Tim Keller, in his recent book, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Scepticism, p50, notes:
Conclusion? For Beza, the ‘perfect preacher’ would be a combination of all three. Accordingly, ‘perfection’ is not attainable. Each preacher has a different combination of strengths and weaknesses. We should accept our strengths for what they are and seek to build on them. And we can recognise and weaknesses too, and strive to minimise their adverse effects.…
‘Original sin’, like some other terms (‘total depravity’, ‘unconditional election’, ‘limited atonement’, irresistible grace’ come immediately to mind) requires careful definition if it is to provide useful service in theological discussion.
For Calvin, original sin is
a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19).
C.H. Spurgeon had a portrait of John Gill, Baptist preacher and commentator, in his vestry. The portrait, says Spurgeon, ‘represents him after an interview with an Arminian gentleman, turning up his nose in a most expressive manner, as if he could not endure even the smell of free-will.’ (Commentating and Commentaries, p9)
Spurgeon himself, as a good Calvinist, had a similar distaste for the notion of ‘free will’. I must say that I sometimes feel that an appeal to free will is used too glibly by preachers in order to explain away some of the tougher points of Christian doctrine and experience.…
John Calvin deals with this doctrine fairly early on in the Institutes – in Book 1, Chapters 16-18.
In Chapter 16, he begins by asserting that ‘we see the presence of divine power as much in the continuing state of the universe as in its inception.’ In other words, God’s power is as apparent in his works of providence as it is in his work of creation. The One who made the world sustains and governs it.…
My eye was caught by a review in Christianity Today of a recent book by Kenneth J. Stewart entitled Ten Myths About Calvinism. Stewart writes as a Calvinist himself, but is somewhat critical of some trends and tendencies within the latest resurgence of the movement, especially as represented by the ‘young, restless and reformed’ brigade.
Here are some of the ‘myths’ about Calvinism, as identified by Stewart. These ones, he says, are all held by Calvinists themselves.…
It is clear to any reader of the works of John Calvin that he had a very high view of the truthfulness of Scripture. There are a handful of passages, however, where some have detected hints that the great Reformer thought that the Bible might err in matters of detail. These are categorised by J.I. Packer as follows:-
Passages in which God accommodates himself to human forms of thought and expression. Thus, Calvin did not think that we should look to Genesis 1 for scientific teaching on astronomy.
Unitarians, as far as I can tell, don’t believe in miracles. At least, they don’t believe in the kinds of miracles recorded in the Bible, including Christ’s Virgin Birth and resurrection.
However, while spending a bit of time exploring the beliefs and practices of Unitarians, I came across a rather extraordinary statement which, if true, would certainly have to be regarded as evidence for the miraculous.
Somewhat to my regret, I’ve made rather more this year of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth than I have of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’ s birth.
As a small contribution towards putting this right, I draw attention to a biography of Calvin by the noted scholar T.H.L. Parker. First published in 1954, it is now reissued by Desiring God Ministries and is available online here.
John Piper writes:-
I am eager for people to know Calvin not because he was without flaws, or because he was the most influential theologian of the last 500 years (which he was), or because he shaped Western culture (which he did), but because he took the Bible so seriously, and because what he saw on every page was the majesty of God and the glory of Christ.