An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

British Calvinists: Edmund Grindal (1519-1583)

Edmund Grindal (1519-1583) was the second archbishop of Canterbury appointed by Elizabeth I, the first was Matthew Parker. 

He was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria and was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. Under Edward I he was prebendary of Westminster, but on Edward's death became one of the Marian exiles in Frankfurt.

On return to England he was made the bishop of London and helped to revise the Book of Common Prayer. He was "promoted" to York in 1570. During this time he ensured that church furniture such as crosses, candlesticks and altar stones were removed and replaced by a simple communion table. In 1575 became archbishop of Canterbury. 

During his time at Canterbury he became embroiled in a debate over the "Puritan prophesyings". These were meetings in which clergy prayed and discussed the Scriptures. These prophesyings originated in Northampton. It seems that on Saturdays from 9 to 11 am a number of ministers would gather to expound the same scriptures one after the other and then discuss how they handled the text. The first minster was not to exceed three-quarters of an hour (see Geoffrey Nuttall The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience. University of Chicago Press, 1992).

Grindal refused Elizabeth I's order to silence them and so was suspended from his bishopric. Grindal felt that the prophesyings were helping to stem the tide of catholicism. In 1582 he was later reinstated but by then his health was deteriorating and he died in July 1583.

Grindal was replaced as archbishop by John Whitgift, who was no friend of Puritans. 

Some of Grindal's works are available here:

Further reading

Patrick Collinson 1979. Archbishop Grindal 1519–1583: The Struggle for a Reformed Church. University of California.

John Strype 1710, Life and Acts of Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury. Available here

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