Daily Archives: 10 Jul 2012

Not All Baptists are Anti-Calvin or Anti-Reformed

Another gem of a post over at Calvin 500 in the ‘Baptists and Calvinism’ series.  Here’s my favorite part-

… A. T. Robertson, perhaps the finest Greek scholar of the Baptist tradition, while listing those whom he considered the best examples of preaching scholars, wrote:

This then is true; not all scholars can preach, and not all preachers can become scholars. There are varying degrees of both, but the best preachers have generally been men of the best training in the schools. This is all that can be said and it is enough. For each man wants to do the most that is in him for the glory of God. The leading examples of preaching will confirm this statement. Paul was an educated man, and so was John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouthed preacher of later days. Luther was a theological professor. Calvin preached every day for a long time while professor of theology at Geneva. John Knox learned Greek and Hebrew between the ages of forty and fifty. Whitefield and Wesley, the great popular preachers, were Oxford men. The famous French preachers, Bossuet, Bourdaloue and Massillon, were likewise scholarly men. And the exceptions usually prove the rule, for even Spurgeon has made a respectable scholar of himself in spite of the lack of early training.

Robertson’s inclusion of Knox and Calvin is certainly not accidental, and had he believed as [Ed] Young believes, he certainly couldn’t have included them.

Other famous Baptists have also found much merit in Calvin, including but not limited to—and in no particular order—Charles Spurgeon, Roger Williams, Basil Manly, J. P. Boyce, and, of course, Al Mohler. [Mr] Young may be a vocal critic of Calvin and the Reformed tradition, but he is not a central voice, and he is not even an important voice.

Enjoy the whole.

The Episcopal Church: The Inevitable Result, the Logical Conclusion of a Church Set Adrift by Ties to the State

The roots of the Anglican communion (and therefore the Episcopal Church) are so intertwined with the State that the inevitable result is the kind of unbiblical pseudo-theology presently on exhibition.

When Theologians are replaced by politicians (and worse, when theologians become politicians, more concerned with what’s politically feasible than theologically appropriate) then the only thing left is a ‘church’ in name only: a group cut loose from any sensible biblical mooring or theological propriety.  Exhibit A-

The Episcopal Church has approved a blessing for same-sex couples, becoming the first major denomination to do so. Bishops at the church’s general convention in Indianapolis voted 111-41, with three abstentions, in favor of using a provisional rite for gay couples for the next three years, reports the AP. The convention also approved new measures to prevent discrimination against transgendered clergy candidates and church members. The rite, called “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” includes a clause stating that nobody in the church will be forced to perform the ceremony. Dissenting bishops said the blessing would put the church “out of the Christian mainstream,” but Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde argued that it is needed to honor “lifelong same-sex couples” who “have served Christ and Christ’s mission in ways incalculable to measure.”

What God doesn’t join together, man has no business doing so.

Calvin: Only Those Who Feel Shame Have Hope

John Calvin observes (in his commentary on Romans, at chapter 1)

[H]e who is ashamed is as yet healable; but when such an impudence is contracted through a sinful habit, that vices, and not virtues, please us, and are approved, there is no more any hope of reformation.

I think he’s right. Indeed, I think he’s 100% right. Having observed a lot of people over a lot of years I can’t think of a single example which would prove Calvin wrong on this.

John Calvin’s Letter to de Falais About Joel Watts

I know, you don’t believe me. But here it is. Look it up for yourself. Calvin wrote the letter which contains these lines on 14 October, 1543-

I understand very well the difficulty in which you are placed if you look to the world, and those considerations which may keep you back. But you will need to come to a settled conclusion, to cast aside everything which shall come in the way to cross you in your purpose. One ought not, it is true, to take such a step at random, that is to say, without foundation, and without knowing why or wherefore. But when you have your conscience assured by a testimony which is better and stronger than all the world could give you, you ought to acquiesce therein out and out, and deem besides, that all the obstacles which interpose to divert or turn you aside, are scandals which Satan lays before you to block up the way. Howbeit, to my thinking, there is no great need to allege many reasons to shew you what to do according to the word of God. I take it for granted, that you are already clear upon that point.

— John Calvin

It’s a fantastic volume.

