A Twofold Knowledge of God—Before the Fall and After it

The necessary rules to be observed in considering the state of man before the fall being laid down, the point first considered is the creation of the body, and the lesson taught by its being formed out of the earth, and made alive. Institutes 1.15.1. states,

We have now to speak of the creation of man, not only because of all the works of God it is the noblest, and most admirable specimen of his justice, wisdom, and goodness, but, as we observed at the outset, we cannot clearly and properly know God unless the knowledge of ourselves be added. This knowledge is twofold,—relating, first, to the condition in which we were at first created; and, secondly to our condition such as it began to be immediately after [Read more…]

How Bad Do You Need the Scripture?

The Scriptures act as a guide for the people of God, better yet they are the teacher bringing those that our the Lord’s elect to Him. How much greater is it for the believer of the gospel to know that they have been given the Scriptures, so that they might know Him and live in obedience for him. Calvin writes on this issue in his institutes 1.6.1. saying,

Therefore, though the effulgence which is presented to every eye, both in the heavens and on the earth, leaves the ingratitude of man without excuse, since God, in order to bring the whole human race under the same condemnation, holds forth to all, without exception, a mirror of his Deity in his works, another and better help must be given to guide us properly to God as a Creator. Not in vain, therefore, has he added the light of his Word in order that he might make himself known unto salvation, and [Read more…]

John Calvin the Evangelist

One more reason why John Calvin is Important for today…

Reason #10: Calvin models for us how to teach and practice evangelism and missions.

One of the most fallacious charges against Calvin is that he did not fuel a passion for evangelism and missions. Others assert that Calvin was responsible for relighting the torch of biblical evangelism during the reformation and thus should be credited with being a theological father of the reformed missionary movement. Views of Calvin’s attitude toward evangelism and missions have ranged on the positive side from hearty to moderate support, and on the negative side from silent indifference to active opposition. Calvin’s teaching and his practice both confirm that he was a model evangelist. Calvin taught evangelism in a general way by earnestly proclaiming the gospel and by reforming the church according to biblical requirements. More specifically, Calvin taught evangelism by focusing on the universality of Christ’s kingdom and the responsibility of Christians to help extend that realm.

Calvin asserted that both God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are involved in evangelism. The work of evangelism is ultimately [Read more…]

The Life of a Christian Man

For the Christian Man today life can at times seem hard to draw the connection between living yet in a sinful body but being regenerated already. Yet John Calvin does an amazing job explaining this relationship – the Necessity of the doctrine concerning the Male Christian Life. The brevity of this treatise. The method of it. Plainness and unadorned simplicity of the Scripture system of morals for the man to live out today. He says,

We have said that the object of regeneration is to bring the life of believers into concord and harmony with the righteousness of God, and so confirm the adoption by which they have been received as sons. But although the law comprehends within it that new life by which the image of God is restored in us, yet, as our sluggishness stands greatly in need both of helps and incentives it will be useful to collect out of Scripture a true account of this reformations lest any who have a heartfelt desire of repentance should in their zeal go astray. Moreover, I am not unaware that, in undertaking to describe the life of the Christian, I am entering on a large and extensive subject, one which, when fully considered in all its parts, is sufficient to fill a large volume. We see the length to which the Fathers in treating of individual virtues extend their exhortations. This they do, not from mere loquaciousness; for whatever be the virtue which you undertake to recommend, your pen is spontaneously led by the copiousness of the matter so to amplify, that you seem [Read more…]

John Calvin The SoCio-Theologian

One more reason why John Calvin is Important for today…

Reason #11: Calvin models for us the wide-ranging impact of his theology on Western European and North American civilization, whether it be the rise of the Western democracies; the development of economic life and international commerce, scholarship, and scientific discovery; or the promotion of the values of human dignity, personal freedom, social justice, and the rule of law.

Andre Bieler writes:

“The sum of medieval knowledge was theology – the study of God. The sum of the knowledge of the renaissance was humanism—the study and knowledge of humanness. Now, the science of Calvin is a theological and social humanism which includes a study of man and society through a twofold knowledge of man by man, on the one hand, and knowledge of man through God, on the other.” In other words, Calvin’s writings display a rare combination of the legitimate fruits of human inquiry, science, and scholarship completed by—and interpreted in the light of—the unchanging truths of the Word of God.

