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John Wyclif$
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Stephen Edmund Lahey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183313.001.0001

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PREDESTINATION AND THE CHURCH

PREDESTINATION AND THE CHURCH

Chapter:
(p.169) 6 PREDESTINATION AND THE CHURCH
Source:
John Wyclif
Author(s):

Stephen E. Lahey (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183313.003.0006

One of the most difficult elements of Wyclif’s thought is resolution of the tension between his deterministic understanding of the nature of the church and his call for ecclesiastical reform. Augustine theology has long been defined by the problem of predestination, and Bradwardine had famously attacked the “Pelagianism” of the Ockhamists in his strongly deterministic De Causa Dei. Wyclif’s thought is an attempt at balancing Bradwardine’s determinism by a carefully articulated modal account of necessity, allowing for a stronger degree of reciprocity between God’s necessary understanding of creation and human free will than Bradwardine had allowed. This opened Wyclif’s conception of the church as the unknowable body of the Elect to the possibility of reform. While his writings are filled with references to Antichrist, Wyclif followed Augustine in rejecting millennialism, arguing that Antichrist’s threat in the form of papalism and friars was ongoing, but ultimately able to be resolved.

Keywords:   Predestination, Necessity, Church, Apocalypticism, Free will, Pelagianism, antipapalism, antifraternalism

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