Skip to comments.Handling Scripture Like John Calvin
Posted on 10/01/2013 12:44:31 PM PDT by Gamecock
Calvin placed preaching the Scripture squarely at the center of the church. In his words, Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ; there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God. Out of his many writings on Scripture, a few choice quotes remind us how to handle Gods written Word properlyand why its important to do so.
1. Scripture should be treated with reverence.
We owe to the Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God; because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it.
Calvins commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16
2. Scripture proves itself to be the Word of God.
Then only does Scripture suffice to give a saving knowledge of God when its certainty is founded on the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Still the human testimonies which go to confirm it will not be without effect, if they are used in subordination to that chief and highest proof, as secondary helps to our weakness. But it is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the Word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
3. Scripture teaches us about God and idolsand how to discern between the two.
It is necessary to apply to Scripture in order to learn the sure marks that distinguish God, as the Creator of the world, from the whole herd of fictitious gods.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
4. Scripture doesnt always teach what wed like it to teach.
On the whole subject of religion one rule of modesty and soberness is to be observed, and it is this: In obscure matters not to speak or think, or even long to know, more than the Word of God has delivered. A second rule is that in reading the Scriptures we should constantly direct our inquiries and meditations to those things which tend to edification, not indulge in curiosity or in studying things of no use. And since the Lord has been pleased to instruct us, not in frivolous questions, but in solid piety, in the fear of his name, in true faith, and the duties of holiness, let us rest satisfied with such knowledge.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
5. Scripture enables pastors in all aspects of ministry.
The pastor ought to have two voices: one for gathering the sheep, and another for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both; for he who is deeply skilled in it will be able both to govern those who are teachable, and to refute the enemies of the truth.
Calvins commentary on Titus 1:9
We owe to the Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God; because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it.
No, that can’t be right. Catholics are quick to assure us that all Scripture proceeds from THEM.
Reformation Trust giving away this book about John Calvin during the month of October. Come get it!
eBook free, that is.
re: quote #4, ouch... wow... I agree.
Many, many good things proceeded from the pen of Calvin. Those of us who recognize just how biblical this material was are grateful that he did not hold himself up as “the individual” with infallability. The label “Calvinism”, and all that it has been accused of, would likely give him fits.
If God made the longest Psalm (119) about His word, and placed in smack in the middle of His Bible, then He must have felt it was pretty important.
Why would anyone follow John Calvin when they have the Bible?
Exactly, that’s why no one does.
Calvin's preaching was of one kind from beginning to end: he preached steadily through book after book of the Bible. He never wavered from this approach to preaching for almost twenty-five years of ministry in St. Peter's church of Geneva - with the exception of a few high festivals and special occasions. "On Sunday he took always the New Testament, except for a few Psalms on Sunday afternoons. During the week . . . it was always the Old Testament". The records show fewer than half a dozen exceptions for the sake of the Christian year. He almost entirely ignored Christmas and Easter in the selection of his text.
To give you some idea of the scope of the Calvin's pulpit, he began his series on the book of Acts on August 25, 1549, and ended it in March of 1554. After Acts he went on to the epistles to the Thessalonians (46 sermons), Corinthians (186 sermons), pastorals (86 sermons), Galatians (43 sermons), Ephesians (48 sermons) - till May 1558. Then there is a gap when he is ill. In the spring of 1559 he began the Harmony of the Gospels and was not finished when he died in May, 1564. During the week of that season he preached 159 sermons on Job, 200 on Deuteronomy, 353 on Isaiah, 123 on Genesis and so on.
One of the clearest illustrations that this was a self-conscious choice on Calvin's part was the fact that on Easter Day, 1538, after preaching, he left the pulpit of St. Peter's, banished by the City Council. He returned in September, 1541 - over three years later - and picked up the exposition in the next verse.
