HOW DOES A GRACIOUS GOD SAVE STUBBORN SINNERS?
We cannot answer this question without delving into two of the most challenging and hard-fought doctrines in Christian theology: predestination and justification. Both doctrines played a crucial role in the Protestant Reformation, provoking conflicts not merely between the Reformers and Rome but also within the ranks of each. As a deeply Augustinian theologian, trained in one of the leading Catholic universities before converting to Protestant teaching, few men in the sixteenth century were so well-equipped to address these difficult subjects as Peter Martyr Vermigli.
His treatments of these great doctrines, developed as part of a series of lectures on the Book of Romans as Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford from 1550 to 1552, became classic statements of early Reformed theology, exerting great influence on the development of the Reformed tradition in England and throughout Europe. In them, he blends his knowledge of the Augustinian tradition and the doctrinal precision of medieval scholastic theology with the intense study of the Scriptures characteristic of Reformation humanism. Convinced that the work of salvation is wholly the work of a sovereign, irresistible, and gracious God, Vermigli defends the implications of this conviction against both ancient heresies and recent Catholic opposition. Vermigli's work has long been admired for both its erudition and precision, both of which are on display here in his discussion of these sometimes difficult and obscure doctrines.