarding the relationship of grace to freedom. Salvation cannot be set by God through a choice that redeems some and condemns others without taking into account human freedom: “[God] cannot will to do … that which He cannot do of right. For His will is restricted by justice,” Arminius wrote. In an analogous way, divine grace is not irresistible even to the elect, but conditioned on human willingness and initiative: only those who “are ready for the conflict, and desire His (Christ’s) help,”1 are to be saved by merciful divine operation.
Now on to American Protestant Theology: A Historical Sketch. Archibald J. indb 32 2013-07-31 14:02:03 Preface to the First Edition American Protestant theology has not received much attention among Italian scholars. Only very recently do Niebuhr and Tillich appear to represent that appeal guaranteed by a profound and constructive originality, a contribution that addresses the anxiety about perceived problems: we currently see, for example, the favour that the themes of the “death of God” and “secularization” and their principal literary expressions enjoy.
3 In reality, as previously noted, this danger crept in through the same conditionality of the Covenant between God and man that the “federal” theologians of New England understood as a truly binding contract between two parties, as Sibbes defines the “Covenant of Grace”: “It has pleased the great God to enter into a treaty and covenant of agreement with us his poor creatures, the articles of which agreement are here comprised. indb 18 2013-07-31 14:02:04 New England Theology 19 he doggedly opposed in theory: “My Brethren, This is the Way.