Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
In "The Reasonableness of Christianity," Locke aimed to promote the practice of morality and the development of moral character through a Scripture-based theological ethics. He claimed that his account of Christianity was based on Scripture alone, which he regarded as an authoritative source of historical and eschatological truth entailing moral principles. However, his writings on religion denote many similarities with Socinianism and Arminianism. He adopted Socinus’s proof of scriptural authority, highlighting the excellence of Christ’s moral precepts, insisting on the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecies in the New Testament, and describing Christ’s miracles as confirming his Messianic mission. This proof enabled Locke to develop a historical method of biblical interpretation, which, stressing the internal consistency of the Bible, considered the biblical texts in relation to both their respective historical contexts and the biblical discourse as a whole. In reading Scripture, he followed the Protestant tradition of the way of fundamentals, but he formulated an original doctrine of the fundamentals of Christianity – that is, repentance, obedience, and faith.