Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0

Jean Cauvin.jpgIf you thought you knew John Calvin–who turned 500 last week–you probably don’t know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, “Patron Saint of the Recession.”

So can anything rescue Calvin from his reputation? Some big names are giving it a good shot. Marilynne Robinson, whose 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Home,” is one of the most convincing portraits ever of a Congregational pastor, spends a good deal of time in her essay collection, “The Death of Adam,” trying to rehabilitate Calvin, and doing an admirable job. And a spate of new books timed for the anniversary includes works that highlight Calvin’s pastoral side, and one, from Princeton Seminary professor William Stacy Johnson, that calls Calvin a “Reformer for the 21st Century.” Biblical scholar Roland Boer weighs in with perhaps the most provocative thesis, arguing in “Political Grace: The Revolutionary Theology of John Calvin,” that Calvin was at heart a political radical, not a conservative.

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posted July 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

As Christians we set an example for the rest of the world. It is hard to see that example when excess and scandal seem to rule the day. Christianity is not a get rich quick scheme. Calvin has yet something to teach us moderation, about the finer things of life and about conservative fiscal behaviour.

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posted July 20, 2009 at 10:56 am

Your Name –
You’re kidding, right? “As Christians we set an example for the rest of the world.”
I don’t believe that was Christ’s commandment – Go out and set an example for the world.
I believe it was Love One Another. That is what we, as Christians, need to do to follow Christ. Whether or not “the world” is looking. Loving one another as Christ did is the hardest thing any human being can do, it can often be wildly uncomfortable and painful. It can get you killed.
It is the only way to carry one’s cross – because the cross is our own inability to love like Christ.
We Americans, especially we American Christians, are WAY to focused on what others see, how we come across, what others think and how to position ourselves best in terms of others.
Really not very Christ-like.
And I don’t think Calvin was all that great at it either.

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alice in ny

posted July 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm

He was a protestant….I can’t relate to him at all!

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Edward Verbus

posted July 23, 2009 at 7:50 am

John Calvin and Martin Luther where heretics. Christ created one Church and history will tell you who that is. Christ told the apostiles that he would be with them now till the end of time. These Protestants are want a bee Christians. They don’t even follow the Bible they use one liners to support claims that are crazy. Like once saved always saved. That is the most stupid statement ever. Christ came to fullfil the law not do away with it. Like Luther was quoted as saying sin abuntantly because the work done at the cross has saved you just by accepting Jesus as your savior. If its that easy everyone will be in heaven and accountability that Paul talks about is void. Protestants are about sowing a seen that frankly means send money and let my live in my mansion and thanks for the gifts fool. There a joke.

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posted July 27, 2009 at 9:36 am

In loving each other we set an example to the world of God’s love for us. Of course he loves the world regardless of how well we follow the example of Jesus, but our credibility is challenged when we do not love each other. So yes, we are an example to the world and the world yawns because of our pathetic infighting.

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posted July 29, 2009 at 8:33 am

The Church is currently divided into three large chunks. Orthodox, Roman and Prostestant. We’ve all been saying for 500 or 1000 years that the other is a heretic and this one or that one is the true Church. I wonder when we might catch on that these arguments are not terribly helpful in spreading the Gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation. I am almost sure there is Scripture about loving or praying for your enemy or something like that. So even if you can’t relate to the other side of the same coin, you can pray for them. Those three chunks have more in common (Jesus Christ for example) than you would think. It is about time that we take the responsibility to find out what the other side is actually saying. Otherwise we look and sound like fools when we claim they believe something and it turns out they do not.

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posted August 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

In how well we respond to the Gospel and consequently to each other is illustrated in the parable of the sower that Jesus gives to us in Matthew 13. Some who hear the Gospel never really persue its meaning. They never understand how God’s love and forgiveness work as a fabric that holds people together and they soon forget what they heard. Some recieve the Gospel with great enthusiasm but again fall way when they realize that there is a personal cost to their belief. They minimize their belief so that they fit in with everyone else because they fear ridicule or persecution. Others hear the Gospel but allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the cares and worries of the day. Making a living becomes more important than living the life of a follower of Jesus. Yet others hear the Gospel and not only do they understand it, they live it and help others to understand it. It is these hearers and doers of the Word that make a difference in the world.

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posted September 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm

People should forget about what Calvin and Luther taught and should concentrated more on what Jesus taught. The Word speaks for itself and needs no brilliant theologian to interpret it for whoever is reading it. What Jesus taught was easy.
One must look to why Jesus came in the first place. He came to save us because he loves us. He is the bridge to eternal life with God. He is, “the only way.”
Of course Christ said to love……but loving is nothing if one is not saved by the blood of Christ.
I am not a fan of Calvanism because I believe we live by free will. I do not believe God would created people for hell. We have something to say about our salvation. If we were ordained and saved before we were born, Christ did not need to come save us. In that case this is all a charade, a joke, a hoax. The teaching that God has called only certain ones to be saved I believe is a very bad message and it is ANTI-JESUS in teaching. Jesus came for all through His life and resurrection. If you read the entire bible you see that Gods message from Genesis to Revelation is that He is fair and desires ALL people to come to know Him.
God speaks to all of us and that those who respond to the Lord truly are of the elect. Scriptures are clear that God is the one who draws us and we have the responsibility to receive Jesus or reject Jesus. Let us remember that the Word teaches that we are sealed in the Lord through the power of God, that we will never be taken from His hands, that we have eternal life in Him.
If we had to worry about salvation for every sin every day we wouldn’t be able to enjoy life the way God wants us to. And if we had to repent for every sin that we committed there would not be enough time in a day to do it in.
If God elects people for heaven and hell…….why spread the gospel?
And if God elects… how do we know for sure that we are one of the saved ?
And if we think we are of the elect, why can’t we live then however we wish because we know it won’t matter we are already a chosen one?
And if Calvin was right then these verses would have no meaning and God is a liar……..
Deut 4:29 “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse says that WE must seek Him.
“I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God… unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3,5).”
So if God elects why do we need to do anything?
Why does the elect have to become born again if they have already been ordained to be an elected one BEFORE they were born? And why should anyone do it if they don’t know if they are elected or not?
Why would Christ come to earth to die for our sin, if we can’t do anything about it anyway?
Who was Gods law given to? The elect doesnt need it do they?
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the good news. It is God’s power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren’t Jews.
IF Calvanism is true these scriptures are a joke because they deceive us. How could god offer scriptures that really mock the unelected by offering salvation they can’t possibly achieve.

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