Blogs by Sinclair Ferguson

Blog 221: 4.17.6 - 4.17.11

Article by   November 2009
Calvin's great concern is that Christians should "rightly use the Lord's Supper."  He is, from beginning to end, a pastoral theologian (surely any other kind is guilty of a category mistake?). In seeking to serve the church he wants to... continue

Blog 220: 4.17.1 - 4.17.5

Article by   November 2009
Calvin now turns to the theme of the Lord's Supper. His concern is twofold: (i) to provide a simple explanation of the Supper and (ii) to resolve difficulties related to it. What he does in IV. 17. i is worthy... continue

Blog 219: 4.16.31 - 4.16.32

Article by   November 2009
One of the perplexities we modern Christians encounter in admiring magisterial reformers like Calvin is the severity of their attitude to, and treatment of, Anabaptists. In Calvin's case this may seem all the more mysterious since he married the widow... continue

Blog 218: 4.16.25 - 4.16.30

Article by   November 2009
Calvin was, and remains, a theologian of the ages.  Of course his theology comes to us clothed in the garments of the sixteenth century.  But some things never change--including many of the arguments, pro and con, in relation to the... continue

Blog 217: 4.16.20 - 4.16.24

Article by   November 2009
For some, Calvin seems to be at his most feisty when he writes on the sacraments. Against those who complain that infant baptism is a travesty of the gospel, he stoutly insists "these darts are aimed more at God than at... continue

Blog 173: 4.3.1 - 4.3.7

Article by   September 2009
For Calvin the Christian ministry was a glorious calling from God, but it was never grounded in the superior qualities of the minister himself.  This therefore raises the question for everyman the church member: "Why should I listen to this... continue

Blog 172: 4.2.6 - 4.2.12

Article by   September 2009
The episcopacy that holds the church together in unity is not man's but Christ's.  The unity of the church, therefore, is not a formal, historical reality made concrete in an institution (the college of bishops or the pope).  Rather it... continue

Blog 171: 4.2.1 - 4.2.5

Article by   September 2009
When is a "church" not a church? How do we recognize the true church of Jesus Christ?  And how do we discern the false? Calvin's answer to what was in his day--and remains--an important question, is, essentially: the ministry of... continue

Blog 170: 4.1.22 - 4.1.29

Article by   September 2009
The 16th century Reformers fought to win back the keys of the kingdom. Calvin held that ordinarily there is no salvation outside of the church, but he did not hold that the church itself was the repository of forgiveness. No,... continue

Blog 169: 4.1.5 - 4.1.21

Article by   August 2009
Calvin's teaching has never been for shrinking violets, nor is John Calvin himself thought of as "soft."  He uses strong language about those who are enemies of the gospel ("pigs," "dogs").  In discussing church discipline he notes the special responsibilities... continue
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