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John Calvin's American Legacy$
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Thomas Davis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.001.0001

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Whose Calvin, Which Calvinism? John Calvin and the Development of Twentieth-Century American Theology

Whose Calvin, Which Calvinism? John Calvin and the Development of Twentieth-Century American Theology

Chapter:
(p.165) 7 Whose Calvin, Which Calvinism? John Calvin and the Development of Twentieth-Century American Theology
Source:
John Calvin's American Legacy
Author(s):

Stephen D. Crocco

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.003.0007

In 1898, Abraham Kuyper delivered his Lectures on Calvinism at Princeton Theological Seminary. A few years later, Princeton’s B. B. Warfield pared back Kuyper’s Calvinism as a positive force in the broad realms of human culture by stressing Calvin’s usefulness for defending Protestant orthodoxy. Both Kuyper’s "neo-Calvinism" and Warfield’s "Westminster Confession" Calvinism found homes in American Protestantism. Later, H. Richard Niebuhr and Joseph Haroutunian claimed Calvin as a predecessor of a Protestant realism associated with neo-orthodoxy. In contrast, liberal theologian Wilhelm Pauck engaged orthodox Calvinists to portray Calvin as a key figure for an ecumenical Protestant theology that could resurrect a moribund liberal tradition. Later still, James M. Gustafson embraced Calvin as a precursor to his own post-Christian theocentric theology. This chapter charts these debates, exploring the extent to which Calvin’s writings shaped developments in American theology and to what extent his contributions have been defined by those developments.

Keywords:   John Calvin, Calvinism, American theology, Abraham Kuyper, B. B. Warfield, H. Richard Niebuhr, Joseph Haroutunian, Wilhelm Pauck, James M. Gustafson

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