Blogs by Rick Phillips

Blog 237: 4.19.20 - 4.19.25

Article by   December 2009
Calvin continues his diatribe against false sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, wrapping up his denial of the sacrament of final unction.  In paragraphs 19-21, he levels two criticisms: the proof text (James 5:14) does not pertain to the church... continue

Blog 187: 4.7.23-30

Article by   September 2009
In the concluding paragraphs of Book 4, Chapter 7, Calvin goes for the jugular in his battle against papal supremacy.  Throughout this chapter, he has steadfastly refuted Rome's chief arguments, denying that: Christ appointed Peter head of the whole church;... continue

Blog 186: 4.7.18 - 4.7.22

Article by   September 2009
Well might Calvin have drawn upon Lord Acton's famous dictum in describing the outcome of the papacy's successful bid to usurp all ecclesial authority in Christendom: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  During his earlier recitation of the earlier... continue

Blog 185: 4.7.11 - 4.7.17

Article by   September 2009
In contesting Rome's claim to universal authority over the entire Christian Church, Calvin pits the sober record of history against the fraudulent records of the papacy.  It had long been the besetting sin of Rome, Calvin asserts, to desire hegemony... continue

Blog 184: 4.7.5 - 4.7.10

Article by   September 2009
As Calvin continues his refutation of papal claims to supremacy, he shows the great value of detailed learning.  Reading 4.7.5-10, one may soak in the volume of facts marshaled by Calvin, but we should appreciate his vast reading in the... continue

Blog 183: 4.6.7 - 4.7.4

Article by   September 2009
History is always important to Christians, since ours is a faith based on God's saving deeds in history and since the true church passes its faith through history, one generation to the next.  For this reason, Calvin and the other... continue

Blog 134: 3.17.6 - 3.17.10

Article by   July 2009
Happy birthday, John Calvin!  It is my privilege to post the Institutes blog on this glad occasion, giving thanks to God for the enduring legacy of this great Christian.  As I have noted before, Calvin's greatness is seen in part... continue

Blog 133: 3.17.1 - 3.17.5

Article by   July 2009
In these sections, Calvin is clearly wearied by the ceaseless attacks on justification through faith alone, although he manly perseveres: "come, let us keep beating them back!" he exhorts.  In his responses, we encounter a series of classic and very... continue

Blog 132: 3.16.1 - 3.16.4

Article by   July 2009
My how time flies, we like to say.  But, reading Calvin, we realize that while time flies, challenges to the gospel seldom change.  Chapter 16 of Book 3 takes up challenges and accusations to the doctrine of justification through faith... continue

Blog 131: 3.15.4 - 3.15.8

Article by   July 2009
Reading Calvin is always instructive not merely for what he says about the topic at hand, but also for the way he approaches the discussion.  In his rebukes against those who say that works give us merit before God, Calvin... continue
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