-- excerpted from John Piper's The Divine Majesty Of The Word
Calvinism is simply another name for biblical Christianity. Sadly, the Roman Church hid the faith from sinners for centuries. It took men like Wycliffe, Hus, Luther and Calvin to recover the gospel. By the time they came along so few understood what Christianity is and what it looks like movements developed in their name. But, make no mistake, Calvinism is Christianity. God is sovereign in all things, including the salvation of sinners.
I don’t see Calvin in the Bible. Or Luther. Or any of the Protestant revolutionaries.
What teaching authority did they have?
What teaching authority does any religious leader/Pope/preacher/priest, etc have? Heck, by the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, I have been commanded to go teach the Gospel. Are you telling me that I can’t teach the Good News???? What gives you the right to declare who or who can’t teach????
Calvinism is nothing more than a cult.
You were just DESTINED to say that.
I dont see Calvin in the Bible. Or Luther. Or any of the Protestant s
Nor a single pope
Some type of tradition mumbo-jumbo coupled with the torturing of Bible verses.
But do you see Peter as the head of the Apostles? Indeed, Christ founded the Church on Peter and the Apostles, the first Bishops.
John Calvin Institutes of Christian Religion Book III CH 21
Please don't waste your time citing 500 vague examples of how Calvin isn't actually saying what he is clearly saying: some animals are more equal than others. No thanks. You can keep it.
“But do you see Peter as the head of the Apostles? Indeed, Christ founded the Church on Peter and the Apostles, the first Bishops.”
No, not at all. No, I do not believe “Christ founded the Church on Peter”.
I do understand it is claimed repeatedly by Romans.
A Calvinist trips, falls, and breaks his leg.
“Whew,” say he, “I am glad to get that done with!”
“Please don’t waste your time citing 500 vague examples of how Calvin isn’t actually saying what he is clearly saying: some animals are more equal than others. No thanks. You can keep it.”
Why would we want to hide it?
“But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
That’s just something you’re going to have to wrestle with.
“Calvinism is nothing more than a cult.”
Well gee, thanks for dumping on ALL the Reformers, from Luther, Calvin, Knox, to the Huguenots who died in the tens of thousands for the faith, to the Scottish Covenators, the English Puritans, to the origins of this country itself. All damned Cultists you say!
I think the real Cultists are the ones who dump on Christians just because they want to save the golden calf in their lives that whispers to them that they saved themselves by their own personal choosing. Add works and they’re no better than Papists. But we’ll stick with the scripture which says:
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
“A Calvinist trips, falls, and breaks his leg.
Whew, say he, I am glad to get that done with!”
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
“Why would anyone follow John Calvin when they have the Bible?”
So now you’re a Sola Scriptura guy? Cool!
And Calvin's authority for this is what, exactly?
Was he claiming some authority in that statement?
Are you guys trying to CONVERT us?
Atheist Reporter: It’s a joke, I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.
Pope Francis: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”
Atheist Reporter: Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?
Pope Francis: “Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”
Atheist Reporter: Your Holiness, you wrote that in your letter to me. The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.
Pope Francis: “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”
You naughty Catholics! Don’t you know it’s a SIN to proselytize? 50 Hail Marys on the double! (I’m not your Priest, but I FEEL I am.. so...)
Exactly, thats why no one does.
Really ignorant remarks. Calvin and the other 16th Century reformers are WHY WE HAVE THE BIBLE!!! Bible reading and study by the common man was first allowed and taught by Calvin, Luther and the other reformers.
Calvin is also arguably the father of the historical-grammatical method of biblical interpretation, which all (conservative, bible-believing) bible scholars today take for granted, as the primary way of understanding a biblical text in context. Medieval scholastic biblical interpretation before Calvin was a mess, to say the least.
The great majority of Protestants today have some elements of Calvinism as part and parcel with what their churches believe, and how they are governed.
Even something as basic as representative democracy...or a democratic republic (a Free Republic) is a variation on rule by elders (representatives) which was pioneered and developed by Calvin. Before him it was church rule strictly by dictate of priests, bishops and popes.
