Category Archives: Calvin

Is Calvin Talking About Satan, or Donald Trump?

Truth he [Satan] assails with lies, light he obscures with darkness. The minds of men he involves in error; he stirs up hatred, inflames strife and war, and all in order that he may overthrow the kingdom of God, and drown men in eternal perdition with himself. – Calvin

Though to be fair, he could be talking about Trump… prophetically…

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in Switzerland…

Doesn’t feature Luther, it features Zwingli and Calvin (as is just just)-

8cdcd4590ee41ee6b28b166787eaaeb0Starting in Wittenberg, 500 years ago Europe was in the grip of the Reformation, which led to cultural, social and political upheaval which still has an impact today. In Switzerland, due to the action of Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, the Reformation became an important catalyst on the road to the modern age, democracy and human rights.

Like in the rest of Europe, the anniversary of the Reformation is also being celebrated in Switzerland. But it is not a celebration of Martin Luther’s thesis, which according to tradition saw the light of day in Wittenberg in 1517. It is far more about the Reformation as a movement whose cultural, social and political potency still has an impact 500 years later. The main focus of the anniversary is the question of what the Reformation means for today’s generation and those of tomorrow, and not a return to a mystical date in time. This brings the achievements of the Reformation into the spotlight without forgetting the drawbacks and puts it into the service of ecumen-ical commitment. Further information is available at

– Coin image: 500 Years of Reformation
– Date of issue: 26 January 2017
– Design: Ben Pfäffli, Burgdorf
– Legal face value: 20 Swiss francs
– Alloy: silver 0.835
– Weight: 20 g
– Diameter: 33 mm
– Uncirculated in folder: 2,000 coins

Quote of the Day

calvin25Those are considered the best commanders who accomplish more by art and counsel than by mere violence. — John Calvin

Today With Calvin

On this day in 1537 Calvin published his

Articles concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship at Geneva proposed by the Ministers at the Council January 16, 1537

Which begins

Right Honourable Gentlemen: it is certain that a Church cannot be said to be well ordered and regulated unless in it the Holy Supper of our Lord is always being celebrated and frequented, and this under such good supervision that no one dare presume to present him self unless devoutly, and with genuine reverence for it. For this reason, in order to maintain the Church in its integrity, the discipline of excommunication is necessary, by which it is possible to correct those that do not wish to submit courteously and with all obedience to the Word of God. Further, it is a thing very expedient for the edification of the Church, to sing some psalms in the form of public devotions by which one may pray to God, or to sing his praise so that the hearts of all be roused and incited to make like prayers and render like praises and thanks to God with one accord. Third, it is strictly required and quite necessary for maintaining the people in purity of doctrine, that infants of tender age be so instructed that they are able to give reason for the faith, so that evangelical doctrine is not left to decay, and also that its substance be diligently maintained and transmitted from hand to hand and from father to son. Finally out of the tyranny which the! exercised in the matter of marriage and the iniquitous laws which he imposed, many controversies persist. To settle them, it would be advisable to make certain ordinances by which they may be controlled, and, if any difference of opinion arise, to take appropriate steps for composing them.

It’s a grand work, still worth reading.

‘Free Will’ Is A Term Fabricated out of Nothing – Calvin

Calvin writes

Free will [is a] term fabricated out of nothing. Scripture everywhere declares that man is captive, servant and slave of the devil, is carried away by all his inclinations into vice, and is unable to understand what the things of God are, let alone perform them.

He’s not wrong.  You’ll not find the notion of free will in Scripture.

Fun Facts From Church History: Reforming Gossips

One of the most entertaining things you can do is read the correspondence of the Reformers. They let fly all their true feelings about one another with aplomb and distinction. Their formal works are more restrained (imagine that!) than their private letters. For instance, publicly Calvin was always respectful towards Luther. Privately, with Bucer, he freely spoke his mind:

We learn from a letter to Bucer, dated January 12, 1538, that Calvin, amid all these movements in Geneva, sometimes employed his attention on Germany. In the writing referred to, he complains of Luther’s untractable nature, guards himself against his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, and speaks with a force and decision which plainly indicate that he never inclined to the opinions of the Lutherans. It is not clear what gave rise to this complaint, since Luther, in 1537, directed a friendly address to the burgomaster of Basel, and a very conciliatory one also, dated Dec. 1st of the same year, to the reformed Swiss cantons, congratulating them on the concord to which they had attained.*

Calvin’s letter is in his Opera Omnia x/2, Letter 87.  And it’s long.  Calvin was in a mood on the 12th of January, 1538.

