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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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David Lee

John Calvin's 15 Surprisingly Catholic Views

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JOHN CALVIN'S 15 SURPRISINGLY CATHOLIC VIEWS (well, some are anyway :RpS_rolleyes:)

 

Posted by Dave Armstrong on Tuesday Oct 10th, 2017 at 6:01 PM

 

John Calvin was arguably even more influential on the history of subsequent Protestantism than its founder, Martin Luther was. He retained many traditional (literally or substantially Catholic) beliefs. The following quotes were all taken (save the last two) from his quintessential work, Institutions of the Christian Religion (translated by Henry Beveridge, 1845).

 

1. Calvin thought that the Church had the power of excommunication: “The Church binds him whom she excommunicates, not by plunging him into eternal ruin and despair, but condemning his life and manners, and admonishing him, that, unless he repent, he is condemned.” (Institutes, IV, 11:2)

 

2. Calvin believed that there was no salvation outside the Church: “Beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for, . . .” (IV, 1:4)

 

3. Calvin thought weekly Holy Communion was the minimum frequency: “The sacrament might be celebrated in the most becoming manner, if it were dispensed to the Church very frequently, at least once a-week.” (IV, 17:43)

 

4. Calvin believed in the primacy of St. Peter, as leader of the apostles: “There is no senate without a consul, no bench of judges without a president or chancellor, no college without a provost, no company without a master. Thus there would be no absurdity were we to confess that the apostles had conferred such a primacy on Peter.” (IV, 6:8)

 

5. Calvin accepted the primacy of the Roman Church in early Christian history: “I deny not that the early Christians uniformly give high honour to the Roman Church, and speak of it with reverence. . . . [it] adhered more firmly to the doctrine once delivered, . . .” (IV, 6:16)

 

6. Calvin believed in the indefectibility of the Church: “I always hold that the truth does not perish in the Church . . .” (IV, 9:13)

 

7. Calvin utterly detested denominations and sectarianism: “Hence the Church is called Catholic or Universal (August. Ep. 48), for two or three cannot be invented without dividing Christ; and this is impossible. All the elect of God are so joined together in Christ, that as they depend on one head, . . .” (IV, 1:2)

 

8. Calvin thought that sacraments produce real, beneficial effects: “They, by sealing it to us, sustain, nourish, confirm, and increase our faith.” (IV, 14:7) / “That sacred communion of flesh and blood by which Christ transfuses his life into us, just as if it penetrated our bones and marrow, . . .” (IV, 17:10)

 

9. Calvin taught that there was such a thing as a holy, sacred place: “God . . . descend to us, that he may be near to us, and yet neither change his place nor affect us by earthly means, but rather, . . . raise us aloft to his own heavenly glory, . . .” (IV, 1:5)

 

10. Calvin believed that human beings could be distributors or mediators of salvation: “In several passages he [st. Paul] . . . attributes to himself the province of bestowing salvation (1 Cor. 3:9).” (IV, 1:6)

 

11. Calvin seemingly accepted the notion of baptismal regeneration: “. . . forgiveness, which at our first regeneration we receive by baptism alone . . . we are washed from our sins by the blood of Christ.” (IV, 15:4)

 

12. Calvin approved of bodily mortification as spiritually beneficial: “In like manner, therefore, as persons accused were anciently wont, . . . to humble themselves suppliantly with . . . coarse garments, . . . weeping and fasting, and the like, undoubtedly belong, in an equal degree, to our age, whenever the condition of our affairs so requires.” (IV, 12:17)

 

13. Calvin believed that there was a profound causal connection between Holy Eucharist and salvation: “Nay, the very flesh in which he resides he makes vivifying to us, that by partaking of it we may feed for immortality. . . . by this food believers are reared to eternal life.” (IV, 17:8) / “. . . the food of eternal life.” (IV, 17:19) / “. . . secures the immortality of our flesh, . . .” (IV, 17:32)

 

14. Calvin held that contraception was gravely sinful: “It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. This wickedness is now as severely as is possible condemned by the Spirit, through Moses, that Onan, as it were, through a violent and untimely birth, tore away the seed of his brother out the womb, and as cruel as shamefully has thrown on the earth. Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime.” (Commentary on Genesis [38:10], translated by John King)

 

15. Calvin accepted the Catholic and scriptural belief of the perpetual virginity of Mary: “[On Matthew 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.” (Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, Geneva, 1562, Vol. I, p. 107; from Calvin’s Commentaries, translated by William Pringle, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1949)

 

http://m.ncregister.com/54740/b#.Wd-IyGiPJaR

 

--David

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You most likely have read more Calvin, for me it's all new, but what do you think of his personality, the bloke himself.

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Are these quotes in proper context? Unfortunately I've never read Calvin's institutes, but I know that it's written in a format where the Roman Catholic doctrines are stated and then Calvin's objections.

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Are these quotes in proper context? Unfortunately I've never read Calvin's institutes, but I know that it's written in a format where the Roman Catholic doctrines are stated and then Calvin's objections.

 

Hi IF, I got these quotes from a Roman Catholic source/website, so the commentary on the quotes and the opinions about what Calvin meant are all from Romans Catholics. IOW, this is hardly Institutes. I agree with some of it, and some of it I do not (as I mentioned at the top of the OP), so please read it with that understanding in mind.

 

--David

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How about one more: Paedobaptism. Neither Calvin nor Luther got clear of that one (with apologies to Paedobaptists!).

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what do you think of his personality, the bloke himself.

