John Calvin: The Accidental Reformer

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John Calvin

John Calvin was a sixteenth century French theologian, best known for his prominent role in the Reformation and his influential theology. More than four and a half centuries after his death, Calvin’s teachings continue to shape Christian beliefs, particularly regarding predestination and God’s absolute sovereignty.

In his lifetime, Calvin became a well-known (and controversial) Christian leader and a major fixture of the Reformation—but that almost didn’t happen. If it hadn’t been for a fateful encounter in Geneva, Switzerland, Calvin may have never stepped into the limelight.

In their online course, Church History 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day, scholars Frank A. James III and John Woodbridge discuss John Calvin’s life and influence, and expose the moment when his life dramatically changed course in…

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Extracurricular Activities 10.25.14—J.I. Packer’s Conversion, A Softer Calvinism, & The Parish’s Death

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Justin Taylor Reflects on J. I. Packer’s Conversion — 70 Years Ago

On Sunday, October 22, 1944—seventy years ago today—it is doubtful that anyone noticed a soft-spoken, lanky, and decidedly bookish first-year university student leaving his dormitory room at Corpus Christi College and heading across Oxford for an evening Christian Union service at a local Anglican church.

18-year-old Jim Packer had arrived at Oxford University less than three weeks prior, a single suitcase in hand, traveling east by train from Gloucester using a free ticket available to family members of Great Western Railway employees…

Ben Myers Outlines 12 “Grammatical Rules” of Christology

I’ve just finished another semester teaching christology. This is one of my favourite classes. (My other favourite is the Trinity.) Really it’s one of the joys of my life to be able to explore such things…

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Carolyn Custis James, John Piper and Collin Hansen – Panel Discussion on New Calvinists

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This video was posted by Desiring God ministries. Carolyn Custis James, John Piper, and Collin Hansen participated in a panel discussion on the New Calvinists for the Religious Newswriters Association.

There are video and audio clips of John Piper's and Collin Hansen's presentations here. There's also a video of the panel's Q and A time with the newswriters – don't miss it.

Carolyn Custis James (MA, Biblical Studies) travels extensively as a popular speaker for women's conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Her ministry organization, Whitby Forum, promotes thoughtful biblical discussion to help men and women serve God together. She is a consulting editor for Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament and author of When Life and Beliefs Collide, The Gospel of Ruth and Lost Women of the Bible.…

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Why I’m a “Calminian” by Craig Blomberg

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"You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Gen. 50:20).

Blombergc If either pure five-point Calvinism or its consistent repudiation in pure Arminianism were completely faithful to Scripture, it is doubtful that so many Bible-believing, godly evangelical Christians would have wound up on each side. The former wants to preserve the Scriptural emphasis on divine sovereignty; the latter, on human freedom and responsibility. Both are right in what they want and correct to observe in Scripture the theme that they stress. Both also regularly create caricatures of what the other side believes. Straw men are always the easiest to knock down.

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John Calvin’s Institutes: 2.11.1 (on Justification)

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Justification by Faith: First the Definition of the Word and of the Matter

Christ was given to us by God's generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace; namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ's blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ's spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.

Excerpt from Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 1, ed. McNeill, John T. Westminster, 1960, pg.725

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Return to Calvin: A Personal Reflection on how Calvinism has Lost its Way
By Douglas Estes

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under .

Douglas_Estes A knock came at my door.

Even though I was studying, I pulled my feet off my desk, jumped up from my chair and opened the door of the closet that was my seminary dorm room without any hesitation. After all, it was the middle of the day and I had dormmates who would soon be returning from classes looking to hang before dinner. Instead of friends, it was two big men—they were students but I didn’t really know them. They were dressed nicely but perspiring terribly in the Carolina spring heat.

"Are you a Calvinist?" one of the sweaty men asked without any salutation or introduction.

"No." Here we go, I thought.

"Can we share with you the five points of Calvinism?" asked the second one.


"But—look—as Spurgeon said there is ‘no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach Calvinism. Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else,’" declared the first fellow.

