Johannes Maccovius

The Life And Ministry Of Johannes Maccovius

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia Of Religious Knowledge:

Johannes Maccovius (Jn Makowsky): Polish Reformed theologian; b. At Lobzenie, Poland, 1588; d. At Franeker, Holland, June 24, 1644. After visiting various universities as the tutor of young Polish nobles, and holding disputations with Jesuits and Socinians, he entered the University of Franeker in 1613. There he became private-docent in 1614 and professor of theology in 1615. Theologically he was a rigid Calvinist of the extreme supralapsarian school, and these of the corresponding character, defended in 1616 by one of his pupils, involved him in a controversy with his colleague Sibrandus Lubbertus (q.v.) which was settled only by the Synod of Dort in 1619. The synod, while neither approving nor condemning his supralapsarianism, acquitted Maccovius of the charges of heresy brought against him, but advised him to be more cautious and peaceable. Nevertheless, he became involved in another controversy at Dort with his subsequent colleague William Ames (q.v.) by asserting that all things that must be believed are not necessarily true, that no impulse toward regeneration and effecting it exists in the unregenerate, and that Christ is the object of faith because of whom, but not in whom, man must believe. Maccovius’ theory of Scripture was very free, and he distinguished sharply between scholarship and believes essential to salvation. His fame attracted many students to Franeker. His chief works are: Collegia theologica (Amsterdam, 1623); and the posthumous Maccovius redivious sive manuscripta eius typis exscripta (Franker, 1647) and communes (1650).

S. D. Van Veen

Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644) was a Polish Reformed Theologian, subscribing to a Supralapsarian scheme of God’s decree with only two permanent and perpetual covenants—works, between God and Adam; grace, between the Persons of the Godhead.

Maccovius was born in 1588, Lobzenica, Poland. In 1615, he was appointed professor of theology at the University of Frandeker, Netherlands, where he enjoyed much success until his death in 1644. He took a supralapsarian view of God’s decree (similar to that of Theodore Beza), believing there to be only two permanent and perpetual covenants—one of works made with Adam and another of grace made between the Persons of the Godhead. He understood the eternal covenant of grace to be administered by God in time by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. William Ames disparaged this view, believing the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Godhead is distinguished from a covenant of grace God makes with sinners in time. Whereas Ames’ view of covenant theology became the framework of seventeenth century Hyper-Calvinism (articulated in the major Confessions of 1646, 1658 and 1689), Maccovius’ view became the covenantal framework of eighteenth century Hyper-Calvinism (articulated by theologians such as John Gill, William Huntington and Robert Hawker). Isaac Chauncy (1632-1712), an English non-conformist minister, together with Benjamin Keach (1640-1704), an English Baptist minister, argued for Maccovius’ view of covenant theology towards the end of the seventeenth century. —J Smith