Blogging The Institutes

Blogging The Institutes

Phil Ryken
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...
Phil Ryken
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. We remain dead in...
Phil Ryken
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 an eternal kingdom is based on the solid ground of our union...
Phil Ryken
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, we remain persuaded of our own righteousness, when in fact we...
Paul Helm
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, says Calvin. For it concerns our vindication not before a human court...
Paul Helm
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 of the appropriateness of using non-scriptural terms, or terms in...
Paul Helm
In his attack upon Osiander Calvin adds that while 'Christ, as he is God and man, justifies us', nevertheless Christ's righteousness is a work of the Saviour's human nature, the fruit of his obedience. This is another reason why it cannot be God's essential righteousness which is actually conveyed...
Paul Helm
After his refutation of Osiander, Calvin returns to his mainline exposition of justification, that the believer receives pardon and God's righteousness is reckoned to be the believer as the only ground of acceptance. So are works of the law excluded? Certainly But what about the works of the...
Paul Helm
Is the Institutes a work of systematic theology? Yes and no. Calvin covers many of the topics of theology in his own inimitable way, but unevenly. There is much from the patristic and medieval theology that he takes for granted. His book is an occasional work, written to further the Reformation. It...
The Institutes is a great work of theology. But it is difficult to find the right adjective for the kind of theology it represents--systematic, biblical ecclesiastical, pastoral? It is certainly all of the above. Calvin engages the mind, heart, will, affections, as he writes. He does not want to...