John Calvin: The Accidental Reformer
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…
3 Misconceptions of One of the Most Unknown, Fruitful Theological Ideas
Arminianism, check. Lutheranism, check. Calvinism, big check. But Molinism, named after the Catholic reformer and Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina? Mostly unknown.
Yet, as Kirk MacGregor reveals in his new book Luis de Molina, “Molina’s thought is quite relevant to Christians of all theological stripes, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox.” (12) In fact, middle knowledge is “one of the four principal views on divine providence and omniscience, alongside Calvinism, open theism, and simple foreknowledge.” (13)
Perhaps the reason why Molina’s theology is so unknown is because he is largely unknown. While Bainton gave us Here I Stand and Cottret Calvin: A Biography,…
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Election
When thinking about the doctrine of election is it impossible not to stand in the shadow of great thinkers that have gone before. Aside from the biblical witness (where the name of St. Paul looms large), there are figures like St. Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Karl Barth. Of these, Calvin and Barth are the ones with whom I have found the most fruitful dialogue. There is debate about Calvin’s position, of course, but not really about the nature of the view he espoused, but more about the implications and consequences of the doctrine of double predestination he avowed. (This is the notion that God predestines some, the elect, to salvation and in some sense predestines the rest of humanity to perdition as the reprobate.) But debate about the shape of Barth’s view as well as…
[Common Places] The Promise and Prospects of Retrieval: Recent Developments in Protestant Scholasticism
Many people who think that they despise the theology of John Calvin change their mind once they actually take time to read his writings. I’ve seen it again and again in the classroom—both as a student, and as a teacher.
When this has happened, however, I’ve often heard a warning: Calvin may be biblical, dynamic, and Christ-centered, but steer clear of those seventeenth century “Calvinists.” Rather than going straight to the Bible, they got distracted by the medieval scholastics; rather than being pastoral and Christ-centered, the Reformed Scholastics were rationalists whose writings don’t edify the church.
Twenty years after hearing these warnings in college, I can say that they reveal more about those giving the warnings than the Protestant Scholastics themselves.
There has been a sea change in scholarship on Protestant Scholasticism, and its…
Developments in My Field of Study — Schreiner Says Luther & Calvin Were Right About Paul
(Can't see the video? Watch it here)
In 2010 I had the chance to listen to one of the heavy-hitting voices in one of the most significant developments in Pauline studies, the New Perspective on Paul. That voice was Tom Schreiner, professor of NT studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and contributor to Four Views on the Apostle Paul.
Today Schreiner looks back on this development, particularly how it's grown from an obscure academic subtopic to a more mainstream one in churches.
He also shares what he consideres to be his conclusions on the matter:
One of the things I've argued for and I believe…is that the Reformers were…
Carolyn Custis James, John Piper and Collin Hansen – Panel Discussion on New Calvinists
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.…
John Calvin’s Institutes: 2.11.1 (on Justification)
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
John Calvin: Why He Would Have Embraced Social-Networking
(and Why We Should, too) by Douglas Estes