The name John Calvin is a bad word to many people, but I hope to show you that Calvin’s theology should be our theology because it was Jesus’ theology and the Bible’s theology.
John Calvin lived in the 1500’s in Geneva, Switzerland.
He was and is one of the hero’s of the Christian faith. He was one the greatest Christian thinkers, theologians and reformers who guided the church back to the Bible after it was immersed in superstition.
Calvin is still massively influential today, and either loved or hated. Depending on your worldview, you will either gratefully read Calvin’s writings and benefit from them or you will despise them.
This December I had the privilege of reading some of John Calvin’s sermons on the book of Ephesians. I felt as if I was re-converted after every sermon. I loved Calvin’s (correct) emphasis on the utter hopelessness of man and the extreme, deep grace of God in drawing us out of the pit of hell and giving us new life. I was challenged by Calvin’s regular reminders to ask God to make me perceive my sins more, to throw myself once again on the mercy of Christ, to hate my sin more, and to aim more at holiness out of an abiding sense of profound gratitude to a good, majestic God.
Every year Reformed Evangelical churches like to remember the Reformation of the church in Europe in the 16th Century – from which we trace our theological heritage.
The medieval church was steeped in suspicion, false teaching and wrong doctrine. Many people had a false assurance of salvation, a wrong notion of the church and a totally distorted view of the gospel. The dominant false teaching was Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church taught a salvation by works. As long as you said the right prayers, attended the right services (like the Mass) and said your confession to the priest, you were right with God. Into that dark world God shone his light and raised up men and women who would read the Bible and be gripped with its message. John Calvin was one of these men. He was born in France in 1509, the same year that Henry VIII was crowned King of England. Calvin was raised in a Roman Catholic home. Father sent him to the University of Paris to study Romish theology. While in France Calvin seems to have come across some of Martin Luther’s writings.
Besides inventing a new word, I thought I would draw your attention to two errors that some make when it comes to thinking about the doctrine of predestination. These two errors can also be seen as two extremes on opposite ends of the theology spectrum: Arminianism and Hyper-Calvinism
I hold to and teach the doctrine of predestination for one simple reason: the Bible teaches it. In fact, the Bible’s teaching on this subject are very clear and understandable, and I have trouble comprehending how so many Christians do not see this grand doctrine in the Bible. I believe that if you read the Bible carefully and seriously you cannot but hold to this crucial doctrine.