The sun is not just to look at…

John Calvin: “If we wish to have the sun, for no other cause than to stand idly gazing upon it like people in wonder, how futile that would be. The doctrine of the gospel, it shines, not for us to spend our lives debating silly speculations but in order that we should get to work, and each one of us discover where we can and ought to do service, and as a result make the most of the light God’s given us.” Continue reading The sun is not just to look at…

If Luther called me Satan

John Calvin: “I hear that Luther has at length broken forth in fierce invective, not so much against you as against as against the whole of us. On the present occasion, I dare scarce venture to ask you to keep silence, because it is neither just that innocent persons should thus be harassed, nor that they should be denied the opportunity of clearing themselves; neither, on the other hand, is it easy to determine whether it would be prudent for them to do so. But of this I do earnestly desire to put you in mind, in the first place, … Continue reading If Luther called me Satan

Turn to Jesus

Dundee, September 1842 From Robert Murray McCheyne to a friend Dear ___________________, I was glad indeed to see, by the line you sent me, that though your mind is dark and troubled, you have not gone back to the world. Ah, it is a false, deceiving world! It smiles only to betray. I want to lead you to taste the peace that passeth understanding, and that it is only to be found in Jesus You are quite wrong in thinking that I do not understand your misery. I know it well. It is true Jesus does give me peace. He … Continue reading Turn to Jesus

Calvin on Prayer

If you have been in church for any period of time, you’ve heard a lot of great stuff about prayer. You probably could even say alot of great stuff about prayer yourself. But I wonder if some of us, we’ve got this thought that’s way at the back of our minds that we wouldn’t tell anyone else, a nagging doubt, that actually has a whole lot more influence in our lives than all the nice things we can say about prayer. To paraphrase John Calvin, Doesn’t God already know what I need? In other words, why pray? Why have prayer … Continue reading Calvin on Prayer

Blogging Calvin

Knowing God. Knowing about God. There’s a big difference. Everyone knows about God in a sense, that’s Romans 1. But knowing God. Relationship. Understanding what pleases Him. What He desires from us. That’s what we want. And Calvin says that the difference between a person knowing about God and knowing God has something to do with piety. As one of the editors of the Institutes notes, “It is a favorite emphasis in Calvin that pietas, piety, in which reverence and love of God are joined, is prerequisite to any true knowledge of God.” Getting more specific, Calvin goes on to … Continue reading Blogging Calvin

Blogging Calvin

(Part Six) I don’t think it is too hard to prove that knowing God is the most important pursuit in life. Not just knowing that there is a God. Romans 1 tells us that everyone knows that. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood thorugh what was has been made.” But knowing God. To “grasp” as Calvin puts it, “what befits us and is proper to his glory…what is our advantage to know of him.” He’s already given us reasons in the Institutes as to … Continue reading Blogging Calvin

Blogging Calvin…

(Part Five) It would seem that there are few things more important than truly knowing yourself. Obviously you are going to live with yourself for a while so it’s a good thing to know a little bit about who you are. It’s one of the differences really between being sane and being delusional. If a person doesn’t really know who he is, that means he thinks he is someone he’s not, which some people would call being out of your mind. It’s funny though or maybe sad is a better way to put it, with the knowledge of oneself being … Continue reading Blogging Calvin…

Blogging Calvin…

(Part Four) It’s impossible to really know God without really knowing yourself. It’s no wonder Satan’s got so many schemes and strategies for keeping us from seeing ourselves for who really are. If we have a distorted image of ourselves we will end up with a distorted image of God. Clement of Alexandria put it like this, “If one knows himself, he will know God.” Of course to truly know oneself you have to know God, which is probably why John Calvin begins every version of Institutes basically the same way. “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to … Continue reading Blogging Calvin…

Blogging Calvin…

(Part Three) Tradition. It seems like we as Christians can make two errors when it comes to tradition. One is to completely ignore it. The other is to be enslaved to it. As a pastor this is a challenge when studying the Scripture. Some like new interpretations just because they are new. Others have a hard time seeing the text for what it is because they are so controlled by what they have been told the text is supposed to say. I think we have to face this as a real challenge. I’m not sure I have all the answers … Continue reading Blogging Calvin…