William Twisse

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William Twisse

William Twisse (1578 near Newbury, England – 20 July 1646) was a prominent English clergyman and theologian. He was named Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly in an Ordinance dated 12 June 1643,[1] putting him at the head of the churchmen of the Commonwealth. He was described by a Scottish member, Robert Baillie, as "very good, beloved of all, and highlie esteemed; but merelie bookish".[2]


Twisse's parents were German.[3] He was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford.[4]

He was appointed chaplain to Elizabeth of Bohemia, by her father James I of England, in 1612. This position was short-lived, and he returned to England from Heidelberg around 1613.

He was then given a living at Newton Longueville.[5] He was involved with Henry Savile in the 1618 edition of the works of Thomas Bradwardine.[6] He was vicar of Newbury from 1620.[7] There he was known as an opponent of William Laud.[8]

He died on 20 July 1646 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, but exhumed in 1661 and his remains deposited with those of dozens of other Parliamentarians in a pit in the churchyard of St Margaret's, Westminster.


Twisse was a strong defender of a Calvinist, supralapsarian position.[9] In his Vindiciae gratiae of 1632 he attacked Jacobus Arminius, and in Dissertatio de scientia media of 1639 adopted certain Dominican arguments,[6] on predestination. His views were in a minority at the Westminster Assembly.[10]

A premillennialist,[11] he wrote a preface to the 1643 English translation, Key of the Revelation, of Joseph Mede's influential Clavis Apocalyptica. Mede was a friend and correspondent.[12]


  • A Discovery of D. Jackson's Vanity (1631) against Thomas Jackson
  • Vindiciae Gratiae (Amsterdam, 1632)
  • Dissertatio de scientia media tribus libris absoluta (Arnhem 1639)
  • The Riches of Gods Love (1653),[13] with Henry Jeanes and John Goodwin
  • An Examination of Mr. Cotton's Analysis of The Ninth Chapter of Romans[14]
  • The Five Points of Grace and of Predestination[15]
  • Of the Morality of the Fourth Commandment
  • A Treatise of Mr. Cotton's Clearing Certaine Doubts Concerning Predestination
  • The Doctrine of the Synod of Dort and Arles, Reduced to the Practice (1650)
  • Of the morality of the Fourth Commandment, as still in force to binde Christians : delivered by way of answer to the translator of Doctor Prideaux his lecture, concerning the doctrine of the Sabbath (1641) OL 14032019M


  1. June 1643: An Ordinance for the calling of an Assembly of Learned and Godly Divines, to be consulted with by the Parliament, for the setling of the Government of the Church
  2. Description of the Westminster Assembly – Robert Baillie. Reformation Scotland. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  3. "William Twisse". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. Ligonier Ministries. ligonier.org
  4. The Life and Work of William Twisse – Presbyterian Reformed Church. Presbyterianreformed.org. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  5. Rectors of the Parish Church of St Faith, Newton Longville. Met.open.ac.uk (2001-01-06). Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  6. 6.0 6.1 William Twisse. Scholasticon (in French).
  7.  [https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikisource.org%2Fwiki%2FTwisse%2C_William_%28DNB00%29 "Twisse, William" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>; [1].
  8. Newbury in the first of the Civil Wars in England. Newbury-society.org.uk. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  9. (Japanese) John Milton: Supralapsarians, Sublapsarians, and the Incompetence of God
  10. Report on Justification, presented to the Seventy-third General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Committee on Christian Education Orthodox Presbyterian Church, p. 71.
  11. Reformed Theology and Premillennialism. Theologue.org. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  12. Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra | AHR Forum: Entangled Histories: Borderland Historiographies in New Clothes? | The American Historical Review, 112.3. The History Cooperative. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  13. William Twisse; Henry Jeanes; John Goodwin (1653) The riches of Gods love unto the vessells of mercy, consistent with his absolute hatred or reprobation of the vessells of wrath, or, An answer unto a book entituled, Gods love unto mankind ... . Oxford : Printed by L.L. and H.H..
  14. William Twisse, A short Survey of the ninth Chapter to the Romans, so farre as it treateth of the Doctrine Of Predestination. Truecovenanter.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.
  15. William Twisse, THE FIVE POINTS of Grace & of Predestination Defined and Defended Against an Arminian Remonstrant. 5solas.org. Retrieved on 2012-07-10.

Further reading

External links

Church of England titles
New title Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly
Succeeded by
Charles Herle