• A New Creation in Christ: A Historical-Theological Investigation into Walter Marshall’s Theology of Sanctification in Union with Christ in the Context of the Seventeenth-Century Antinomian and Neonomian Controversy

      Christ, Timothy M. (University of Chester, 2016-12)
      This thesis attempts to understand Marshall in a similar vein but on a much larger scale. Our work will progress in four remaining chapters. In chapter II we will explore Marshall’s diachronic context, explaining how Protestant theology wrestled with correlating free justification and the need for a renewed life. We will look at Luther, Trent, and Calvin because they were highly influential in shaping the theological context in the seventeenth century and because they offer clear examples of theologians struggling to formulate their doctrine of Sanctification. In chapter III we will look at Marshall’s synchronic context. Our main task is to trace the development of Antinomianism and Neonomianism. Both systems were significant factors in Marshall’s context. We will also study those who influenced them, including Perkins, the English Arminians, and Owen. We will conclude this section with several tensions that were present in English Reformed theology in the middle of the seventeenth century. Chapter IV accounts for about half of this thesis. This is where we will explore Marshall’s theology. We will analyze Marshall’s book The Gospel Mystery rhetorically and systematically, examining how Marshall constructed his argument and the system of theology on which his argument was based. Our goal is to reconstruct his theological system. This chapter is subdivided into chapter length sections, which include the nature of sin and depravity, union with Christ, the new nature, justification, faith, assurance, and practical sanctification. Finally we will conclude in chapter V by showing that although Marshall is not unique in his theological construction, Marshall’s work demonstrates several factors that make it uniquely helpful in countering the twin errors of Antinomianism and Neonomianism, which are perennial dangers for Reformed churches. To bolster this conclusion, we will briefly explore how Marshall was used in the generations immediately following him.