John Calvin -- Ardent , Evangelistic Preacher

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, May 15, 2006.

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  1. Rippon

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    There have been several threads about Calvin since I joined a couple months ago . There are quite likely dozens more before my time here . I just wanted to start a fresh thread about his soul-winning words and ways .

    I know the following will burst some cherished bubbles for those who seek to cast John Calvin in a cold , uncaring , non-evangelistic manner .But so be it . Let the myths fall . Timber !

    DISCLAIMERS : Calvinism is not about John Calvin . But I thought I'd put the record straight on some points about this unique man of God .

    I do not want this thread getting derailed into unsavory things completely unrelated ( and most likely lies ) to the issue-at-hand .

    If we see then a poor soul going thus into perdition , ought we not to be moved with compassion and kindness , and should we not desire God to apply the remedy ? ( Ephesians sermon 6:18,19 ).

    We ought to pray that this and that and every man may be saved and so embrace the whole human race , because we cannot yet distinguish the elect from the reprobate ... we pray for the salvation of all whom we know to have been created in God's image and who have the same nature as ourselves ; and we leave to God's judgement those whom He knows to be reprobate . ( Remarks on John 17:9 )

    Therefore , we may be so much the more assured that God taketh and holdeth us for His children , if we endeavour to bring those to Him who are afar off . Let us comfort ourselves , and take courage in this our calling : ... though we seem to be miserable creatures , utterly cast away and condemned , yet we must labour as much as possible to draw those to salvation who seem to be afar off . And above all things , let us pray to God for them , waiting patiently till it please Him to show His good will toward them , as He hath shown it to us . ( sermon on 1 Tim. 2:3-5)

    ... for though God might bring each person to himself by a secret influence , yet he employs the agency of men , that he may awaken in them an anxiety about the salvation of each other . ( Isaiah 2:3 ).

    ... nothing could be more inconsistent with the nature of faith than that deadness which would lead a man to disregard his brethren , and to keep the light of knowledge choked up within his own breast . ( Isaiah 2:3 )

    ... all the godly ought by all means possible to exert themselves in the work of gathering together the Church on every side ; for we are called by the Lord on this condition , that every one should afterwards strive to lead others to the truth , to restore the wandering to the right way , to extend a helping hand to the fallen , to win over those who are without . But if we ought to bestow so much labour on those who are yet aliens to the flock of Christ , how much more diligence is required in exhorting the brethren whom God has already joined to us ? ( Hebrws 10:25 ).
     
  2. doulous

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    Posted by Rippon:

    No it won't. The opponents of John Calvin and Calvinism are going to hold to their opinion no matter what biographical or exegetical arguments you throw at them. From many of them you are not dealing with rational arguments, but a viseral hatred. Can they ever change in their opinions regarding the doctrines of sovereign grace? Most certainly. To do so requires a sovereign act...just the sort of thing our God specializes in. ;)
     
  3. Helen

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    Words come cheap, even for Calvin. What he did spoke a whole lot louder than what he wrote.
     
  4. epistemaniac

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    and... so it begins :(
     
  5. Helen

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    No, not from me. People here know I consider Calvinism/Reformed doctrine heretical. I'm surprised I haven't been kicked off the board for saying that.

    That said, Calvin wrote some wonderful things. What he lived, however, was different. He was so bound to legalism that grace seemed to have been forgotten in his life. History says it. I don't have to.
     
  6. Calvibaptist

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    History is written (or rewritten) by the winners. Now that Arminianism and Pelagianism rule the day, John Calvin is demonized. Until the 1900's, John Calvin was considered a hero. Moral of the story? Don't trust everything that claims to be history.
     
  7. doulous

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    doulous wrote:

    Helen wrote:

    Rippon - Need I say more?
     
  8. doulous

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    Helen wrote:

    Helen, and you are going to share with me these irrefutable sources of history....right? Please do. I am waiting.
     
  9. Rippon

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    Well , I said in the OP that I would deal with Calvin's words AND ways . Since Helen is insistent that what he did speaks a whole lot louder than what he wrote , I will touch on that very aspect . I will quote from J.H.Merle D'Aubigne's History Of The Reformation .

