Calvin's Institutes

In the last section of the golden book Calvin asks how the present life and its comfort should be used by the Christian. The question of use invites us to think about fit. In other words, says Calvin, we must let the use of God’s gifts “be governed by their author’s purpose.” [1] Imagine a group of...
Perspective, having the right perspective, is often times the difference between life and death. It was Joseph’s unique perspective that allowed him to look back on all the suffering he endured, all the evil done to him, and be able to conclude it was all meant for good under God’s hand of...
“Life will get worse.” What if that were one half of a ubiquitous Christian bumper sticker? “Follow me to Jesus. Life will get worse.” Maybe a little tacky, but it would be truth in advertising. To follow the Man of sorrows is to enter a life of sorrows. It is this lesson Calvin works out his...
In the summer of 1536, promising young author John Calvin was traveling to Strasbourg to pursue a quiet life in academics. He spent one night in Geneva on his journey, where he was approached with an offer from a local minister, William Farel. Farel persuaded Calvin—under threat of God’s cursing—to...
I remember the first time I saw John Calvin’s personal seal—an outstretched hand holding a heart—in a hallway on the campus of Calvin College, now University, in Grand Rapids. Surrounding the upheld heart are the words of his motto, in Latin or English: Cor Meum Tibi Offero, Domine, Prompter et...
John Calvin, the great French Reformer who devoted most of his ministry to the church in Geneva, ranks amongst the most influential theologians of all time. His legacy to the church – and, indeed to the world – goes far beyond what many realise. But out of the many aspects of his legacy there is...
Recently, a video of Francis Chan surfaced in which he tries to explain what he now believes about the real physical presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Without wishing to dissect the many erroneous arguments Chan made about the unity of the visible Church throughout the first fifteen hundred...
Some find it misguided to praise men. It was, after all, the Corinthian problem that they openly declared their allegiance to men: Apollos, Paul, or Peter. In doing so they caused major divisions in the Corinthian church. But we are not, I think, to conclude from this that we are never to express...
Calvin's Institutes opens with a strikingly important sentence--crafted first by a young man in his mid-twenties and only fine tuned between its first appearance in 1536 and its final expression a few years before his death. Wisdom--the knowledge coupled with practical understanding and piety that...

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