The Anglican Arminian Theological Anthropology of Henry Hammond (1605-1660)

This paper analyses the theological anthropology of a major representative of seventeenth-century Anglican Arminianism, Henry Hammond (1605-1660). Andrew Ollerton wrote, ‘At the centre of the hard fought custody battle for the Church of England was Henry Hammond. He was arguably the leading episcopal divine during the interregnum and would later be considered something of a patriarch for the Restoration church.’ This work investigates Hammond’s theology concerning depravity and grace over a period of roughly twenty-five years, which spans from before to after the interregnum. Until the restoration of the monarchy, Calvinism was the dominant voice within the soteriological discussion of the Church of England. The Laudian ascendancy, the civil wars, and the interregnum itself provided a tumultuous setting for soteriological discussion. Some tensions and development over such a time span are expected to arise in his theology. Perhaps surprisingly, however, he was very consistent in his overall thinking. The difficulty in analysing his theological anthropology arises when the theologian compares some of his isolated anthropocentric statements with his overall soteriological presentation, which is very grace centred. Some, citing C. F. Allison, have argued that seventeenth-century Anglican Arminianism, ‘tended toward semi-Pelagianism in its doctrine of justification and the relation of faith and works’. It is contended here that, despite some isolated statements and apparent inconsistencies, Hammond’s overall theological anthropology was implicitly Arminian, not Pelagian or semi-Pelagian.

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