Calvin’s Prayer Pre-Lecture Compared to Zwingli’s

Here’s what Calvin prayed (most of the time) at the commencement of lectures:

MAY the Lord grant, that we may engage in contemplating the mysteries of his heavenly wisdom with really increasing devotion, to his glory and to our edification.—AMEN.

It’s good, but it isn’t as good as Zwingli’s prayer before he commenced lecturing:

Omnipotens sempiterne et misericors Deus, cuius verbum est lucerna pedibus nostris et lumen semitarum nostrarum, aperi et illumina mentes nostras ut oracula tua pure et sancte intelligamus et in illud quod recte intellexerimus transformemur, quo maiestati tuae nulla ex parte displiceamus: per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.

Though sometimes he would pray

O Herr Ihesu Criste, erleuchte mein verstentnus und thue mir uff mein sinne, das ich ersten müg die hailige geschrift, und das ich darauß seye enpfahn war reu und laid aller meiner sünde, und müge entzündt werden in rechter andacht. Und lerne mich, das ich alle lesungen der Hailigen geschrift ker(e)n und wandlen müg in das andechtig gevett, in guete betrachtung und beschenlichait; dann selig ist der mensch, den du, Herre, underweisest, und den du lernest von deinem gesetze. Amen.

O Herr Ihesu Criste, lerne mich ersten das, das ich lese, das ich dasselbig mit dem herzen und mit den werken wahrhafftigklich verbringen müge, Amen.

O Herr Ihesu Criste, dich diemüetigklich bitte ich, das du mir deinen Hailigen gaist wöllst diemüetigklich mitteilen.

O Herr, eröffne meine äugen, so wird ich erchennen wunderwerliche ding uß deinem gesetze; ich bin dein diener, gib mir, Herr, den verstand.

O Herr Ihesu Criste, offne mir meine sinne, damit ich verneme(n) müg die hailige geschrift und dardurch entzündt werd und auß liebe gotts und des negsten dieselben crefftigklich mit denselben vervringen mug. Amen.

O Herr Ihesu Criste, brich mir das brot der Hailigen geschrift, uff das ich dich in der grechung des brots erchennen müge, Amen.

Summa Summarum: erbarm dich über mich armen sünder. h. p(ate)r n(oste)r,aue maria.

Calvin: In His Own Words

Toute la somme presque de nostre sagesse, laquelle, à tout conter, merite d’estre reputée vraye et entiere sagesse, est située en deux parties: c’est qu’en cognoissant Dieu, chacun de nous aussi se cognoisse. (Inst. I.1.1)

Will You Be Excavating At Azekah?

Then there’s something you should know–

TEAM MEMBER INFORMATION PACKET for the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition and Tel Sochoh Excavations. Go to our website – http://archaeology.tau.ac.il/azekah/ or directly to: http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/azekah%20pack.pdf.

Via Oded Lipschits and Ido Koch on FB.

Zwingli For Today: Hope in God

Whoever places all his hope in God, ascribes to him all good and worthy deeds, estimates nothing higher than the knowledge and love of God, such a one God does not allow to succumb to the numerous vices mentioned by St. Paul [in Romans 1]. And even where such a man is allowed to fall, God protects him so that the fall may not injure him.

This Christ shows us in chapter 15 of the Gospel according to John [John 15:9, 7.] “Continue ye in my love.” And in the same place: “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” And Peter says [2 Peter 1:10]: “For if ye do these things, ye shall never fail.”

The things referred to would take up too much time to mention, but Peter mentions them just before. And 1 John 3 [1 John 3:6]: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: Whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him.” But that a lapse cannot injure a truly devout person is proved by the fall of Peter [Matt. 26:69 ff. and parallels] and of David [2 Sam. 11 and 12], both of whom humbled themselves after their fall and remained more devout than ever before for the rest of their days. Thus St. Paul writes in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans [Rom. 8:28]: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Therefore Peter after his denial of Christ, and David through his scandalous murder of Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba, were led to repentance and reformation.

Calvin: On Fearless Preaching

[H]e [the preacher] should not speak uncertainly as if he were giving out comments of his own, but he should be able to speak out confidently without hesitation in the name of God; just as Jeremiah in this passage [Jer 1] demands to be heard because, as he declares, God has put his words in his mouth.