*The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (Vol. 1, p. 123).

Leben und ausgewählte Schriften der Väter und Begründer der reformierten Kirche (11 Bände)

This was posted on 26 December, 2014.  Two years ago to the day.  And still it has neither appeared nor has it progressed.  Perhaps someone at Logos knows why?

I’ve discovered that Logos has plans to offer the 11 volumes of the magnificent Leben und ausgewählte schriften. Nach handschriftlichen und gleichzeitigen quellen. You should bid on it  ($20 is a total deal).

In the meanwhile (because I doubt that I will live long enough to see the project reach fruition given the pace of the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew and my own Commentary), you can find some of the volumes for Google Play (free)(and I couldn’t locate the others- but I’ll keep looking).

Huldrych Zwingli
Myconius and Oecolampadius
Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito
Peter Martyr Vermigli
Heinrich Bullinger
Olevianus and Ursinis
John Knox

leben-und-ausgewahlte-schriften-der-vater-und-begrunder-der-reformierten-kircheThe Logos collection includes:

The 2018 Calvin Conference at Westminster Theological Seminary

Since 1974, the International Calvin Congress has been meeting in forums around the globe to further the academic and theological study of John Calvin’s work. The Congress has been held at academic institutions in South Africa, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Switzerland and the United States. Westminster Theological Seminary is proud to be the selected institution for the 12th meeting of the Congress, which will be held August 26–31, 2018.

The purpose of the International Calvin Congress is to bring together scholars from around the world, both from university and seminary settings, who focus their work on the history and doctrines of John Calvin. The scholars who participate are not necessarily in ministry or church work, but they are scholars who universally recognize the importance of Calvin and the Reformation.

During the Congress meetings there are typically two plenary keynote addresses, along with several smaller sessions where scholars are invited to present papers on various topics. The main theme of the 2018 Congress is “John Calvin: the Bible’s Impact on Politics and Freedom.” The papers are typically presented in English, German or French, and many of them are formally published after the Congress.

In hosting the 2018 International Calvin Congress, Westminster will be welcoming many renowned Reformation scholars from across the globe. “We hope that our students will not only join us in welcoming the scholars onto our campus but will also participate in the conference by attending the lectures and, if appropriate, perhaps even share in presenting a short paper,” Lillback commented. Rules for paper submissions will be posted at a later date.

John Calvin will be honored in a number of ways at Westminster in 2018. Not only will the Congress be held on campus, but Dr. Carl Trueman and Dr. Bruce Gordon will be publishing their book, The Oxford Handbook of Calvin and Calvinism. This significant volume will contain 20–30 essays, each of which will be devoted to a unique aspect of Calvinism. Some of the topics include Calvinism in Brazil, Calvinism and Scottish literature, and Calvinism and secularism.

As we finish out the year, Westminster will be continuing preparations for the publication of this book as well as hosting the 2018 International Calvin Congress. Our Communications department is developing a website for the Congress, which will be live in the first half of 2017 and will provide information on event registration, paper submission and other important details. We will continue to update our website as further details are confirmed.

Mark your calendars!  The 2014 meeting in Zurich was absolutely brilliant, so Philadelphia is a must attend.  And keep a lookout for updates on the Conference website (on the off chance that I miss them).

Calvin On Those Who Lie About Faith

zwingli_calvinHow does [John] prove that they are liars who boast that they have faith without piety? even by the contrary effect; for he has already said, that the knowledge of God is efficacious. For God is not known by a naked imagination, since he reveals himself inwardly to our hearts by the Spirit. Besides, as many hypocrites vainly boast that they have faith, the Apostle charges all such with falsehood. –  John Calvin

Reformation Thursday: The Death of a Child

“The Lord has certainly inflicted a bitter wound in the death of our infant son. But He is Himself a father and knows what is good for His children.” —John Calvin

Read the post.

Giving Thanks Even in the Worst of Times

God has such a disposition towards us in Christ such that even in our afflictions we have large occasion of thanksgiving. For what is fitter or more suitable for pacifying us, than when we learn that God embraces us in Christ so tenderly, that he turns to our advantage and welfare everything that befalls us? Let us, therefore, bear in mind, that this is a special remedy for correcting our impatience—to turn away our eyes from beholding present evils that torment us, and to direct our views to a consideration of a different nature—how God views us in Christ. — John Calvin

The Newest Issue of Christian History Magazine

untitledThis one’s on Calvin and Councils.

