Today With Calvin: In Dispute With Hesshuss

On November 28, 1554 Calvin published a tract against one Hesshuss of Westphalia who had involved himself in dispute with the Reformer on the subject of the sacraments. That was a pretty bad idea on the part of Mr Hesshuss- for Calvin noted in the Preface:

It is the property of Satan to slander, to darken the light; and as the father of contention, to destroy peace, and break the unity of the faith. Such being the characteristics of this babbler, nothing remains for us but to designate him a child of the devil.”*

Yes, it’s a bad idea to annoy Calvin, known to many as ‘Mr I-Won’t-Put-Up-With-Any-Of-Your-Nonsense!’  I like that about him.

*The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer Volume 2 (281). New York: Robert Carter & Brothers.

A Conference on the Reformation with an Online Component

Emanuel University of Oradea together with the “Ethics and Society” Research Center is organizing a conference dedicated to the Reformation, under the title “The Reformation Revisited: A Revisitation of what the European Reformation Was, How It Occurred, and Why”. The conference will have an online format, which means that those participants who cannot travel to Emanuel University in Oradea, Romania, can sign up for an online presentation of the papers.

The conference aims to be the first of a series of biannual conferences that have the specific purpose of reanalyzing the Reformation in order to present a colorful, yet accurate and relevant  perspective on what the Reformation was, and why it is still relevant today.

Go here for more.


Ugh… ‘The Best Christian Book of All Time…’ Ugh…

I didn’t know anyone had ever read every Christian book ever written so as to know which is the best; and I didn’t realize time had ended so that we could speak of ‘all time’.  But good grief, Luther isn’t listed and neither is Zwingli but Rick Warren and John Piper are????  No offense to anyone but someone be on the crack.

Pardon me now but I have to go get a drill to drill into my skull to relieve the brewing aneurysm…

From the Archives of Zwingliana

Irena Backus wrote a fine essay in 2004 which was titled Bullinger als Neutestamentler:  Sein Kommentar zu den Paulusbriefen und den Evangelien. Students of both Church History and New Testament exegesis will enjoy it. It begins

In einem sehr interessanten Artikel aus dem Jahre 1975 untersucht Susi Hausammann Bullingers allererstes Traktat über biblische Hermeneutik. Das Traktat wurde als 22-seitiger Brief abgefasst, geschrieben am 30. November 1523. Bullinger richtete es im Namen von Wolfgang Joner, dem Abt von Kappel, an dessen ehemaligen Kommilitonen, Rudolf Asper.

Der Brief trägt den Titel De scripturae negotio und ist nie veröffentlicht worden. Hausammann geht es hauptsächlich darum zu zeigen, dass Bullingers Hermeneutik bereits vor seiner endgültigen Bekehrung zur Reformation in ihren wesentlichen Grundzügen ausgebildet war. Daher konzentriert sie sich darauf, die Berührungspunkte und Unterschiede zwischen Bullingers und Luthers Vorstellungen von der Bibel herauszuarbeiten.

Es geht mir in meinem Vortrag darum, die typischen Merkmale der Hermeneutik des jungen Bullingers zu beschreiben und dann ihre spätere Entwicklung, besonders in seinen Kommentaren zum Markus- und Lukasevangelium aufzuzeigen. Ich werde zudem danach fragen, wie Bullinger die Geschichte der Kirche in seine Hermeneutik und Exegese des Neuen Testaments einfließen lässt.

Told you it was worth reading!  Enjoy.

The Value of the Perseus Collection (via Theological Musings)

Nicely argued.

The Value of the Perseus Collection  I am sure most of you who read this blog know by now that Logos is gearing up to publish the massive Perseus Collection. I am still in shock that they are releasing all of this for free! Soon we will have at our fingerprints a wealth of information that can help shed light on many historical, cultural, and grammatical issues. So, if you haven’t yet jumped over to the pre-pub page at Logos I suggest you do that pronto! (but finish reading this fi … Read More

via Theological Musings

I’ve Added Another Link: Luthers Werke, Weimar Ausgabe

The older link pointed to the Calvin College website which is extremely useful of course.  But the new link takes readers directly to the most useful and authoritative edition of Luther, the rightly famed Weimar Ausgabe (complete!!!!).

Once someone asked Karl Barth which volumes in his library he counted the most important (after the Bible) and he pointed with his pipe at the Weimar Ausgabe sitting there on his shelves in pride of place.  He had been given the entire thing as a gift.

That you and I can access Luther’s works in their completeness from the comfort of our chairs… that’s what we call a blessing down here.

The link is in the nav panel and here.

‘Hand This Man Over to Satan…’

If ever there were a verse of Scripture totally ignored by modern Christianity, it’s this one (from 1 Cor 5:5)

παραδουναι τον τοιουτον τω σατανα εις ολεθρον της σαρκος ινα το πνευμα σωθη εν τη ημερα του κυριου.

Why does Paul say such a thing?  According to Calvin, he says such a thing in order to urge the Church to make use of its power of excommunication-

… delivering over to Satan is an appropriate expression for denoting excommunication; for as Christ reigns in the Church, so Satan reigns out of the Church … As, then, we are received into the communion of the Church, and remain in it on this condition, that we are under the protection and guardianship of Christ, I say, that he who is cast out of the Church is in a manner delivered over to the power of Satan, for he becomes an alien, and is cast out of Christ’s kingdom.

Naturally outside of Christ’s kingdom there’s no protection and Satan is free to do as he wishes; in the same way that a man thrown into a cage with a pit bull is subject to the ravaging of that particular beast, lacking, as he does, the protection offered by the fencing.

Calvin continues

Paul’s meaning is not that the person who is chastised is given over to Satan to be utterly ruined, or so as to be given up to the devil in perpetual bondage, but that it is a temporary condemnation, and not only so, but of such a nature as will be salutary. For as the salvation equally with the condemnation of the spirit is eternal, he takes the condemnation of the flesh as meaning temporal condemnation.

When the person excommunicated gets the tar beat out of them because Christ no longer protects them via the community of faith, they (hopefully) come to their senses and return, in repentance, to their former fidelity. That, at any rate, is the purpose of excommunication: i.e., to drive the excommunicated soul to repentance.

Perhaps if the Church practiced this aspect of discipline more widely, fewer people would go down the path of self destruction and immorality might even be curbed.

But don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath. The modern Church is far too weak and will-less to apply such discipline. It’s too afraid that it will ‘lose members’ – as though persons living in immorality were really members anyway.