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John Calvin: Why He Would Have Embraced Social-Networking
(and Why We Should, too) by Douglas Estes

ZA Blog on 9 years ago. Tagged under ,.

John-Calvin-FB John Calvin is up late reworking some rudiments of the faith and preparing for tomorrow’s lectures.

11 minutes ago · Comment · Like

There is no doubt that John Calvin, had he lived during our time of blogs and tweets, would have fully embraced social-networking technologies—even though he was not known to be a strongly social person.

By all accounts, John Calvin had a choleric personality. As a result, he had a passion for what he felt was truth, and an unending desire to see that truth known. At times, that made Calvin as pleasurable as sandpaper on bare skin, especially to those with whom he disagreed. Due to the success of his ministry, as well as some of his more visible personality flaws, Calvin’s detractors had a great deal of ammunition to use against him.

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John Calvin, Virtual Church Pioneer by Douglas Estes

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(Z Academic welcomes author, pastor, and NT scholar, Douglas Estes, for a week long series on Koinonia!)

Calvin-3 John Calvin was not only one of the church’s greatest trailblazers; he was also one of the virtual church’s leading pioneers. In fact, John Calvin was all about virtual churches. Even though Calvin lived almost a half-millennium before the first virtual church was born, were he alive today he would be a fan—though he also would be unsatisfied with the direction that most virtual churches are taking.

Calvin was a pre-Enlightenment Christian, meaning that he was born before the modern ideal became the mindset in the Western world. As such, he held many non-modern viewpoints about the church. Let’s look at two examples.

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John Calvin’s Commentary: John 1:6

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6. There was a man sent by God, whose name was John. 7. He came for a testimony, that he might testify of the light; that by him all might believe. John 1:6-7

6. There was a man. The Evangelist now begins to discourse about the manner in which the Son of God was manifested in flesh; and that none may doubt that Christ is the eternal Son of God, he relates that Christ was announced by John the Baptist, as his herald. For not only did Christ exhibit himself to be seen by men, but he chose also to be made known by the testimony and doctrine of John; or rather, God the Father sent this witness before his Christ, that they might more willingly receive the salvation offered by him.

But it might at first sight appear ridiculous…

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John Calvin’s Commentary: Psalm 1:1

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1. Blessed are they who are upright in their way, walking in the law of Jehovah. Psalm 1:1

1. Blessed are they who are upright. In these words the prophet sets forth the same paradox which we met with at the commencement of the Book of Psalms. All men naturally aspire after happiness, but instead of searching for it in the right path, they designedly prefer wandering up and down through endless by-paths, to their ruin and destruction. The Holy Spirit deservedly condemns this apathy and blindness. And but for man's cupidity, which, with brutish impetuosity, hurries him in the opposite direction, the meaning of the words would appear quite plain to him. And the farther a man wanders from God, the happier does he imagine himself to be; and hence all treat, as a fable, what the Holy Spirit…

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John Calvin’s Institutes: 1.6.1

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Scripture Is Needed as Guide and Teacher for Anyone Who Would Come to God the Creator

1. God bestows the actual knowledge of himself upon us only in the Scriptures

That brightness which is bornein upon the eyes of all men both in heaven and on earth is more than enough to withdraw all support from men's ingratitude – just as God, to involve the human race in the same guilt, sets forth to all without exception his presence portrayed in his creatures. Despite this, it is needful that another and better help be added to direct us aright to the very Creator of the universe. It was not in vain, then, that he added the light of his Word by which to become known unto salvation; and he regarded as worthy of this privilege those whom he pleased to…

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John Calvin: His legacy in commentaries, not just the institutes by Mark L. Strauss

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StraussM As the 500th birthday of John Calvin approaches (July 10th), theologians around the world will be reflecting on and celebrating this man’s remarkable legacy. Calvin is perhaps best known for his Institutes of the Christian Religion, his magnum opus on Reformed Theology. Yet Calvin also wrote commentaries on almost every book in the Bible. For me, at least, these may be his most lasting legacy. Calvin embodied through his life, ministry and scholarship the spirit of sola scriptura.

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