We can be sure that whatever comes from man’s own cleverness may be ignored. God demands for himself alone the honor of being heard in his church (as I said yesterday). Hence it follows that none should be recognized as servants of God, none should be counted just and faithful prophets or teachers, unless God is speaking through them, unless they invent nothing by themselves and teach nothing by their own will, but preach only what God commands. — John Calvin

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digitization Project

This is great stuff!

Bengel’s Gnomon

There are real gems in Bengel’s Gnomon. Like this one-

Hypocrites often sink under mere dangers.

Think about it.

‘Who is My Neighbor?’ – Calvin’s Answer

It is astonishing that the scribes fell into the absurdity of limiting the word “neighbor” to those who are friendly. There is nothing clearer and more certain than that when God spoke of our neighbor, he meant to include the whole of the human species. Since everyone is devoted to himself, and people are separated from others in the pursuit of their private interests, mutual communication, required by nature itself, is broken. Therefore, God testifies that any man whoever he may be is our neighbor, in order to keep us in the bond of brotherly love with which we are bound one to another by our common nature; for it is necessary that whenever I see another man, who is my own flesh and bone, I see my own self. Even though most men, most often, break away from this holy society, their depravity does not remove the order of nature; for we must remember that God himself is the maker of this union. — John Calvin

Goings On at Gath: Photos From Louise Hitchcock

Louise is working at Gath, looking, one presumes, for Goliath’s cereal bowl.  Until she finds that, she’s digging up some other cool stuff (along of course with the rest of the good folk there led by the inestimably gifted Aren Maeir) and she’s given permission for me to pass along the photos she’s posting on her FB page.  I’m especially impressed with the bull.  That’s nice stuff:

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Calvin: On Man’s Proclivity to Disguise his Sin

We know how men hide their evil deeds under all kinds of wrappings; and how by dressing them up in false colors they even win praise for them. Slyness and hateful cunning are called prudence. The man who cleverly tricks others, who entraps the simple-minded and in unseen ways oppresses the poor, is called farsighted and cautious. When the world sells vices for virtues and all men indulge in them openly, God wipes off all the cosmetics and declares every kind of unjust gain to be theft. — John Calvin

Calvin: On Predestination

The ground and first cause of our calling, as well as of all the good things we receive from God, the apostle presents [in Eph 3] as the eternal election of God. Therefore, if anyone asks why God has called us to share in the gospel, why he honors us with so many blessings every day, why he opens heaven itself before us, we must always come back to this same principle: that clearly, before the foundation of the world, he has elected us. But, from the time of election itself, we gather that it is free. For, how could we have possessed worth, or how could there have been merit in us, before the world itself was created? It is a childish cavil devised by sophistry to say, “We were not chosen because we were worthy, but because God foresaw that we would be worthy!” For we are all lost in Adam. Unless God himself had by his election redeemed us from ruin, there would have been nothing but ruin to foresee.…   — John Calvin

Calvin: On Men’s Blindness to Faith

When life is turned into death, we must blame men’s evil for it. Besides, we must observe that God himself sometimes blinds the minds of men by depriving them of understanding and judgment; sometimes he does it through Satan and false prophets, whose lies make the people mad; sometimes he does it by his ministers, as when the doctrine of salvation is harmful and even deadly to the hearers. — John Calvin

What Kind of Person Dislikes Calvin?

This kind…

image via Brian Kelley on G+

Calvin: On The Word of God and its Study

[T]his passage [Dt 12:32] teaches that all those who reject the daily exercise of learning the Scriptures are godless men and quench, so far as it is within their power, the grace of the Spirit. – John Calvin

Calvin’s Letter to Bullinger on the Sacrament

Calvin wrote to Bullinger-

With regard to the sacraments in general, we neither bind up the grace of God with them, nor transfer to them the work or power of the Holy Spirit, nor constitute them the ground of the assurance of salvation. We expressly declare that it is God alone who acts by means of the sacraments, and we maintain that their whole efficacy is due to the Holy Spirit. Nor do we teach that the sacrament is of profit, otherwise than as it leads us by the hand to Christ, that we may seek in Him whatever blessings there are.