    M. de Lignieres begged Calvin to come and preach in their [ monks ] stead . The law-student spoke to an immense crowd with such clearness , freedom , depth and vitality , that every one was moved . ' Upon my word ,' said the lord to his wife , 'Master John Calvin seems to me to preach better than the monks , and he goes heartily to work too . ( Vol. 2:p.44)

    In this way Calvin labored in the town , in the villages , and in the chateaux , conversing tenderly with the children , preaching to adults , and training heroes and martyrs . ( Vol.2:44)

    Mere preaching did not satisfy Calvin : he entered into communication with all who desired a purer religion , made them frequent visits , and conversed seriously with them . He avoided no one , and cultivated the friendship of those whom he had formerly known . He advanced step by step , but he was always busy , and the doctrine of the Gospel made some progress every day . All persons rendered the strongest testimony to his piety . The friends of the Word of God gathered round him , and among them were many burgesses and common people , but there were nobles and college professors also . (Vol.2:p137)

    [ Referring to Calvin ] That man whose hand was one day boldly to raise the standard of the Gospel in the world , whose teaching was to enlighten many nations , and whose eloquence was to stir all France ; that man who was yearly to send forth from Geneva some thirty or forty missionaries , and whose letters strengthened all the Churches ... ( Vol.3:p28)

    ' Compose some short Christian exhortations for us, ' said his friends to him , ' and we will give them to well-disposed parish priests to read to their congregations .' He did so , and humble clerks read these evangelical appeals from their pulpits , as well as they could . Thus Calvin preached through the mouths of priests to poor villagers , as he had addressed the imposing Sorbonne by the mouth of the rector . ( Vol.3:38)
     
  10. epistemaniac

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    Calvin was also carried to the Pulpit to preach the word when he could no longer walk shortly before his death, such as this was the love he had for God, His word, and His people. This was the way he lived. He was not perfect, not infallible, but he lived out his life in a consistent manner with his words. He had too public a position to say otherwise. For he had enemies at Geneva who would have loved to have seen him fall, in fact, at one time they did get him removed, only to have the city ask him to return. So he walked the talk and talked the walk, as we might say today. [​IMG]

    Beza writes "Calvin from his earliest years, was unweared in the pursuit of knowledge, and from the first moment that the book of God was opened to his mind by the Spirit of truth, to the last thread of his existence, no labor, however great — no study, however arduous — no meditation, however intense, retarded him in his glorious career of doing all in his power for extending the kingdom of heaven. His most violent and implacable enemies have never dared to deny him this praise, and even Voltaire holds him up to the admiration and imitation of mankind for his almost unparalleled industry.... Calvin’s labors were incessant. He delivered more than 300 sermons and lectures every year; "

    blessings,
    Ken
     
  11. Helen

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    I think you will find the following a very fair and objective history of Calvin:
    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/John_Calvin.htm

    Please note his way of dealing with people in Geneva when he was in control. It was, actually, quite contrary to Calvinism itself -- for if some are unavoidably unregenerate it is utter folly to enforce upon them a biblical -- or what is perceived to be biblical -- legal system. His treatment of those who disagreed with his beliefs and methods was the exact contrary of Christ's, who told us simply that His Kingdom is NOT of this world.

    Although Corner, in the following article, does not believe in eternal security (which I am firmly convinced is a biblical doctrine), his research on what happened to Servetus and the hardness of heart of John Calvin is fully researched and referenced here:
    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/ashes.htm

    from another article:

    The burning of Servetus, in 1553, for his theological opinions, is a frightful blot upon the Reformation, and upon the man who sanctioned such an unchristian proceeding. True, the opinions of Servetus were fatally and fundamentally false, --he held the Arian heresy, which is simply blasphemy against the Son of God; but to burn him, or any one else, for false doctrine, was a flagrant sin against the spirit, genius, and principle of the gospel, the deplorable fruit of ignorance as to the essential difference between Judaism and Christianity. C.H.Mackintosh, Notes on the Book of Deuteronomy, Volume II, page 162 footnote.
    from http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/backto.htm

    And here:
    Luther's violent tirades came after most Jews refused to convert, but his rages weren't directed at just Jews but all forms of religious dissent. He was directly involved in the death of 100,000 Anabaptists and advocated the murder of heretics such as the Unitarians. John Calvin, the other leading Protestant figure of that era, was just as bad as Luther. But Luther's negative writings on Jews would be the bread and butter of later anti-Semitism, in particular non-Christian Nazism.
    from http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/mine/antisemitism.htm

    The material regarding Calvin and the kind of man he was is so well researched and referenced that it takes intentional blindness to avoid or excuse it.
     