Even assumptions such as rule of law (same law for everyone...not a divine right of kings)and, title-deeds for property ownership, and free-market capitalism...all in some measure are due to Calvin and Calvinism.
GPH: 'thanks for dumping on ALL the Reformers, '
How exactly did SA dump on All the Reformatters?
You can talk about him blanket naming Calvinism, but not others -- the only lumping of Luther, Calvin, John Smith, Knox, Ellen G White, Charles Taze Russell etc. is in your post, GPH
Nice things didn't happen in the religious wars of the 1600s -- both sides were to blame (well actually it became multi-sided after the first few pieces) and nationalism, politics all came to play their roles
The Hugues in particular fired the first shotS and then lost and were killed. If they had won (as their brethren in England did), then Catholics would have been killed. Bloody, not nice, but the facts.
Sorry this was pioneered and developed by the Graeco-Roman world, 2000 years before Jean.
The very terms we use (Senate etc.) derives from the Roman Republic.
Also, you are wrong with Even assumptions such as rule of law (same law for everyone...not a divine right of kings)and, title-deeds for property ownership, and free-market capitalism...all in some measure are due to -- this is again dating from the Classical world or from Saxon common law systems
No it’s not. Knowing and predestining are two completely different animals. I know my son will play computer games today. I’m not predestining it and turning him into my robot, I just know my kid.
Bate and switch.
“How exactly did SA dump on All the Reformatters?”
Catholics aren’t known for their critical thinking skills, what with the whole herd mentality thing they have going on, but for ShadowAce I’ll provide the following data with which to compute in his noggin on why he dumps on the Reformation and all the Reformers when he calls “Calvinism” (or, rather, the doctrines of Calvin) a cult. As far as I remember, Shadowace isn’t Catholic, so at the very least he should be able to comprehend the point of this:
“All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.” (Martin Luther, Quoted in Boettner, Reformed Doctrine, p.15)
“If, then, we are taught and believe that we ought to be ignorant of the necessary foreknowledge of God and the necessity of events, Christian faith is utterly destroyed, and the promises of God and the whole gospel fall to the ground completely; for the Christian’s chief and only comfort in every adversity lies in knowing that God does not lie, but brings all things to pass immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, altered, or impeded.” (Martin Luther, On the Bondage of the Will)
“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another - God alone.” (Martin Luther, Ibid)
“Here, God Incarnate says: ‘I would, and thou wouldst not.’ God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer, and offer to all men, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God’s secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing and offering. . . .It belongs to the same God Incarnate to weep, lament, and groan over the perdition of the ungodly, though that will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish. Nor is it for us to ask why He does so, but to stand in awe of God, Who can do, and wills to do such things.”(Ibid)
“On your view [Erasmus], God will elect nobody, and no place for election will be left; all that is left is freedom of will to heed or defy the long-suffering and wrath of God. But if God is thus robbed of His power and wisdom in election, what will He be but just that idol, Chance, under whose sway all things happen at random? Eventually, we shall come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God’s knowledge! For He will not have marked out by sure election those that should be saved and those that should be damned; He will merely have set before all men His general long-suffering, which forbears and hardens, together with His chastening and punishing mercy, and left it to them to choose whether they would be saved or damned, while He Himself, perchance, goes off, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian banquet!” (Ibid)
“You may be worried that it is hard to defend the mercy and equity of God in damning the undeserving, that is, ungodly persons, who, being born in ungodliness, can by no means avoid being ungodly, and staying so, and being damned, but are compelled by natural necessity to sin and perish; as Paul says: ‘We were all the children of wrath, even as others’ (Eph.2.3), created such by God Himself from a seed that had been corrupted by the sin of the one man, Adam. But here God must be reverenced and held in awe, as being most merciful to those whom He justifies and saves in their own utter unworthiness; and we must show some measure of deference to His Divine wisdom by believing Him just when to us He seems unjust.” (Ibid)
Just FYI, there are NOT quotes of Calvin.