Hi @Matto, even though you weren't asking me, from what I have read Calvin was a very generous and pastoral guy. If memory serves he worked tirelessly to minister to his flock. Anybody care to comment or correct my memory here?

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what do you think of his personality, the bloke himself.

Hi @Matto, even though you weren't asking me, from what I have read Calvin was a very generous and pastoral guy. If memory serves he worked tirelessly to minister to his flock. Anybody care to comment or correct my memory here?

One other thing. If you are interested in a really easy introduction to Calvin's thought, you can try this new translation of a very popular little slice of the Institutes. It's pure gold, short, easy to read and quite beautiful, I think. Price is right too. https://www.ligonier.org/store/a-little-book-on-the-christian-life-leaves-paperback/

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You most likely have read more Calvin, for me it's all new, but what do you think of his personality, the bloke himself.

 

Hi Matto, Calvin was a serious, dedicated, hard worker for the Christian faith (IMHO to a fault as he normally got 4 hrs of sleep). He was a family man who loved his wife and children dearly (she was formerly Anabaptist if memory serves before marrying Calvin), and he was willing to do what he had to do for the faith, and to help others come to the faith, even when it meant putting his own life on the line for his enemies at times, like Servetus.

 

Unlike Luther, he was more of the quiet, scholarly type, and he was very consistent with his theology throughout his life (again, unlike Luther). He was extremely prolific, his most famous work being The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which to this day is the single best/most complete description we have of the Protestant faith. Here is a short except from that book. As you will see, he has a VERY high opinion of the church militant ("visible church").

As it is now our purpose to discourse of the visible Church, let us learn, from her single title of Mother, how useful, nay, how necessary the knowledge of her is, since there is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels, (Matthew. 22:30.) For our weakness does not permit us to leave the school until we have spent our whole lives as scholars. Moreover, beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for, as Isaiah and Joel testify, (Isaiah. 37:32; Joel 2:32.)
~Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1845). Institutes of the Christian religion (Vol. 3, p. 13). Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society
.

 

He was/is greatly loved by many, however many more have and perhaps always will hate both him and, in particular, his soteriology, as it so emphasizes the sovereignty of God rather than of man. He is most infamously known for his role in the burning of Michael Servetus at the stake, a heretic who was imprisoned by the RCC and was to be burned at the stake by the RC's for heresy, but escaped their prison and made it to Geneva (where he was captured and sentenced by the town of Geneva to the very same fate). Calvin is blamed because Geneva was his town (though he was not directly to blame for the burning and, in fact, stood against it).

 

He led both an interesting and, at the same time, frightening life, especially for someone who had such a frail constitution in comparison to Luther's. Between that and regularly burning the candle at both ends, he died at age 54.

 

There is much, much more, of course. Again, I do not believe anyone has been hated so unfairly by so many over the years, but Calvinist soteriology brings out the worst in some it seems.

 

--David

p.s. - he was quite the writer. In fact, due principally to Calvin, the French language became the principle international language of the world from the 16th to the mid-20th Century, when English finally began to replace it.

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How about one more: Paedobaptism. Neither Calvin nor Luther got clear of that one (with apologies to Paedobaptists!).

But they didn't baptize for the same reason as the RCC does, which is baptismal regeneration.

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You most likely have read more Calvin, for me it's all new, but what do you think of his personality, the bloke himself.

 

Hi Matto, Calvin was a serious, dedicated, hard worker for the Christian faith (IMHO to a fault as he normally got 4 hrs of sleep). He was a family man who loved his wife and children dearly (she was formerly Anabaptist if memory serves before marrying Calvin), and he was willing to do what he had to do for the faith, and to help others come to the faith, even when it meant putting his own life on the line for his enemies at times, like Servetus.

 

Unlike Luther, he was more of the quiet, scholarly type, and he was very consistent with his theology throughout his life (again, unlike Luther). He was extremely prolific, his most famous work being The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which to this day is the single best/most complete description we have of the Protestant faith. Here is a short except from that book. As you will see, he has a VERY high opinion of the church militant ("visible church").

As it is now our purpose to discourse of the visible Church, let us learn, from her single title of Mother, how useful, nay, how necessary the knowledge of her is, since there is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels, (Matthew. 22:30.) For our weakness does not permit us to leave the school until we have spent our whole lives as scholars. Moreover, beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for, as Isaiah and Joel testify, (Isaiah. 37:32; Joel 2:32.)
~Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1845). Institutes of the Christian religion (Vol. 3, p. 13). Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society
.

 

He was/is greatly loved by many, however many more have and perhaps always will hate both him and, in particular, his soteriology, as it so emphasizes the sovereignty of God rather than of man. He is most infamously known for his role in the burning of Michael Servetus at the stake, a heretic who was imprisoned by the RCC and was to be burned at the stake by the RC's for heresy, but escaped their prison and made it to Geneva (where he was captured and sentenced by the town of Geneva to the very same fate). Calvin is blamed because Geneva was his town (though he was not directly to blame for the burning and, in fact, stood against it).

 

He led both an interesting and, at the same time, frightening life, especially for someone who had such a frail constitution in comparison to Luther's. Between that and regularly burning the candle at both ends, he died at age 54.

 

There is much, much more, of course. Again, I do not believe anyone has been hated so unfairly by so many over the years, but Calvinist soteriology brings out the worst in some it seems.

 

--David

p.s. - he was quite the writer. In fact, due principally to Calvin, the French language became the principle international language of the world from the 16th to the mid-20th Century, when English finally began to replace it.

Thanks Dave.

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