Wayne, Garth and John Calvin

My attitude towards  Top 10 lists may be summed up with one word, to quote Brick Top, “Ehh.”

However that didn’t stop me from recruiting Wayne and Garth to present my Top 10 dishes (below) or previously posting the Top 10 quotes of 2007.

waynes-top10-list
A list only a cardiologist and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals could love.

In my previous post I intimated that 2009, for me, would be the year of Calvin, this in reference to my stated goal of getting through his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

I’m roughly following the reading plan found here.

The same folks (Reformation21) also published a post titled, Why read through Calvin’s Institutes in 2009? , in which Pastor Ligon Duncan gives his Top 10 answers to that very question.

My ehhness toward Top 10 lists doesn’t prevent me from listing Pastor Duncan’s Top 10, they are as follows:

  1. Because it is the most important book written in the last 500 years.
  2. Because it is foundational for every Reformed systematic theology ever since.
  3. Because Calvin was the best exegete in the history of Christianity.
  4. Because Calvin is one of the five greatest theologians in Christian history.
  5. Because he wrote it as a “sum of piety” not as an arid, speculative dogmatic treatise.
  6. Because it gave J.I. Packer the idea for “Knowing God.”
  7. Because Calvin thought and wrote succintly and clearly. “Brevitas et claritas” was his motto – brief and clear!
  8. Because you will know God better, if you read it prayerfully and believingly.
  9. Because it’s the 500th anniversary year of Calvin’s birthday. Don’t be a party pooper.
  10. Because I agree with what Derek and Iain say in their posts.
Advertisements

Calvin in ’09

Gift cards. To some they are the very antithesis of the gift giving spirit associated with Christmas. Whether or not they are one more sign that the apocalypse is upon us I can’t say, but having received an American Express variant for Christmas, I did make use of it shortly thereafter.

What did I purchase? The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (Published by Hendrickson).

The work was originally written in Latin, and since my 2 years of high school Latin mostly taught me that there was a shortage of Latin teachers and not much beyond that, I must read a translation of Calvin’s magnum opus.

I’ve read books on Reformed theology who cite Calvin but have never read anything written by the man himself. It seemed best to go straight to the source, especially one associated with so much controversy (is that the right word?)

I started reading and found it not too difficult to follow, it is an immense help that the edition I purchased has footnotes as well as several indices (Scripture, people, works) in the back. Didn’t get out of Book 1 before I found out that the good folks over at Reformation 21 are blogging through Calvin’s work in 2009:

Blogging the Institutes

So without further ado, we present the unofficial poster of “Blogging the Institutes”,

john-calvin

Mohler at New Attitude 2008

Dr. Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, held a Q&A session, you can download the audio here.

On special revelation [Scripture], he quotes one of his mentors Carl F. Henry,

Revelation is God’s gracious self-disclosure whereby He forfeits His own personal privacy so that His sinful creatures might know Him.

On Biblical inerrancy,

The doctrine of inerrancy is necessary but not sufficient. If you do away with it you cast doubt on every single word of Scripture and usually those who do that have an agenda that becomes very transparent very quickly. In other words, there is something in the text they don’t like or can’t handle.

On the Christian response to homosexuality,

We can also say too much by trying to elaborate upon what the Scripture says as if the Scripture has a focus on homosexuality in 3rd Corinthians

On Postmodernism,

What if the postmodernists are right and the Scripture means what you say it means? Well you pretty much end up with Christianity in America, I guess. That’s pretty much what it looks like, but that’s the problem isn’t it? The only corrective is the Scripture means what God meant and it’s our responsibility and discipline to study the Scriptures to hear the Word of God and to obey.

Looking forward to reading Dr. Mohler’s book, Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth.

The Invisible Church

The Church is not a building. She is a people. People who regularly attend church services go to church but may or may not be part of the Church.

This from J.I. Packer’s brief but treasure-packed Concise Theology,

There is a distinction to be drawn between the church as we humans see it and as God alone can see it. This is the historic distinction between the “visible church” and the “invisible church.”

Invisible means, not that we can see no sign of its presence, but that we cannot know (as God, the heart-reader, knows, 2 Timothy 2:19) which of those baptized, professing members of the church as an organized institution are inwardly regenerate and thus belong to the church as a spiritual fellowship of sinners loving their Savior.

Jesus taught that in the organized church there would always be people who thought they were Christians and passed as Christians, some indeed becoming ministers, but who were not renewed in heart and would therefore be exposed and rejected at the Judgment (Matthew 7:15-27; 13:24-30, 35-43, 47-50; 25:1-46)