“No its not. Knowing and predestining are two completely different animals. “
Actually try reading the text. This isn’t an example of God merely foreknowing what would happen at random. It is an example of God foreknowing what He Himself would do!
‘There are some of you that believe not,” saith Christ, “Therefore I said unto you,” for that reason, as an explanation for your unbelief, I said unto you: “no man can come unto me, unless it is given unto him by my Father.”
Now what sense is there to say, as an explanation for their faithlessness, that “no man can come unto me, unless it is given unto him by the Father,” if the truth is that actually isn’t even true?
on the contrary, you did the dumping and also irrational, emotional and plain wrong statement leading.
So you ought to apologize to SA for a false accusation
Calvinism is the most absurd example of pathological heresy. It not only denies the existence of free will but it worships a merciless and brutal God. It actually believes that God would create human beings who would suffer for eternity as their predestined fate. There really is no role for grace and personal redemption.
Credit allendale for my post above!
It is not really a religion either. Not Christ but fate is at the Calvinism’s core; fatalism is the rudest form of the religious consciousness, predating even paganism.
Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump done vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known gthe riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he hhas prepared beforehand for glory
Proverbs 17:4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
1 Peter 2:8 A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
Yes, God makes sinners also; He does not make them sin.
[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4)
“on the contrary, you did the dumping and also irrational, emotional and plain wrong statement leading.”
lol, I’ll be very surprised if you even know why you made this post.
“Yes, God makes sinners also; He does not make them sin.
[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4)”
Read the verse in context; there are also logical problems with the belief that God “wills” their salvation, but cannot accomplish what He wills. I’ll let Saint Augustine instruct you, from his commentary on the same verse:
Who will have all men to be saved; not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will (for how, then, explain the fact that He was unwilling to work miracles in the presence of some who, He said, would have repented if He had worked them?), but that we are to understand by all men, the human race in all its varieties of rank and circumstances,kings, subjects; noble, plebeian, high, low, learned, and unlearned; the sound in body, the feeble, the clever, the dull, the foolish, the rich, the poor, and those of middling circumstances; males, females, infants, boys, youths; young, middle-aged, and old men; of every tongue, of every fashion, of all arts, of all professions, with all the innumerable differences of will and conscience, and whatever else there is that makes a distinction among men. For which of all these classes is there out of which God does not will that men should be saved in all nations through His only-begotten Son, our Lord, and therefore does save them; for the Omnipotent cannot will in vain, whatsoever He may will? Now the apostle had enjoined that prayers should be made for all men, and had especially added, For kings, and for all that are in authority, who might be supposed, in the pride and pomp of worldly station, to shrink from the humility of the Christian faith. Then saying, For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, that is, that prayers should be made for such as these, he immediately adds, as if to remove any ground of despair, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth [I Tim. 2:1-4]. God, then, in His great condescension has judged it good to grant to the prayers of the humble the salvation of the exalted; and assuredly we have many examples of this. Our Lord, too, makes use of the same mode of speech in the Gospel, when He says to the Pharisees: Ye tithe mint, and rue, and every herb [Luke 11:42]. For the Pharisees did not tithe what belonged to others, nor all the herbs of all the inhabitants of other lands. As, then, in this place we must understand by every herb, every kind of herbs, so in the former passage we may understand by all men, every sort of men. And we may interpret it in any other way we please, so long as we are not compelled to believe that the omnipotent God has willed anything to be done which was not done: for setting aside all ambiguities, if He hath done all that He pleased in heaven and in earth [Ps. 115:3]. as the psalmist sings of Him, He certainly did not will to do anything that He hath not done. (Augustine, Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love, Ch. 103. Interpretation of the Expression in I Tim. 2:4: Who Will Have All Men to Be Saved.)
