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Charles Simeon: evangelical or churchman? Simeon’s contribution to the baptismal controversy in the early nineteenth century

Becht, Barbara (1995) Charles Simeon: evangelical or churchman? Simeon’s contribution to the baptismal controversy in the early nineteenth century. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This paper attempts to trace the thought of an outstanding leader of the Anglican Evangelicals, Charles Simeon, concerning baptism. What makes Simeon's life and thought an interesting topic is the fact that his characteristic Evangelical manner is tempered by a strong allegiance to the Church of England and her creeds. Thus, the title of this book is justified: Could Simeon in actual fact reconcile his Evangelical beliefs with his reverence for the Church, a way of life thought by many contemporaries to be on the brink of hereticism with a clear confession to the Church? In order to ascertain the contribution of his thought, it is necessary to examine the Baptismal Controversy which raged at the time. As the Orthodox contended that the Evangelicals were basically Calvinistic, we especially need to take a closer look at the Calvinistic Controversy preceding the Controversy under discussion in order to ascertain the theological roots of the Evangelicals (Part A, chapter 1). A second chapter examines the Baptismal Controversy and important contributions of Orthodox and Evangelical proponents. Part B then sketches the life of Charles Simeon prior to analyzing Simeon's thought concerning baptism and regeneration in greater detail. It is found that Simeon belongs to the main group of Evangelicals. Like these, he propagates that regeneration may or may not be conveyed at baptism; further common points are the notion of "judgment of charity" (=charitable supposition) and of baptism as a change of state, a tide to blessings, the entrance into the covenant, an initiation rite into the Church, an appointed means of grace. Simeon however rejects both the Calvinistic and the Arminian doctrinal systems. A further point which distinguishes him is his absolute loyalty to the Church and her liturgy. Thus, Simeon unites both his Evangelical nature and his churchmanship in a unique manner.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Theology
Thesis Date:1995
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:49

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