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This is Francis Turretin's magnum opus, a massive work of Reformed scholasticism. Written originally in Latin with sentences frequently lasting nearly a half a page, Turretin's Institutes are at once familiar, profound, erudite, thorough and precise, detailed, comprehensive, historically significant, and truly Reformed, etc. Turretin organized his Institutes into 20 topics This is Francis Turretin's magnum opus, a massive work of Reformed scholasticism. Written originally in Latin with sentences frequently lasting nearly a half a page, Turretin's Institutes are at once familiar, profound, erudite, thorough and precise, detailed, comprehensive, historically significant, and truly Reformed, etc. Turretin organized his Institutes into 20 topics (loci) that range from "Prolegomena" (that is, very necessary introductory considerations) to "The Last Things." Each topic (locus) is organized by specific questions. The work is Elenctic (polemic or argumentitive), for a large chunk of this work is written against the Roman Catholics, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, Molinists and others. Translated by George Musgrave Giger Edited by James T. Dennison Jr. Volume 1: Topics 1-10 Topic I: Theology Topic II: The Holy Scriptures Topic III: The One and Triune God Topic IV: The Decrees of God in General and Predestination in Particular Topic V: Creation Topic VI: The Actual Providence of God Topic VII: Angels Topic VIII: The State of Man Before the Fall and the Covenant of Nature Topic IX: Sin in General and in Particular Topic X: The Free Will of Man in a State of Sin


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This is Francis Turretin's magnum opus, a massive work of Reformed scholasticism. Written originally in Latin with sentences frequently lasting nearly a half a page, Turretin's Institutes are at once familiar, profound, erudite, thorough and precise, detailed, comprehensive, historically significant, and truly Reformed, etc. Turretin organized his Institutes into 20 topics This is Francis Turretin's magnum opus, a massive work of Reformed scholasticism. Written originally in Latin with sentences frequently lasting nearly a half a page, Turretin's Institutes are at once familiar, profound, erudite, thorough and precise, detailed, comprehensive, historically significant, and truly Reformed, etc. Turretin organized his Institutes into 20 topics (loci) that range from "Prolegomena" (that is, very necessary introductory considerations) to "The Last Things." Each topic (locus) is organized by specific questions. The work is Elenctic (polemic or argumentitive), for a large chunk of this work is written against the Roman Catholics, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, Molinists and others. Translated by George Musgrave Giger Edited by James T. Dennison Jr. Volume 1: Topics 1-10 Topic I: Theology Topic II: The Holy Scriptures Topic III: The One and Triune God Topic IV: The Decrees of God in General and Predestination in Particular Topic V: Creation Topic VI: The Actual Providence of God Topic VII: Angels Topic VIII: The State of Man Before the Fall and the Covenant of Nature Topic IX: Sin in General and in Particular Topic X: The Free Will of Man in a State of Sin

30 review for Institutes of Elenctic Theology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Mikhaël

