Blogs by Phil Ryken

Blog 236: 4.19.14 - 4.19.19

Article by   December 2009
Calvin continues his critique of Catholicism by applying a biblical definition of "sacrament" to the Roman rite of penance.  He begins with a clear and careful distinction between public repentance, as it was practiced in the early church, and the... continue

Blog 182: 4.6.10 - 4.6.16

Article by   September 2009
To demonstrate the unique headship of Jesus Christ over the church--a headship he does not share with the pope or any other earthly figure--Calvin makes an argument from biblical silence. Ephesians 4 celebrates the ascension of Jesus Christ, who is... continue

Blog 181: 4.6.4 - 4.6.9

Article by   September 2009
 In defending the prerogatives of the pope as the successor of Peter, Roman Catholics commonly appeal to Matthew 16:19, where Jesus says to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on... continue

Blog 180: 4.5.16 - 4.6.3

Article by   September 2009
In critiquing the Roman Catholic Church for pursuing earthly riches, Calvin employs an interpretive principle that holds the Old Testament and the New Testament in proper relationship. Calvin was critical of the Catholics for the magnificence of their churches and... continue

Blog 179: 4.5.8 - 4.5.15

Article by   September 2009
Calvin's broad-scale attack on the abuses of the Roman Church continues with his criticisms of monks, priests, deacons, and other clerics. The Geneva Reformer had little time for monks who claimed to fulfill a priestly function. Whatever virtues monastic life... continue

Blog 178: 4.5.2 - 4.5.7

Article by   September 2009
The Protestant Reformation was not a renewal of doctrine only, but just as much (if not more so) a renewal of practice. This helps to explain why Book IV--which primarily concerns the sacraments, government, and ministry of the church--is by... continue

Blog 129: 3.14.12 - 3.14.18

Article by   July 2009
Calvin borrowed generously from earlier theologians (especially Augustine) in formulating his Institutes of the Christian Religion.  Of one group, though, he was especially critical: "the Schoolmen," also known as "the Scholastics."  The Schoolmen were theologians who taught theology and philosophy... continue

Blog 128: 3.14.6 - 3.14.11

Article by   July 2009
Calvin continues his categorization of where people stand with respect to justification.  He concludes his remarks on the first category--people who are outside of Christ and thus remain unjustified--by reiterating that justification depends entirely on God's mercy, not our works. ... continue

Blog 127: 3.13.4 - 3.14.5

Article by   June 2009
In justification, the sinner receives righteousness from God as a gift.  Because this gift rests on the promise of God, received by faith, it provides complete assurance to the conscience and full peace to the soul.  Our hope of inheriting... continue

Blog 126: 3.12.6 - 3.13.3

Article by   June 2009
For Calvin, the only possible way to receive God's mercy is with absolute humility, which he defines as "an unfeigned submission of our heart, stricken down in earnest with an awareness of its own misery and want."  Without such humility,... continue
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