Thomas Bilson: Difference between revisions

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===Theological controversy===
A theological argument over the [[Harrowing of Hell]] led to several attacks on Bilson personally in what is now called the "[[Arminianism in the Church of England#Descensus controversy|Descensus controversy"]]. Bilson's literal views on the descent of Christ into Hell were orthodox for "conformist" Anglicans of the time, while the Puritan wing of the church preferred a metaphorical or spiritual reading.<ref>Bruce Gordon, Peter Marshall, ''The Place of the Dead: Death and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe'' (2000), pp. 118-9.</ref> He maintained that Christ went to hell, not to suffer, but to wrest the keys of hell out of the Devil’s hands. For this doctrine he was severely handled by [[Henry Jacob]] and also by other [[Puritan]]s. [[Hugh Broughton]], a noted Hebraist, was excluded from the translators of the King James Bible, and became a vehement early critic. The origin of Broughton's published attack on Bilson as a scholar and theologian, from 1604,<ref>''Declaration of general corruption, of religion, Scripture, and all learninge: wrought by D. Bilson''.</ref> is thought to lie in a sermon Bilson gave in 1597, which Broughton, at first and wrongly, thought supported his own view that hell and paradise coincided in place. From another direction the Roman Catholic controversialist [[Richard Broughton]] also attacked Anglican conformists through Bilson's views, writing in 1607.<ref>Willem Nijenhuis, ''Adrianus Saravia (c. 1532-1613): Dutch Calvinist, First Reformed Defender of the English Episcopal Church Order on the Basis of the Ius Divinum'' (1980), p. 182.</ref><ref>Charles W. A. Prior, ''Defining the Jacobean Church: The Politics of Religious Controversy, 1603-1625'' (2005), pp.49-50 and note.</ref> Much feeling was excited by the controversy, and Queen Elizabeth, in her ire, commanded Bilson, "neither to desert the doctrine, nor let the calling which he bore in the Church of God, be trampled under foot, by such unquiet refusers of truth and authority."<ref name="1858KJV" />
 
Bilson's most famous work was entitled ''The Perpetual Government of Christ's Church'' and was published in 1593. It was a systematic attack on [[Presbyterian polity]] and an able defence of [[Episcopal polity]].<ref>http://anglicanhistory.org/scotland/jdowden/paddock/02.html</ref> Following on from [[John Bridges (bishop)|John Bridges]],<ref>Robert Zaller, ''The Discourse of Legitimacy in Early Modern England'' (20070, p. 342.</ref><ref>http://www.fromdeathtolife.org/chistory/england3.html</ref> the work is still regarded as one of the strongest books ever written in behalf of episcopacy.<ref name="1858KJV" />