My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

27 February 2008

Just once more

To conclude my part of this discussion, here are some quotes from John Calvin in the Institutes, book four, chapters five and six. Some quick notes: if this is getting old, I'm sorry and I'm almost done. If this discussion feels off-balanced by not addressing the preacher's responsibility, I agree and hope to write more about that soon. Finally, these quotes from Calvin are meant to inform the idea and are not aimed at anyone in particular.

On Ephesians 4:10-13: We see how God, who could in a moment perfect his own, nevertheless desires them to grow up into manhood solely under the education of the church. We see the way set for it: the preaching of the heavenly doctrine has been enjoined upon the pastors. We see that all are brought under the same regulation, that with a gentle and teachable spirit they may allow themselves to be governed by teachers appointed to this function.

On God's giving interpeters to His people (Mal. 2:7): This is doubly useful. On the one hand, he proves our obedience by a very good test when we hear his ministers speaking just as if he himself spoke. On the other, he also provides for our weakness in that he prefers to address us in human fashion through interpreters in order to draw us to himself, rather than to thunder at us and drive us away.

To those who think the authority of the Word is belittled when handled with authority by men: For, although God's power is not bound to outward means, he has nonetheless bound us to this ordinary manner of teaching. Fanatical men, refusing to hold fast to it, entangle themselves in many deadly snares. Many are led either by pride, dislike, or rivalry to the conviction that they can profit enough from private reading and meditation; hence they despise public assemblies and deem preaching superfluous...In order, then, that pure simplicity of faith may flourish among us, let us not be reluctant to use this exercise of religion which God, by ordaining it, has shown us to be necessary and highly approved.

What follows in chapter six is a great portion discussing the balance of believing the primacy of preaching yet giving full credit to God who "claims for himself alone both the beginnings of faith and its entire course."


Anonymous said...


Calvin also believed that the Lord’s Day was not the Christian Sabbath, and that the change from the seventh day (Sabbath) to the eighth day was not ordained by God (He found no Scriptural support for this). I know that you could not believe as Calvin does because it is in direct opposition to the teaching position of the Church, and you could no longer remain as minister in good standing if you did.

Point being, and I hate to be the one to say it, but right or wrong, we all cherry pick from writings to support our presuppositions. However, it does not make them true. :>)


Jared said...

Yeah, but.

This time he's right.

The point in quoting Calvin is not that he is infallible and that it seals the deal, but that he is (1) highly eloquent and thoroughly biblical and (2) indicative and representative of the reformational understanding, especially within our tradition.

Micah said...

Well played to both of you.

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