    Awesome. Distinctions, everywhere, and it’s great.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I have now finished my second reading of the first volume of Francis Turretin's Institutes. I had initially planned to read it more quickly (perhaps 100 pages per day), but Turretin is not that type of author. While he is not difficult to read, he tends to pack a lot of information into a very small space. Thus, you will miss a lot if you try to read him too quickly. Basically, you read Turretin's Institutes in the same way that you would eat an elephant - slowly and in small chunks. Generally s I have now finished my second reading of the first volume of Francis Turretin's Institutes. I had initially planned to read it more quickly (perhaps 100 pages per day), but Turretin is not that type of author. While he is not difficult to read, he tends to pack a lot of information into a very small space. Thus, you will miss a lot if you try to read him too quickly. Basically, you read Turretin's Institutes in the same way that you would eat an elephant - slowly and in small chunks. Generally speaking, 10-25 pages per day is what you should aim to read (and 25 is really pushing it). In terms of content, Turretin is the most judicious Reformed dogmatician that I have ever read. His view of the lapsarian question (infralapsarian) and a few other minor points will not be universally welcomed, but Turretin generally gives you a nuanced defence of Reformed orthodoxy on virtually every major theological topic. Every serious reader of Reformed theology should make an effort to read his Institutes at least once. After reading another systematic theology by a different author, I look forward to re-reading volume two.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Introduction Recent (that is, pre-1992 A.D.) Reformed theology can be sadly described as a generation arising “which knew not Turretin.” To paraphrase Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring: Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. Turretin’s categorical form of argumentation was one of those “things.” Turretin’s strength is in identifying precisely the issue in question. This allows him to accept and acknowledge points of agreement with his opponents,rather than simply seeing Introduction Recent (that is, pre-1992 A.D.) Reformed theology can be sadly described as a generation arising “which knew not Turretin.” To paraphrase Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring: Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. Turretin’s categorical form of argumentation was one of those “things.” Turretin’s strength is in identifying precisely the issue in question. This allows him to accept and acknowledge points of agreement with his opponents,rather than simply seeing everything as “Arminian.” Recent Reformed (and Arminian-Papist) polemics have all focused on a few issues: predestination, free will, assurance, the Canon, etc. Turretin understood that there were other issues, too: anthropology, middle knowledge, etc. which also need to be addressed. The English translation of Turretin fills a woeful lacuna. Principia While it might be anachronistic to label Turretin’s epistemology as “Common Sense Realism,” one can see similarities. Reason is not ultimate, but it is a reliable guide not only in matters of “nature” but also in “grace.” In using reason in theology, Turretin distinguishes between two extremes. Unlike the irrationalists (Anabaptists, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox), reason can function as a principia in theology. It is not the fundamental principia upon which all theology rests (that is the principium essendi); rather, it is an instrumental principle (I: 24). Turretin does ascribe a functional role to “natural reason.” Natural man, whatever that phrase means, can understand axiomatic truths (29-30). Reason is of particular instrumental use in terms of inference and middle premises. For example, Christ’s ubiquity denied in the following way: “Besides, while the theologian uses arguments drawn from reason, he does it rather as a philosopher rather than as a theologian. As to the ubiquity of the body of Christ, we reject this doctrine both philosophically and theologically, because it is absurd and contradicts the first principles of theology and philosophy.” In other words, the definition of a human nature is that it isn’t ubiquitously extended into space. The Lutheran (and EO) view of the communicatio extends it ubiquitously in space. Therefore, such view is wrong. Turretin explains:[T]he middle term [in the theological syllogism] is not taken from reason, but scripture…For example, I deny that the glorified body of Christ is everywhere, having taken from Scripture this mean, that it is a real body” (26-27) Canon and Scripture So did the Church create the canon? If so, doesn’t that mean the church has authority over the canon? Turretin meets this challenge head-on and notes, given what everyone accepts about principia, proves that the Protestant position is the only feasible one. If the Scriptures come primarily from God—as all must concede—then they bear God’s authority. If they bear God’s authority, then they get their primary authentication from God (85ff). That the church was instrumental in delivering aspects of a canon (I still dispute that the church gave a neat canon) no one denies. That is precisely the point: the church was instrumental, not original. Only the Protestant doctrine of magisterial and ministerial authority can make sense of this point. Decrees of God God’s Foreknowledge of Future Contingencies: Middle Knowledge: God’s foreknowledge about future contingent events whose truth depend not on God’s free decree (being anterior to this), but upon the liberty of the creature (which God certainly foresees). As Turretin clarifies, Whether besides the natural knowledge of God (which is only of things possible) there is in God a middle knowledge of men and angels where he knows what they may without a special decree preceding (I: 214). Turretin responds: things not true cannot be foreknown as true. Now, conditional future things are not true apart from the determination of the divine