It’s very unattractive when Christian’s get full political power – they try to enforce and legislate morality, seeking to make everything look sacred. Even had morality spies in Geneva. Cromwell’s blue laws in England resonate the same.
Many legislations smacked of self-interest, but seem to have a holy reason behind them.
The time: Protestants are being put to death and persecuted; they are fighting hard with Catholics in some areas; anabaptists are declaring both are wrong, so they’re being baptized by drowning, some anabaptists tried to use the sword (some anabaptists weren’t perfect).
This book is the “soft” part out of Calvin’s Institutes Of The Christian Religion.
For Luther, faith is the ruling idea. He filters everything through it.
For Calvin, the sovereignty of God is of the essence. He filters everything through it.
All are seeing one part of the elephant, but each is imperfect. John Piper is a strong 5-pointer disciple of Calvin (and Jonathan Edwards who translated Calvin to the new world) – a great disciple-scholar.
A focus on the “glory of God” can be idealistic; it doesn’t take into account the realisms of life, and the human response. It’s like magic views of the bible, that must be rooted in some real human understanding of where it comes from. Calvin’s noetic effects of the fall – noes, the Greek work for mind – our mind is corrupted.
A huge discussion on balance, pushing God up into his heaven’s vs. bringing God down to the blood and guts of living. Should theology dictate, or love.
Theology in the service of love.
Beautiful discussion on how plane’s are off course 95% of the time trying to keep course, yet blood and guts are spilled in the aberrations. We’re wrestling for a theory of everything.
p. 84 “Even if this earth is only a vestibule, we outh undoubte4dly too make such a use of its blessings that we are assisted rather than delayed in our journey.” (p. 84)
p. 82 “Everyone flatters himself and carries a kingdom in his breast.”
p. 52 “For it is no small profit to be robbed of our blind self-love…”
p. 23 “The one condition for our spiritual progress is that we remain sincere and humble.”
p. 21-22 “We should not insist on absolute perfection…”
p. 15-16 “By nature we are sluggish, aided in our efforts by a guiding principle.”
p. 92 “We burn with restlessness…”
p. 93 “We do whatever it takes to keep your calling in front of you” do it, so it will regulate your life. Responsible for the Protestant work ethic, and creates successful laboring societies.
Celtic attitude – all of life is holy. Milking the cow is holy.
p. 64 “Hopefulness…”
You don’t see much personal emotion in Calvin’s writing – he objectifies much more – theology rules rather than experience. You don’t feel much blood and guts.
Jesus is not content to say that all suffering is trying to remove us from the vanity of this life. He treats suffering as an enemy; let’s fix it. “If my Father were celebrated as King as he ought to be, you would find that life wouldn’t be like this.” Suffering is not a companion in many of Jesus’ interactions – it is an enemy.
At heart, Calvin’s saying that there is only one power in the universe. Jesus’ sees an enemy. Wimber wed a theology of power with a theology of suffering – “the blessing of a healing ministry is that hundreds come to your church, and there is usually a miracle. But then hundreds walk away sad.”
Thoughts On Calvin
1. Thinks of holiness as a gift, but also calls us to human excellence.
2. Feels like a call to discipline (which for me, does not give much life).
3. Living in a context of persecution (but still seems harsh to me). It’s a veil of tears; try to get through so you can enjoy the next life.
4. The great benefits of the cross. (this book and a’Kempis)
5. All evil is blamed on God.
6. Excellent vision of the Lord being put first.