Calvin is Significant, Sure, But Zwingli is Moreso

calvin4Einigen Kirchenhistorikern gilt Calvin als “Vollender der Reformation”. Auf ihn berufen sich heute mehr als 80 Millionen reformierte Christen weltweit – neben den Lutheranern der zweite große Zweig im Protestantismus. Calvin kam am 10. Juli 1509 rund 100 Kilometer von Paris entfernt in Noyon zur Welt – acht Jahre vor dem legendären Thesenanschlag Martin Luthers (1483-1546) gegen die Missstände seiner Kirche. Der “französische Luther” starb am 27. Mai 1564, im Alter von nur 54 Jahren, in Genf.

Enjoy the whole essay.

Reformation Thursday

This week the discussion is launched by a quote from John Calvin-

“The heavens are filled with God’s grandeur and majesty. His presence graces the earth, saturating creation with goodness and love.”

Read it here.

Calvin On the Restraint of Power

We know how insatiable are the desires of kings, inasmuch as they imagine that all things are lawful to them. Therefore, although the royal dignity may be splendid, God would not have it to be the pretext of unrestrained power, but restricts and limits it to legal bounds. — John Calvin

Quote of the Day

Via the Christian History Institute-


Zum Zusammenleben geboren: Johannes Calvin – Studien zu seiner Theologie

9783290178741Die durch Johannes Calvin geprägte reformierte Tradition hat einen bedeutenden Beitrag zur Erneuerung der Kirche geleistet. Eberhard Busch erinnert daran und entfaltet in mehreren Aufsätzen verschiedene Facetten des Denkens und Handelns des Genfer Reformators.

In Calvins Bemühen um ein friedliches Zusammenleben in seiner Zeit ist eine Botschaft vernehmbar, die gerade auch heute zu uns spricht. Sein Denken ist getragen vom Gebet und genährt vom Glauben, dass Gott uns zur Gemeinschaft geschaffen hat. Darum darf die Kirche Jesu Christi verschiedene Gestalten haben, aber nicht in getrennte Kirchen auseinanderfallen. Denn alle tragen Verantwortung und haben sich für das Recht der Armen einzusetzen.

Eberhard Busch versteht es, dem Leser und der Leserin Calvins Theologie näherzubringen. Er zeigt auch eher unbekannte Seiten des Reformators auf: zum Beispiel seine grosse Liebe zur Musik, die insbesondere im Genfer Psalter zum Ausdruck kommt.

The Greatest of the Reformers: Zwingli and Calvin

And they get their due in Debrecen.

Das Themenjahr “Reformation und die eine Welt” hat aufgezeigt, dass sich Reformation weder linear noch lokal, sondern gleichzeitig, vielfältig und weltweit abgespielt hat – und das auch weiterhin tut. Im Vorfeld der EKD-Synode unter dem Schwerpunktthema “Europa in Solidarität – Evangelische Impulse” fokussieren wir den Blick noch mal auf Europa. Zum Beispiel Debrecen: Die Reformationsstadt Europas öffnete sich früh den neuen Ideen und übernahm als Verwaltungszentrum und Schulstandort eine wichtige Schlüsselrolle.


The End of the Trial of Servetus and the Sentence Declared

October 26, 1553- the council of the City of Geneva writes

‘Having a summary of the process against the prisoner, Michael Servetus, and the reports of the parties consulted before us, it is hereby resolved, and, in consideration of his great errors and blasphemies, decreed, that he be taken to Champel, and there burned alive; that this sentence be carried into effect on the morrow, and that his books be burned with him.’

The council had little choice, since Servetus had

… spoken of the Trinity as a three-headed monster, comparable to the hell-dog of the heathen poets.

You might get away with that kind of nasty talk these days, but in the 16th century you only said that sort of thing if you had a death wish.  Servetus evidently did, since he decided he’d go to Geneva, of all places, to say them.

Quote of the Day: Or, Why Was Calvin so Contentious?

I see a sect the most execrable and pernicious that ever was in the world. I see that it does much harm, and is like a fire kindled for the general desolation and destruction, or as a contagious disease to infect the whole earth, unless some remedy is applied. Since, then, our Lord has called me to that office, my conscience constrains me to resist it so far as it is possible for me. — John Calvin