Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Bangs, Father and Son, the Dutch Reformation, the Pilgrims, and Jacobus Arminius.

The November - December edition of The University of Chicago Magazine, presents a profile of Jeremy Bangs, X'67, entitled "Going Dutch."  It not only introduces me to that gifted scholar,  but also to Leiden in the Netherlands, the Reformation as it took place in that country, and reintroduces me to the Pilgrims, "yes, those Pilgrims" as Lydialyle Gibson, the article's author, writes.  (What a beautiful name, Lydialyle.)

The article also introduces me to Jeremy's dad, Carl Bangs, PhD'58,

a church historian and theology professor, and an expert of the 16th-century Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius.  Carl Bang's biography, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation (Abingdon Press), is a definitive text. 
Arminius!  But he was so wrong!  Isn't that just like a UChi scholar, picking such a subject to write about?

But over to Amazon, to look at that book.  Here's a great review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique, Enlightening, and Rewarding Study (Especially for a Calvinist)., June 18, 2006
Mr. Bangs presents a very systematic and, sometimes, personally affective account of James Arminius. Not only does he present Arminius objectively as a pastor, theologian,and professor but also a few yet essential insights of a man who has had his share of sorrow.

I was warned many years ago not to read this book. I was told by Calvinist-leaning individuals that it would upset my faith and cause me to fall away. I have read this book 5 times and filled it with highlighting and notations. Apparently, the one who warned me never read the book. And I think that is a big problem with those who adhere to Calvinism when discussing issues regarding election and predestination. I would encourage every Calvinists to read this book not for the purpose of changing their view but to understand what Arminius really taught as, it seems, many books by Calvinist theologians misrepresent terribly the teachings Arminius espoused. To call him a heretic is to be wholy misinformed or uninformed about the man Arminius and his teachings.

Reading "Arminius" has helped me to understand the significance of Arminianism, it's value and importance in Christian theology, the essential issues that divide two camps of believers (one, Calvinism, and the other, Arminianism), and it has provided me with an alternative (and better, in my estimation) understanding of certain "problem" texts in the Bible.

Most important of all, to me, it has brought me closer to a man after my own heart; a man who knows the pain of lose, still trusts in God, and seeks to present God in a way that makes Him available for all sinners to embrace in repentance and faith.

I highly recommend reading this book. If you do not, you will miss a very important phase in Christian history. It has gotten to a point that when I'm going to my study to read this book and his "Works", I tell my wife I'm going to spend some time with my best friend.

Buy it, read it, you won't regret it.

Also, read "The Works of James Arminius", London Edition, 3 vols. So far, I've read all volumes three times. It is a little difficult to read at first, but once you get use to how it is written, you'll find it very rewarding.

Now, over to, to find a $6.00 "Acceptable" copy on sale (although,you never know just what you are going to get with "Acceptable" - other than a real bargain).  Can't wait to read it.

The reviewer quoted above, Mr. Banuchi, writes that he "read 'The Works of James [Jacobus] Arminius', London Edition, 3 vols.  .  .  . three times"!  There are editions of those works at Amazon in Kindle Editions.  Here is volume 1 of the edition published by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library ("CCEL").  CCEL's website is worth exploring.

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