Blog 190: 4.8.13-4.9.3

Justin Taylor
Calvin now deals with what his opponents' objections and defenses of their additions to God's Word.
Won't the Spirit guide us into truth (John 16:13)? Yes, but only through the Word, not in place of the Word.
Didn't Jesus say that there were many teachings still to come which his disciples couldn't bear at the time (John 16:12)? Yes, but the Spirit provided this truth to them as they recorded God's holy Word.
If one contradicts the church, isn't such a person to be excommunicated (Matt. 18:17)? This, Calvin responds, is referring to the authority of the church to correct and censure according to God's Word, not to pronounce new doctrines not found in God's Word.
Calvin, dispensing with the various objections, turns to consider the ancient councils. He honors and venerates them, but Christ must precede over the councils, and he does so only when the assembly is governed by his Word and Spirit.
But if two or three are gathered in Christ's name, isn't he in the midst of them? Yes, but only if they are truly gathered in his name! And how can those who disobey Christ's command about adding to his word truly those gathering in his name?

Again and again Calvin returns to the same theme from various angles: our life and doctrine must be built on God's Word and applied by his Spirit. Councils and teachers have their role, but only in submission to what God has already spoken and revealed. May we have the same spirit of joyful submission.