John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787): minister of the new covenant

Guerrero Leiva, Israel José (2018) John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787): minister of the new covenant. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A fundamental characteristic of Scottish Reformed theology is its emphasis on God’s covenants. This development reached its high point in the Westminster Confession of Faith and also in the Marrow tradition. One of the most prominent evangelical theologians of the eighteenth century nurtured within this milieu was John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787). Yet, despite his significance and influence there has been a surprising lack of research into his theology. The objective of this thesis is to fill part of this gap.

Brown wrote in the context of a society which was moulded by a combination of Enlightenment rationalism and ecclesiastical Moderatism, which together led to an emphasis on behaviour patterns and morals and not on evangelical doctrine and sanctification. In preaching, covenant theology was displaced by sermons centered on man, culture and society. John Brown stands in contrast to this emerging ‘polite’ Presbyterianism.

This research therefore seeks to focus on how the Christological and covenantal aspects of Brown’s theology helped to strengthen and consolidate the evangelical orthodoxy of the Reformed churches during the eighteenth century. In spite of having some differences with his Reformed predecessors with respect to the covenantal scheme, Brown maintained the essential elements that conform the classical Reformed federalism. In addition, this thesis explores how Brown’s commitment to Scripture and to the Westminster Confession of Faith led him to develop a Christ-centered covenantal theology entailing strong practical implications for the Christian life. It also traces the way in which his experiential Calvinism was reflected not only in his theological works, but also in the training of divinity students who were candidates for the ministry. As both the pastor of his congregation in Haddington, and his denomination’s professor of theology his goal was to encourage sanctification and a distinctive covenantal piety not only in Christians in general, but also in the lives and ministries of his students.

This dissertation seeks briefly to place Brown’s theology within the context of recent critical discussions of the Federal tradition in Scottish theology and to underline the way in which he saw his own work as standing in the tradition of the theoretica-practica theology. In conclusion, Brown’s Covenantal Christology shows a theological unity and continuity between Calvin’s theology and the Scottish Reformed theology expressed in Westminster federalism, both of which highlight the glory of the Triune God in the salvation and fellowship with his covenantal people.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: John Brown of Haddington, Reformed Theology, Covenant Theology, Christology, Sanctification, Experiential Calvinism, Calvinism, Reformed Pastor, Presbyterian Minister, Moderatism, Marrow Controversy, Free Offer of the Gospel, Covenant of Grace, Covenant of Works.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Ferguson, Dr. Sinclair B.
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Mr Israel Jose Guerrero Leiva
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-31003
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 14:45
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2019 13:46

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