Calvin discussed many aspects of man’s life in society and in the world as a necessary corollary to his exposition of man’s relationship to God and [Read more…]

John Calvin the Educator

One more reason why John Calvin is Important for today…

Reason #12: Calvin models for us a proper recognition of the importance of education—especially seminary training, which is the backbone of the Christian enterprise.

David Hall provides an apt summary of this point:

Calvin broke with medieval pedagogy that limited education primarily to an aristocratic elite. His academy, founded in 1559, was a pilot in broad-based education for the city….

Calvin’s academy, which was adjacent to St. pierre Cathedral, featured two levels of curricula: one for the public education of Geneva’s youth (the college or schola privata) and the other a seminary to train ministers (schola publica). One should hardly discount the impact that came from the public education of young people, especially in a day when education was normally reserved only for aristocratic scions or for members of Catholic societies. Begun in 1558, with Calvin and Theodore Beza chairing the theological faculty, the academy building was [Read more…]

John Calvin Dealing with Self-Denial

It can easily be said that the summary of the Christian Life is one that is in constant self-denial. To what exactly it takes for one to be consistent in this may be at hard times to see. Understanding that the christian is not of his own, but only to seek the glory of God obeying His will can at times get hard living in the fallen flesh. However self-denial is still commanded of the Lord’ people. He who neglects it, deceived either by pride or hypocrisy, rushes on destruction. John Calvin provides quite the wisdom dealing with this issue in his Institutes 3.7.2 saying,

Hence follows the other principle, that we are not to seek our own, but the Lord’s will, and act with a view to promote his glory. Great is our proficiency, when, almost forgetting ourselves, certainly postponing our own reason, we faithfully make it our study to obey God and his commandments. For when Scripture enjoins us to lay aside private regard to ourselves, it not only divests our minds of an excessive longing for wealth, or power, or human favour, but eradicates all ambition and [Read more…]

Regenration Takes Repentance

The act of justification cannot happen without one coming to the realization of their sin and asking for forgiveness and repenting for that in-which their sin has offended God. Calvin writes on this matter saying,

It is proper to consider what the dreadful iniquity is which is not to be pardoned. The definition which Augustine somewhere gives—viz. that it is obstinate perverseness, with distrust of pardon, continued till death,—scarcely agrees with the words of Christ, that it shall not be forgiven in this world. For either this is said in vain, or it may be committed in this world. But if Augustine’s definition is correct, the sin is not committed unless persisted in till death. Others say, that the sin against the Holy Spirit consists in [Read more…]

Why Is John Calvin Important Today?

So why is Calvin important today? Why do we celebrate his legacy? What did he teach and do that merits perpetual remembrance in the church of Jesus Christ?

  • Calvin the historian, who unfolded redemptive history for us
  • Calvin the polemicist, who combated error and heresy on every hand
  • Calvin the pilgrim, who longed for home with eschatological hope
  • Calvin the traditionalist, who respected tradition so long as it was biblical
  • Calvin the catechist, who stressed the need to catechize children
  • Calvin the deacon, who showed sympathy to the poor
  • Calvin the vocationalist, who developed a sense of the sacredness of work
  • Calvin the law-promoter, who taught the law as a rule of life for believers
  • Calvin the author, who promoted God’s kingdom through scores of writings on an astonishing number of subjects

Be sure to check back for 12 more reasons why Calvin is important today.

(Taken with permission from Joel Beeke’s, Calvin for Today)

What Does it mean to “Know God?”

According to the Washington Post, 92% percent of America answered that they believed in God when asked. However believing and knowing God are two totally separate things. Knowing God consist more than just believing that he exists, but actually having an interest in obeying His commands, giving Him glory and worshiping Him for life. Calvin writes on this matter;

By the knowledge of God, I understand that by which we not only conceive that there is some God, but also apprehend what it is for our interest, and conducive to his glory, what, in short, it is befitting to know concerning him. For, properly speaking, we cannot say that God is known where there is no religion or piety. I am not now referring to that species of knowledge by which men, in themselves lost and under curse, apprehend God as a Redeemer in Christ the Mediator. I speak only of that simple and primitive knowledge, to which the mere course of nature would have conducted us, had Adam stood upright. For although no man will now, in the present ruin of the human race, perceive God to be either a father, or the author of salvation, or propitious in any respect, until Christ interpose to make our peace; still it is one thing to [Read more…]