The introduction places the book in the context of recent scholarly views of the English Reformation, now generally regarded as long and sporadic and characterized by abrupt twists and turns of religious policy, during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I. In Elizabeth I’s reign a variety of means was employed in an effort to achieve religious stability and order, but the results were uneven. Foreign crises, especially the threat from Spain to topple Elizabeth and restore the country’s allegiance to the papacy, played an important part in encouraging the growth of English Protestantism. But probably not until the last two decades of Elizabeth’s reign did the English population become predominantly Protestant. William Perkins, a prominent and prolific Cambridge theologian, wrote theology for an academic and a popular audience, and was an influential teacher and preacher. He played an important part in the making of a Protestant England.
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