will; for example, the Sidonians would have repented if the powers had been supplied to them, for they would have been indifferently disposed in their nature to repend or not repent, those powers being given. ..No effect can be understood as future without the divine decree, so no future conditional can be knowable before the decree. Again, knowledge either makes the event certain or foresees it as certain… A thing may be contingent in two ways: • by depending on God as first cause (as all of creation is thus contingent, since God didn’t have to create) • by depending on prior second causes (which produce or not produce their effects). Turretin is speaking of these contingents. A future contingent implies both certainty of event and mode of production. As future it is certain, but as contingent in its mode of production. It has the former from the decree of the First Cause, the latter from the constitution of the second cause. The mode of production is clarified by the Westminster Confession of Faith V.2: It identifies God as the First Cause, corresponding with the first point made by Turretin, but notes that the First Cause orders the events to happen in three modes: freely, necessarily, or contingently. An event can be both infallibly certain yet contingent. Thus, all things take place by the necessity of consequence, not the necessity of the consequent. Turretin notes that man’s actions can be free because they are spontaneous and follow rational judgment, but necessary because of God’s decree (I: 211). Free Will (Turretin, I: 502). God does not compel rational creatures to act by a physical necessity, he only effects this–that they act both consistently with themselves and with their own natures (508). This necessity is one of consequence–it secures the action and result of a cause. It is necessary according to the eternal premotion of God, but it is spontaneous according to the mode of acting (509). The premotion does not take away the mode proper to the nature of things. For example, the harp player is the cause of music, but not of the dissonance plucked from the strings. Quoting Alvarez, “It does not follow that God is the cause of sin because he determines to the act; because the deformity follows the act, not as in the genus of nature, but as it is in the genus of morals and as it is caused by the free will (510). Relating the concourse of God and the free will of man 1. The concourse of providence and the human will is not of collateral and equal causes, but of unequal and subordinate (512). This follows on anyone’s gloss since God is by definition the First Cause. 2. God moves secondary causes according to their nature and mode. Thus, it is necessary according to the source (as coming from the First Cause), but free as to the mode. 3. Absolute liberty belongs to God; dependent liberty belongs to the creature. “The subject of free will is neither the intellect, nor the will, but both faculties conjointly” (I: 660). Here Turretin examines the Scholastic problem of the priority between intellect and will. Viewed in different lights either one can work. Practically speaking, people do not separate these two in their actings so we can speak of them together. Turretin gives his famous discussion concerning the “necessity of necessity.” Non-Reformed positions, while prating long about free will, rarely interact with the hard questions it raises. Only the Reformed position does justice to both necessity and liberty. “Choice” belongs to the intellect; … The will is determined by God with respect to decree but only in a concursive sense (God determines the actions but leaves the modes of acting free). We deny indifference of will but affirm rational spontaneity (665). Concourse and concurrence: When God and man’s will overlap. The question is how may we best explain man having liberty while being under the control of God’s providence? Turretin follows Aquinas: second causes are predetermined by God; When the free will moves itself, this does not exclude its being moved by another, from whom it receives the very power to move itself (ST, 1, Q. 83, Art. 1) 1. God gives second causes the strength and faculty to act 2. God keeps and sustains them in being and vigor. 3. He excites and applies second causes to acting 4. He determines them to acting 5. he rules them to accomplish the ends. Anthropology and Sin Original Sin: Those who deny original sin have to explain why death is prevalent even among infants and imbeciles. Romans says the wages of sin is death. If the curse of death is universal, it necessarily follows that the wages of sin is universal. Yet, how can they be held accountable for sin before the giving of the law (Romans 5:12-13)? Only something like the Covenant of Works can really answer this question. Yes, the curse of death is imputed to us (as our Eastern friends tell us). Yes, death is the enemy. But as Paul makes clear, how can there be death without the wages of sin? Rome and the Superadditum Rome, pace Bellarmine (“De Gratia prime hominis,” 5, 6 in Opera [1858], 4:23-29, quoted in Turretin, I:471), viewed in natural man a contest between flesh and spirit, and God’s superadded gift is like a “golden bridle” to reign in the flesh. By contrast, Turretin notes that if original righteousness were an added gift, then man’s nature would have been inherently lacking. Rome places concupiscence before the fall; Protestants place it after the fall. At this point Rome cannot escape the age-old stereotype that it views matter as “not quite bad.” If concupiscence is natural to man’s created state before the fall, then ultimately man’s problem isn’t sin but finitude. The inevitable conclusion is that God made man’s very matter one of disorder (472). Protestants do believe in concupiscence, though. We see it as an inclination to sin after the fall. Still, we reject a positive principal of sin in the human nature. This rejection, plain and simple, precludes any possibility of a so-called Manicheanism. Conclusion: If Reformed seminaries are not teaching through this book, then their students will not be prepared to face challenges from Rome and neo-Socinians.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Abraham

