Can You Be A Christian If You Don’t Accept the Facticity of the Resurrection?


calvin_consistory_1549As the resurrection of Christ is the most important article of our faith, and without it the hope of eternal life is extinguished, for this reason the Evangelists are the more careful to prove it, as John here collects many proofs, in order to assure us that Christ is risen from the dead. It may be thought strange, however, that he does not produce more competent witnesses; for he begins with a woman; but thus the saying is fulfilled, that God chooseth what is weak, and foolish, and contemptible in the world, that he may bring to nought the wisdom, and excellence, and glory, of the flesh, (1 Cor. 1:27.) There certainly was nothing more of earthly grandeur in the disciples than in the women who followed Christ; but as Christ was pleased to reckon them the principal witnesses of his resurrection, on this single ground their testimony is entitled to the greatest deference, and is not liable to any objection. As to the priests and scribes, and the whole people, and even Pilate, nothing but gross and wilful blindness prevented them from firmly believing that Christ was risen. All of them, therefore, deserved that seeing they should not see; yet Christ revealed himself to the little flock. — John Calvin

luther“Clever men see that the church is despised and that others are exalted. They judge according to reason, without the Word of God, and thus reach this conclusion. Hence it comes to pass that they despise all religion and say that the article concerning the resurrection was only invented to terrify the common people. Peasants, however, seldom go so far as to despise God and religion, for they hardly think about such things. But clever people are interested in them, reflect upon them, and weigh them according to reason. Such a man is Erasmus. Other very clever men support this epicurean. But we know that the Holy Scriptures are confirmed, as no other teaching can be, by such miracles as the raising of the dead, the expulsion of demons, etc. It is for this reason that our Lord God warns us so often to abide by the Holy Scriptures. — Martin Luther

zwingli_1833On the other hand, if He had not risen again from death to life, who would believe that one who had been put to death, so that there was no life or force left in Him, was a real God? I believe, therefore, that the real Son of God really died as far as His human nature was concerned, that we might be made sure of the expiation of our sins. I believe, that He also really rose again from the dead, that we might be sure of everlasting life. For in all that Christ is, He is ours; all that He accomplished is ours. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to quicken us into life [John 3:16]. When, therefore, He rose again, He rose again for us, beginning by it our own resurrection. Hence also Paul calls Him “the first fruits of them that sleep” [1 Cor. 15:20], that is, of the dead, for when He lives, being dead, He shows that we also live when we die, for this is the signification of the word “to rise again” in Hebrew—to remain, persist, endure. Hence Paul reasons as to both alternatives thus: If Christ rose again, that is, lived when He was believed to be dead, and took up His body again, there is for us a resurrection of the dead. Behold, most learned King, the strength of the reasoning lies in this, that Christ is ours, and that every activity of His is ours. Otherwise, “Christ rose again; therefore we also rise again,” would not follow any more than if one argued, “The king has power to free from punishment him whom the judge has sentenced; therefore every one has this power.” Hence this would not follow either, “Since Christ did not rise again, neither shall we rise again,” for Christ can live and rise again by His own power, which we cannot do by ours. But, [since Paul argues] if Christ had not risen again, there would be no resurrection for us, it is clear that He made the power of His resurrection ours and all men’s. This is what holy men had in view when they said that Christ’s body nourishes us unto the resurrection, by which they simply wished to show that when Christ, who is wholly ours, rose again, we were thereby made sure that we also live in the spirit when dead in the body, and shall some day live again with the same body. — Huldrych Zwingli

The Romantic Side of John Calvin

calvin976You read that right.  John ‘The Romance-er’ Calvin – when he pondered the fairer sex and particularly what sort he would marry, here’s what the old Don Juan had in mind:

“In the midst of all these important movements, I enjoy such tranquillity that I am venturing to think of marriage. Some one proposed to me a young lady of noble family, rich, and above my rank. Two reasons kept me from forming a union with this lady. In the first place, she did not know our language; and, in the next, I feared she might think too much of her rank and education.

Her brother, a very pious man, insisted upon it; but only because he was so blinded by regard for me, that he altogether neglected every other consideration. His wife rivalled him in his efforts to accomplish the union, so that I should have been almost compelled to give my hand, if the Lord had not made me free.

When I answered, that I could take no step unless the young lady promised to employ herself diligently in the study of our language, she expressed her wish to have time for consideration.

On this, I immediately sent my brother, with a good man, to offer my addresses to another lady, who, if she comply with their request, will bring me a great dowry, though without any wealth, for she is wonderfully praised by all who know her. If she come, as we certainly believe she will, we shall not defer the marriage beyond the 10th March.

How rejoiced should I be if you could be present to bless the union! But as I gave you more than enough trouble last year, I dare not ask it. If any one of the brethren, however, intends to visit us, I wish it might be at that time, so that he might stand in your place. Although I should be laughed at, were it to turn out that I have been deceived in my hopes, yet, as I trust the Lord will help me, I speak of the thing as certain.”

She has to speak French and not be snooty…  Talk about dreaming the impossible dream, John…

Calvin, to His Children


Well… The Presbyterians May Be Impressed With Themselves…

s-PRESBYTERIAN-GAY-CLERGY-largeAfter three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.

The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly.  The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Calvin at 27

Calvin at 27

But John Calvin says

v. 26 God therefore gave them up, &c. After having introduced as it were an intervening clause, he returns to what he had before stated respecting the judgment of God: and he brings, as the first example, the dreadful crime of unnatural lust; and it hence appears that they not only abandoned themselves to beastly lusts, but became degraded beyond the beasts, since they reversed the whole order of nature. He then enumerates a long catalogue of vices which had existed in all ages, and then prevailed everywhere without any restraint.

It is not to the purpose to say, that every one was not laden with so great a mass of vices; for in arraigning the common baseness of men, it is proof enough if all to a man are constrained to acknowledge some faults. So then we must consider, that Paul here records those abominations which had been common in all ages, and were at that time especially prevalent everywhere; for it is marvellous how common then was that filthiness which even brute beasts abhor; and some of these vices were even popular. And he recites a catalogue of vices, in some of which the whole race of man were involved; for though all were not murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, yet there were none who were not found polluted by some vice or another. He calls those disgraceful passions, which are shameful even in the estimation of men, and redound to the dishonouring of God.*

Yes, the PCUSA might be patting itself on the back, but Calvin isn’t smiling. At all.
*Calvin, J., Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 78–79).

Quote of the Day

calvin02Sometimes the shamefulness of evil-doing presses upon the conscience so that one, imposing upon himself no false image of the good, knowingly and willingly rushes headlong into wickedness. –  John Calvin

A Bargain on a Great Book on Calvin

kindleYou can pick up Herman Selderhuis’s excellent bio of Calvin for kindle for a paltry $3.99.  You’ll learn a lot from one of today’s most expert interpreters of Calvin and the Reformation.

With thanks to Doug Iverson for the heads up.

Quote of the Day


Calvin Helps You See Stuff More Clearly


Today With Calvin

On 21 February 1538, Calvin wrote Bullinger

“In general, we are looked on here as preachers rather than pastors. We cannot have a Church that will stand unless the discipline of the apostles be restored.  There is much alteration which we earnestly desire, but which can be effected only by our applying ourselves to it with faith, diligence, and perseverance. Oh, that a pure and sincere agreement might at length be established among us! Would there be any obstacle in the way of the meeting of a synod, at which everyone might propose what he believed to be useful to the Churches?”

Calvin and Zwingli: The Great Debate

What was the most pressing debate of the 16th century and beyond?  Which of these two humble Godly theologians was the best.


They both are the best!


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