Tuesday, 4 March 2008

John Calvin... one of the greats

The caricature of Calvin has him sitting alone, writing dry academic theology. The reality is far different, as anyone who’s actually read Calvin’s Institutes knows very well!

But there’s more. An article here (at www.rts.edu/quarterly/fall01/james.html) describes Calvin’s love of mission and supporting missionaries / church planters around the world.

Reeves on the life & theology of Calvin:
3 1-hour+ talks

The self-authenticity of Scripture - by David Gibson
(a summary of Calvin & Barth's theology on the subject)
You never thought you'd see those two names together! - they are scarily similar sometimes

Barth commenting on Calvin:
In the summer of 1922, the young Karl Barth taught a course on the theology of Calvin. As he struggled to prepare the lectures, he immersed himself passionately in Calvin – and he even cancelled his other announced course (on the Epistle to the Hebrews) so that he could concentrate solely on Calvin. He was overwhelmed by the strangeness and power of what he found in Calvin’s theology. In a letter to his closest friend, Eduard Thurneysen, Barth expressed his astonishment:

“Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic (i.e. superhuman) power, something directly down from the Himalayas, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately... What I receive from Calvin is a thin little stream, and what I can then give out again, is yet only a yet thinner extract of this little stream. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin.”

—Karl Barth to Eduard Thurneysen, 8 June 1922; in Revolutionary Theology in the Making: Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence, 1914-1925 (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964), p. 101.

5 comments:

Chene said...

I know why i am not a theologian... they make me really confused. Wish someone could explain in simple english.

i think what Gibson said was that if someone asks how you know the bible is true, the right answer is that the holy spirit works in you and convicts you that the bible is true.

But to be honest having been a non-christian, I thought that was one of the more unhelpful answers i ever had from my christian friend. Because as a non-Christian I have no holy spirit, so how on earth can I get this holy spirit, get this understanding of the bible?

It's quite hard when you are paranoid and faced with many religions out to get you and you sincerely want to find God. so how on earth will I know that "Quran is true beacause God said it is" is a lie while "Bible is true becasue God said it is" is true? To me everyone says their holy book is true.

To be honest, have no freaking idea how I became a Christian. But I did find aopogetics quite helpful, I had difficulty believing in the resurrection of Jesus, but found the dead sea scrolls, the ancient records (BC) who predicted Jesus with such accuracy all helped me to come to faith. Also the love in church, in christian families, the light my friend shone in her life, all helped,

I may be wrong. But this is from my experience. Perhaps God gave me a soft spot for seeking him, but I guess now that I know God better, I can see how scripture is absolutely true, but without this knowledge of God, when i was still seeking, I don't think I'd ever understand when someone answere " the word of God is true because God says it is true."

Jacky said...

hi chene!:)

yeah i totally feel what you mean, which is why salvation is such a great miracle, and not to be belittled by our feeble attempts at salvation simply through philosophy, apologetics or even simply through 'intellectual' or 'academic' theology of becoming a Christian.

theology isn't really all that of a scary thing :) either you are a good or bad theologian as karl barth says, pending on whether we love and know Jesus well, or not so well (respectively). for us to say we are not theologians or students of theology is like saying "i don't really care to know our Lord better". i'm sure it would hurt Dev pretty badly if you decided one day that today is the best the marriage is going to be :P

i had THOUGHT i came to faith because of a personal intellectual crusade to objective truth, but even that path was guided by God, kind of like the Ethiopian who met Philip. one of my friends acted as my Philip and Scripture suddenly made sense and was authority for me, and I could firmly say the Spirit worked hard to enable me to rely on Scripture more and more, despite occasional aids by apologetics/extra-biblical sources which i rely less and less on except for topics like canonicity of the Bible and so forth.

Chene said...

you're right, guess Dev will hit me with a frying pan. haha:) Don't mind theology it's just that people don't explain it in easy understandable English.

it's so weird that when I first became a Christian, i thought genesis was a joke/ a nice story, how horrified was i when I found that people at SWOT believed it. Looking back, how horrified I am that I was so far from the truth. Thank you Jesus!

I just feel quite stuck when you have a friend who wants to become a Christian, but cannot because he cannot feel the holy spirit. Has read the gospel, has heard the 2 ways to live rant, has heard personal testimnoies and yet cannot come to faith. no 1) humbles me to know to that no amnt of persuasion can make someone believe no 2) why on earth did God choose to save me, what on earth did I deserve to come to faith so easily?

yemsee said...

you came to Christ like everyone else.. finally you heard the gospel, and you believed & it was counted to you as righteousness...

Chene said...

ok got knocked on the frying pan... sniff sniff