Blogs by Paul Helm

Blog 244: 4.20.27 - 4.20.32

Article by   December 2009
Calvin's sensitivity to the different circumstances in which people live lead him to flip-flop, or at least to be somewhat ambivalent in his attitude to the magistrate. Citing the case of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27), Scripture requires obedience to bad kings, and... continue

Blog 243: 4.20.10 - 4.20.26

Article by   December 2009
No doubt having the Anabaptists in mind,  and having already defended the right to litigate, Calvin proceeds to defend the entire judicial process. He discourages using the law for the taking of revenge, but upholds the use of due process,... continue

Blog 242: 4.20.12 - 4.20.18

Article by   December 2009
Calvin borrows the idea of a just war from Augustine. Everything is to be tried in order to preserve the peace before war is declared, though waging war obviously means that reparations must be made, if necessary. A consideration of... continue

Blog 241: 4.20.8 - 4.20.11

Article by   December 2009
Calvin here shows two things - his concern about the dangers of tyrannical government, and also his apparently relaxed attitude regarding forms of political government. You may say that he derives the possible forms from the ancient world, but in fact... continue

Blog 177: 4.4.11 - 4.5.1

Article by   September 2009
Another aspect of ecclesiastical order is the election of bishops. (Calvin shows considerable knowledge of the early church, perhaps reflecting the days when his father had him trained as a canon lawyer?)  Once more, his aversion to disorder disturbs the... continue

Blog 176: 4.4.5 - 4.4.10

Article by   September 2009
Yesterday we ended with a question. The answer to it is: that Calvin offers ecclesiastical advice to places other than Geneva by using the contrast of what is necessary for the being of the church, and what is necessary for its... continue

Blog 175: 4.3.16 - 4.4.4

Article by   September 2009
Part of Calvin's idea of church order is to see it as following 'apostolic precedent' (in the matter, for example, of ordination by the laying on of hands) where there is no explicit NT command. Such precedents 'ought to serve... continue

Blog 174: 4.3.8 - 4.3.15

Article by   September 2009
A read through these sections makes it clear that the establishing and preservation of order is a main Calvinian criterion for the various ecclesiastical rules he proposes at this point. For example,  the establishing of governors, that is, elders, overseers,... continue

Blog 125: 3.12.1 - 3.12.5

Article by   June 2009
Justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ is the true doctrine of acceptance. But is it necessary, vital? How serious should we be about it? Does it matter? Is it worth fighting over? It matters more than we can say,... continue

Blog 124: 3.11.18 - 3.11.23

Article by   June 2009
If, as Paul say, the law is not faith (Gal. 3.11-12), the one excludes the other. So the law is quite different from faith. And so justification is by faith alone. Calvin is sensitive to language, particular over the question... continue
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