“To prove Calvinism from Romans 9:21 the potter in it must be shown making a pot...
“Shall the thing FORMED say to HIM that FORMED it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom 9:20
“...then breaking it,”
“Hath not the POTTER power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and ANOTHER UNTO DISHONOUR?” (Rom 9:21)
Done and done.
It is true that at times “all men” is some kind of a shorthand for “great many” or “nearly all”. But the context of 1 Timothy 2:4 does not allow for such lax interpretation: the word “all” is repeated several times, the people Timothy might be disinclined to pray, such as the kings (none, at the time, Christian) are specially mentioned, Christ is explained to be one mediator whereas if several groups existed, those who God wills to be saved and those who He doesn’t, then an explanation would be needed who mediates for the reprobates, and why in fact the righteous need any mediation.
So no, the plain word of the Bible contradicts Calvin as on any other Calvinist distinctive.
To make a pot “into dishonor” is not the same as breaking it. Sin is what breaks the proverbial pot. “Into dishonor” simply means what we all know, that not all men have a lofty disposition and God makes them all, prince and pauper, saint and scoundrel. Again it is a stretch beyond what the parable bears to invent calvinism out of it.
I forgot to mention the other silly prooftext, 1 Peter 2:8. That is simply not there textually: observe the crafty use of quotation marks suggesting a meaning not in the plain text.
“So no, the plain word of the Bible contradicts Calvin as on any other Calvinist distinctive.”
Leave it to the Catholic to argue by assertion and think he’s accomplished anything. Why should we regard your posts, when you stand against Augustine? What makes the interpretation “lax”? You don’t even explain yourself, but still fill the thread with useless posts, even after you, by your silence, concede Romans 9 to us.
I’ll also add that if you hold to this doctrine, you not only contradict the scriptures that are clear that only some receive to believe, and not all, but you also deny God’s omnipotence, as Augustine detailed.
“I forgot to mention the other silly prooftext, 1 Peter 2:8. That is simply not there textually: observe the crafty use of quotation marks suggesting a meaning not in the plain text.”
I’m not seeing any quotation marks.
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
“are specially mentioned, Christ is explained to be one mediator whereas if several groups existed, those who God wills to be saved and those who He doesnt, then an explanation would be needed who mediates for the reprobates, and why in fact the righteous need any mediation.”
I forgot to reply to this since I didn’t think it was a serious argument, but I noticed it again and thought I better say something.
My response is: What ARE you even talking about? Who the heck is mediating their damnation? Why is a mediator required to mediate their damnation?
AGAIN, I responded too soon, and didn’t notice this section, since I dismissed it as silly at first, and so completely forgot about it after I responded to your first section. But I have to remember I ought to reply to it, even when it is silly:
“To make a pot into dishonor is not the same as breaking it. Sin is what breaks the proverbial pot. Into dishonor simply means what we all know, that not all men have a lofty disposition and God makes them all, prince and pauper, saint and scoundrel.”
None of this is founded on anything in those verses. You do not even use the verse at all to come to any of these conclusions. In fact, read the verse that even leads into it:
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
How is it that Paul replies to this objection with: “Nay, but, O Man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto Him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?” And immediately begins his discourse on the vessels of wrath doomed to destruction, if, in fact, the question from Paul’s hypothetical opponent is based on a false premise? Why didn’t Paul say, “Nay, but, O man, God didn’t predestinate anyone to salvation or anyone to destruction!”
What your “interpretation” tells me is that you probably didn’t even bother to read the chapter in question, but are literally going off of what I am showing you in these posts.
You need to really actually read the verses, and not just make these random assertions that are self-evidently false. Same thing in reply to your silly comment about them not being “destroyed,” when, obviously, if they are created for dishonor, and a little later, are called vessels of wrath, obviously God intends to destroy them. If that is not enough proof, then neither is there any proof that the “vessels of mercy” actually are intended for mercy. And therefore are salvation is entirely in question.