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WHEATON COLLEGE GRADUATE SCHOOL

Distinction without Separation: The Milieu of John Calvins Doctrine of Union with Christ and the Duplex Gratia of Justification and Sanctification

A Thesis Submitted To The Faculty Of The Graduate School In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Master Of Arts

Department of Bible and Theology

by Gretchen N. Ellis Wheaton, Illinois March, 2009

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Distinction without Separation: The Milieu of John Calvins Doctrine of Union with Christ and the Duplex Gratia of Justification and Sanctification

by Gretchen N. Ellis

Approved:

____________________________________ Professor David E. Lauber, First Reader

______________________ Date

____________________________________ Professor Jennifer P. McNutt, Second Reader

______________________ Date

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DisclaimerThe views expressed in this thesis are those of the student and do not necessarily express the views of the Wheaton College Graduate School.

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WHEATON COLLEGEWheaton, IllinoisMarch, 2009

Distinction without Separation: The Milieu of John Calvins Doctrine of Union with Christ and the Duplex Gratia of Justification and SanctificationWheaton College Department of Bible and Theology Master of Arts Degree

Permission is herewith granted to Wheaton College to make copies of the above title, at its discretion, upon the request of individuals or institutions and at their expense.

________________________________ Gretchen N. Ellis Extensive quotation or further reproduction of this material by persons or agencies other than Wheaton College may not be made without the expressed permission of the writer.

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To Robert Lee Jones, my loving father. Your deep love of the Word, daily evidenced, inspired me to study theology so that I might follow in your footsteps. I love you so much. More importantly, I love God more because of your love for Him and for me. Thank you.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my deep and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has made this work possible. First and foremost, this work has only been possible because of my Lord and my Redeemer. Without His work of redemption, this paper would not exist. I am highly indebted to my readersDr. Jennifer McNutt and Dr. David Lauberfor their continued exhortation, guidance and constructive criticism throughout this process. I am especially grateful to Dr. McNutt for challenging me to pursue more in-depth historical research, without which this thesis would have turned out very differently. I am also indebted to the research pursued by my fellow colleague, Clement Wen. I am grateful for the conversations, encouragement and free exchange of resources we pursued together. On a personal level, I must thank my husband Ryan, who sat through many cranky, sleep-deprived evenings with me plugging away at my work, yet somehow, he managed to love me through them and graciously fetch me tea; I am forever thankful for his support and love. I am also grateful for the love, care and encouragement from both my parentsRobert and Kate Jonesas I pursued my graduate work. It is to my father that I dedicate the present work, with love and gratitude for his role in my life. Finally, as this year marks the 500th anniversary of his birth, I must express my deep gratitude for the man himself, John Calvin. No student of the Reformation could hope for a more deeply pious, more intellectually rigorous or more humble theologian from whom to learn the wonder of the grace found from God, in Christ through the Holy Spirit. His reverence for the paternal care and mercy of God have deepened my own faith and encouraged me to pursue true godliness in response to the grace and mercy of our loving Father.

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ABSTRACT Recent literature has cited the importance of union with Christ in Calvins theology, however, little scholarly research is devoted to discovering the historical and theological factors contributing to the growth and integrity of this doctrine within Calvins theology, especially the relationship of this doctrine to Calvins doctrine of the duplex gratia (double grace) of salvation in justification and sanctification. This thesis will investigate John Calvins development and defense of his doctrine of union with Christ against the backdrop of the antinomian question raised by Luthers formulation of justification and good works. The first chapter addresses the historical context of the Lutheran-Catholic controversy over the place of good works in salvation and ensuing impasse with a view to understanding the theological context in which Calvin found himself. Calvins perception of the social context in Geneva preceding his exile in Strasbourg and the formative work accomplisheda commentary on Romans and revision of the Institutesprovide the immediate backdrop for his creative formulation of the duplex gratia grounded in union with Christ. Based on the importance Calvin accorded to Paul, especially the epistle to the Romans, chapter two traces Calvins development of union with Christ from the 1536 Institutes and the Strasbourg exile through his later commentaries to the final edition of the Institutes in 1559 as expansions on an initial Pauline theme. Finally, the integrity of Calvins doctrine of union with Christ and the success with which it responded to the Lutheran impasse is addressed through an investigation of three influential controversies Calvin engaged in: his debate with Pighius over free will, the Eucharistic controversies with Westphal and his response to Osiander in his 1559 Institutes. From the perspective of Calvins historical and theological environment early in his career, his doctrine union with Christ takes on a new shape as the doctrine

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necessary for allowing the distinction without separation of justification and sanctification in salvation.

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CONTENTS ABSTRACT........................................................................................................................................... vii TABLE OF CONTENTS .................................................................................................................. ix LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS............................................................................................................ xi CHAPTER ONE: CONTEXTUAL CONCERNS: LUTHER, GENEVA AND ROMANS ................................ Introduction............................................................................................................................. Luther and Antinomianism ................................................................................................. Justification and Good Works in Luthers Early Theology ................................ Catholic Accusation and Response......................................................................... 1 1 2 3 7

Melanchthons Reformulations and Continuing Debate..................................... 12 Calvin and Geneva.................................................................................................................. 15 The Early Years ......................................................................................................... 16 Calvin in Geneva: 1536-1538................................................................................... 18 Romans..................................................................................................................................... 26 Calvins Program: Institutes and Commentaries..................................................... 27 A Pauline Order for the Institutes............................................................................. 31 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 35 CHAPTER TWO: TIES THAT BIND: FORM AND DEVELOPMENT OF UNION WITH CHRIST IN CALVINS THEOLOGY................................................................................................................... 38 Introduction............................................................................................................................. 38 1536-1540: The Shaping of a Doctrine................................................................................ 40 Union with Christ in the 1536 Institutes.................................................................. 40 Union with Christ in the 1540 Commentary on Romans ................................... 45 ix

Union with Christ in the 1539 Institutes.................................................................. 50 1540-1556: Expansion of a Locus through Commentaries................................................ 53 1559: Summation and Final Form........................................................................................ 64 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 73 CHAPTER THREE SUCCESS OR FAILURE: THE INTEGRITY OF UNION WITH CHRIST WITHIN CALVINS THOUGHT ..................................................................................................................... 77 Introduction............................................................................................................................. 77 Calvin Against Pighius............................................................................................................ 78 Calvin Against Westphal ........................................................................................................ 85 Calvin Against Osiander ........................................................................................................ 96 Conclusion: An Evaluation of Calvins Doctrine of Union with Christ......................... 108

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