Calvin and the Sacred Assemblies of the Church

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Gerhard Ebersoehn, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Calvin on 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

    “Paul relates, that he had been charged by the Apostles to stir up the Gentiles to afford help. Now the Apostles would never have given such a charge, had they not been constrained by necessity. Farther, this passage is an evidence of the truth of what Paul states there also -- that he had been careful to exhort the Gentiles to afford help in such a case of necessity. Now, however, he prescribes the method of relief; and that the Corinthians may accede to it the more readily, he mentions that he had already prescribed it to the Churches of Galatia; for they would necessarily be the more influenced by example, as we are wont to feel a natural backwardness to anything that is not ordinarily practiced. Now follows the method -- by which he designed to cut off all hindrances and impediments.” Here we do not find the ordinary observance of a supposed fixed custom to regularly and religiously practice charity on the Day of Worship of the Church, but an exceptional “case of necessity”.
    Calvinists who on 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 build their case for Sunday-sacredness upon the exercise of charity in this instance from Scripture, do so on own authority, not at all supported by their champion in the faith, John Calvin!

    We also according to Calvin do not in these lines find the First Day being perpetually observed by the Church as the Day of Worship-rest, but on the contrary, the Sabbath so applied to purpose and practice of regular ‘religion’. Says he,
    “2. On one of the Sabbaths. The end is this -- that they may have their alms ready in time. He therefore exhorts them not to wait till he came, as anything that is done suddenly, and in a bustle, is not done well, but to contribute on the Sabbath what might seem good, and according as every one's ability might enable -- that is, on the day on which they held their sacred assemblies. The clause rendered on one of the Sabbaths, (kata< mi>an sabba>twn,) Chrysostom explains to mean -- the first Sabbath. In this I do not agree with him; for Paul means rather that they should contribute, one on one Sabbath and another on another; or even each of them every Sabbath, if they chose. For he has an eye, first of all, to convenience, and farther, that the sacred assembly, in which the communion of saints is celebrated, might be an additional spur to them. Nor am I more inclined to admit the view taken by Chrysostom -- that the term Sabbath is employed here to mean the Lord's day, (Revelation 1:10,) for the probability is, that the Apostles, at the beginning, retained the day that was already in use, but that afterwards, constrained by the superstition of the Jews, they set aside that day, and substituted another. Now the Lord's day was made choice of, chiefly because our Lord's resurrection put an end to the shadows of the law. Hence the day itself puts us in mind of our Christian liberty. We may, however, very readily infer from this passage, that believers have always had a certain day of rest from labor -- not as if the worship of God consisted in idleness, but because it is of importance for the common harmony, that a certain day should be appointed for holding sacred assemblies, as they cannot be held every day. For as to Paul's forbidding elsewhere (Galatians 4:10) that any distinction should be made between one day and another, that must be understood to be with a view to religion,3 and not with a view to polity or external order.”

    In this quotation from Calvin’s, it is noteworthy for our purpose, that:
    1. The day involved and mentioned as such, according to Calvin, was the Seventh Day “Sabbath”.
    2. Calvin was fully aware of all the (other) misinterpretations of Paul’s reference to “the Sabbath” here, and took cognisance of them refuting each clearly.
    3. Calvin states “that the sacred assembly, in which the communion of saints is celebrated”, happened “on the Sabbath … the day on which they held their sacred assemblies”.
    4. Calvin rejected the notion the “Sabbath” day in this Scripture meant the First Day of the week which already in the time of Chrysostom, had been known by the appellation, “the Lord’s Day”, and maintained it meant the ‘Jewish’ or ‘Old Testament’ “Sabbath Day” of the Fourth Commandment.
    5. Calvin also rejected the ‘Sabbath’ involved was a “first sabbath” of some series of ‘sabbaths’ of the ‘Ceremonial’ or ‘Annual’ Laws, but,
    6. held the view that the Accusative, and the preposition ‘kata’ possess the usual meaning of “every Sabbath Day” of the week. Without ellipses therefore the phrase could have looked like this in the Greek: ‘kata mian sabbaton sabbatohn’.
    “(B)elievers have always had a certain day of rest from labor … because it is of importance for the common harmony, that a certain day should be appointed for holding sacred assemblies, as they cannot be held every day.”
    Calvin undoubtedly supposed the Apostolic ‘appointment’ of “a certain day of rest … for holding sacred assemblies” to have been the Sabbath ‘ordinary’ of the week, i.e., the Seventh Day.
    7. Calvin here, as consistently in other places, reckons Jesus’ resurrection on the Sabbath Day was the reason and instrument of the Sabbath Seventh Day’s abolishment – not His death as believed by most: “… because our Lord's resurrection put an end to the shadows of the law”.

    Proponents of Sunday-worship may never rely on Calvin as far as this text is concerned, and would save face if they for their designs let go of it altogether.
     
  2. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Just to revive this topic -

    Has no one noticed? "The greatest Greek scholar of all time" ... on the greatest historical event of all time ... and no one has noticed?

    I fear to mention possible reasons why.
     
  3. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Sorry, I confused this post on Calvin with another of mine on Robertson.
    Nevertheless, the greatest reformer of all time ....
     

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