Blogging The Institutes
Paul Helm
Calvin skilfully weaves themes together like strands of thread. Faith appears in connection with the self-authentication of Scripture, then disappears from view, returning in Book III. Word and Spirit come together, and then come together again. This style is partly due to his care to safeguard his...
Phil Ryken
It is characteristic of Calvin's theology in general and of his Institutes in particular to give strong affirmation to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Generally speaking, Calvin does not do this by treating the Third Person of the Trinity as a separate topic of doctrine, but by highlighting...
Phil Ryken
The Institutes is a positive presentation of Christian faith and doctrine. But it is also something more: a polemical response to the Roman Catholic Church, in which Calvin defends the theology and practice of the Reformation. Here we find the Geneva Reformer arguing against the idolatrous practice...
Phil Ryken
This section of the Institutes includes one of the most helpful comments that Calvin ever made about the Christian life. "Man's nature," he said, "is a perpetual factory of idols." In context, Calvin is referring to idols in their most technical sense as physical objects used as a substitute for...
Phil Ryken
Calvin continues to make his case against the use of images (icons, crucifixes, and the like) in Christian worship, which he believes to be nothing less than an idolatrous violation of the Second Commandment. One of Calvin's arguments is historical: in the first five hundred years of the Christian...
Phil Ryken
After concluding his arguments against idolatry, proving that any use of images in worship is a sacrilege, Calvin turns to a consideration of the Trinity, as taught in Scripture. In addition to providing a basic definition of the doctrine--there is one and only God in three distinct persons--Calvin...
Rick Phillips
Having defended the use of technical theological language as an aid to our understanding of Scriptural doctrines like the Trinity, Calvin in 1.13.4 argues that accurate theological terminology helps us to "unmask false teachers." Precise terminology nails us down as to what we are really saying,...
Rick Phillips
In these sections, Calvin proves the deity of Christ over against those who would deny it. The argument here provides a good instance of Calvin's proof-texting. We generally hear of proof-texts only in negative terms today. But Calvin's approach reminds us that where verses from Scripture can be...
Rick Phillips
In the opening section, Calvin concludes his defense of Christ's deity. This last assertion of deity arises from Christ's miracles. He takes it as self-evident that the miracles display the deity of Christ. Therefore, the bulk of the section is devoted to responding to anticipated quibbles and...
Rick Phillips
These sections on the Trinity are especially valuable to Christians, who are greatly helped if we can begin to think of God and salvation in explicitly Trinitarian terms. It has been observed that while the liberals worship only God the Father (the loving and accepting Father of all mankind, etc...