    This is a theological mic-drop. Turretin answers questions with utter thoroughness and cites all his sources, both allies and adversaries (so useful when you want to go further with the material! Many thanks to the editors who kept the citations and made them easy to read). But, beyond his solid scholastic methodology, lies a desire to show the beauty of Theology, and the ultimate beauty of its subject, the triune God of the Bible. This book is an immense tool for all amateurs of theology and a t This is a theological mic-drop. Turretin answers questions with utter thoroughness and cites all his sources, both allies and adversaries (so useful when you want to go further with the material! Many thanks to the editors who kept the citations and made them easy to read). But, beyond his solid scholastic methodology, lies a desire to show the beauty of Theology, and the ultimate beauty of its subject, the triune God of the Bible. This book is an immense tool for all amateurs of theology and a true blessing to all who wish to know God more. "For who has known God but not loved him, who has loved Him but not known him?" - William of St Thierry

  5. 4 out of 5

    Etienne OMNES

    La théologie systématique la plus précise, la plus complète et la plus subtile que je lirais jamais (probablement). C'est aussi un sommet de la théologie réformée: vous pouvez lire des théologies différentes, arrangées ou présentées différemment, mais meilleures et plus profondes que celle de Turretin, j'en doute fort. A noter cependant quelques passages bien techniques, qu'il vaut mieux lire bien lentement^^ J'espère que le volume 2 le sera un peu moins. La théologie systématique la plus précise, la plus complète et la plus subtile que je lirais jamais (probablement). C'est aussi un sommet de la théologie réformée: vous pouvez lire des théologies différentes, arrangées ou présentées différemment, mais meilleures et plus profondes que celle de Turretin, j'en doute fort. A noter cependant quelques passages bien techniques, qu'il vaut mieux lire bien lentement^^ J'espère que le volume 2 le sera un peu moins.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andy Dollahite

    Everyone needs more Franky T in their lives and reading calendars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Testmenow

    Sound doctrine, and devotional in application. Would hope there would be an ebook soon, for greater reach and advancement and defense of the gospel.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Barnet

    Turretin is great. Very clear and well argued throughout. Very impressed with the thorough interaction of theologies throughout church history.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lu Tsun

    Turretin may be better understood against the historical background of post-reformation history in Dutch Reformed community. Scholasticism was used as a method of articulating knowledge, but the thoughts were consistently Reformed. The Remonstrants (Arminian sect in Netherlands) were heavily interacted by Turretin. He is also known for a firm advocate of infralapsarianism.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Read slowly over a few years. His precision necessitates vocabulary that was above my head but it was worth the struggle. Looking forward to reading volume 2. I am NOT planning on recommending this as a systematics book to most folks at my church because of its density. I've heard this book described as "intellectual vanity," but I thought it was devotional, warm, and rewarded perseverance. Read slowly over a few years. His precision necessitates vocabulary that was above my head but it was worth the struggle. Looking forward to reading volume 2. I am NOT planning on recommending this as a systematics book to most folks at my church because of its density. I've heard this book described as "intellectual vanity," but I thought it was devotional, warm, and rewarded perseverance.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This was given to me by a friend of mine. "Elenctic" theology "aims at affirming and demonstrating the truth, in refutation of false doctrine" (dust jacket). Should be interesting once I get around to it. This was given to me by a friend of mine. "Elenctic" theology "aims at affirming and demonstrating the truth, in refutation of false doctrine" (dust jacket). Should be interesting once I get around to it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mad Russian the Traveller

    WOULD SOMEONE WITH LIBRARY PRIVILEGES PLEASE FIX THE NUMBER OF PAGES IN THE BOOK DATA??? The hardcover editon has 685 numbered pages.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ike Reeder

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Barth

  15. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Davenport

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wyatt Houtz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt Schvaneveldt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cory Kierkegaard

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Beatty

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mason Chase

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Albert

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Almodovar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Sheth

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erick Bohndorf

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