  12. rsr

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    How does this thread have anything to do with theology or Bible study?
     
  13. Rippon

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    Calvin , by labouring thirty years for Geneva and France , laboured for the whole Christian world . He made the first experiment at Poitiers , and ( if we may use the word ) began that glorious evangelising campaign , which he was to direct until the close of his life . Not content with evangelising the city , the young and zealous doctor visited the castles , abbeys , and villages of the neighborhood . ( Vol.3:p71)

    ... He said : ' Is there any one here willing to go and give light to those whom the pope has blinded ? ' Jean Vernou [ who was burnt alive for his faith at Chambery ], Philip Vernon , and Albert Babinot stood forward . Calvin had not forgotten the Angoumois where he possessed beloved friends ; thither and into the adjacent provinces he will first send his missionaries and commence the evangelisation of France : ' You , Babinot , will go into Guyenne and Languedoc ,' he said ; ' Philip Vernon , you will go into Saintonge and Angoumois ; and you Jean Vernou , will stay at Poitiers and the neighborhood .'...[ they were ] recommended to the almighty grace of God . They therefore prayed together , and Calvin called upon the Lord to accept the services of these pious men . He told them to go and proclaim the Gospel , not in the name of any man , but in the name of the Lord , and because God commanded it . A collection provided for the expenses of this mission , and the evangelists departed . ( Vol.3:72,73)
     
  14. Rippon

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    Two or three thousand of Calvin's sermons are extant , he could not spend weeks on the composition of a homily . During a great part of the year he preached every day , sometimes twice a day . He did not write his sermons , but delivered them extempore . A shorthand writer took down his discourses during their delivery . These sermons opened the treasures of the Scxriptures , and spread them abroad amongst men ; and they were full of useful applications . Calvin usually selected some book of the Bible , and preached a series of sermons on the divine words contained in it . These were published in large folios . One volume appeared which contained a hundred and fifty-nine sermons on Job ; another which consisted of ywo hundred sermons on Deuteronomy ; in a third were given a hundred on the Epistles to Timothy and Titus . There are volumes of sermons on the Epistles to the Ephesians , the Corinthians , the Galatians , etc... Calvin usede to preach in the cathedral church of St. Peter , which was more particularly adapted for preaching . A great multitude thronged the place to hear him . Among his hearers he had the old Genevese , but also a continually increasing number of evangelical Christians , who took refuge at Geneva on account of persecution , and who belonged , for the most part , to the most highly cultivated of their nation . Among them were also some Catholic priests and layman , who had come to Geneva with the intention of professing there the reformed doctrines , and to these men it was very necessary to teach the doctrine of salvation . ( Vol.7:p.90)
     
  15. Helen

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    Rippon, you are welcome to him. I prefer Christ.
     
  16. Rippon

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    As you lie about Calvin , it is just as consistent as your distortion of the Scriptures Helen .

    Having the "reliable" Dan Corner for backup is rather pathetic as are the words of Lewis Loflin -- a celebrated antitrinitarian . Having those friends to come to your support is telling .

    Loflin also had some angry lies regarding Augustine : " ...a debauched 4th century Catholic theologian . "
     
  17. doulous

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    Helen, both articles that you linked are self-serving and do not quote one cedible source. The Middletown Bible Church website article quotes a historian who doesn't provide fact, just opinion. I suppose if I write an article on brain surgery and have it published that would make me a verifiable and trustworhty source? Can you provide any well respected and historically accurate sources?
     
  18. doulous

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    Rippon,

    You sure baited the hook well. It didn't take long for the predators to bite and bite hard.
     
  19. J.D.

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    I'm confused again. Helen said Calvin was a legalist. Others call him antinomian. I didn't think someone could be both a legalist and an antinomian.

    From Wikipedia: "Antinomianism is the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation." "From the latter part of the 17th century, charges of antinomianism have frequently been directed against Calvinists, ..."

    Of course I realize that some folks around here could care less about theological definitions and accuracy.
     
  20. epistemaniac

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    and of course, we come full circle... disagreeing with you equals choosing Calvin over Christ... riiigghhttt... :(
     
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