Author: Mead, Matthew (1629-1699)
As a Congregationalist minister in 17th century England, Mead could not teach or preach
without censure or persecution. Eventually, the harsh religious climate of his homeland
drove Mead to Holland, although he returned to England to minister to a congregation
in Stepney in secret. The Almost Christian Discovered, a theological essay,
tackles one of the most interesting in controversial problems in Christian teaching: the
“almost” Christian, a person who is on the brink of receiving God’s grace, but falls short.
Two issues present themselves: “The one is,” Mead writes, “how often a believer may
miscarry, how low he may fall, and yet have true grace. The other is, how far a hypocrite
may go in the way to heaven, how high, he may attain, and yet have no grace.” Mead
seeks to answer these questions with this essay, continuing an ancient debate that has
lasted into the present day.