Calvin's sensitivity to the different circumstances in which people live lead him to flip-flop, or at least to be somewhat ambivalent in his attitude to the magistrate. Citing the case of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27), Scripture requires obedience to bad kings, and even to pray for the well being of the country of exile (Jer.29). No doubt Calvin has his own city of exile, Geneva, in mind. But should not rulers, who also have responsibilities, be kept on track? Yes, but not by ourselves, but by Almighty God. This leads to discussion of the vexed question of civil disobedience.
No doubt having the Anabaptists in mind, and having already defended the right to litigate, Calvin proceeds to defend the entire judicial process. He discourages using the law for the taking of revenge, but upholds the use of due process, 'through which God may work for our good'. (It is interesting that in his teaching Calvin primarily seems to have mind not Geneva, which by this time in his career he believed was governed along right lines, but countries where the law may remain hostile to evangelical Christianity).
Thomas Watson (ca. 1620-1686) was a great Presbyterian Puritan preacher who wrote much and whose books are still read today. Watson’s most famous work, A Body of Practical Divinity, published posthumously in 1692, consisted of 176 sermons on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Watson was a clear writer, adept at providing memorable phrases and illustrations. He joined theological understanding with warm spirituality and piety. When he died suddenly, he was engaged in private prayer.
The following letter comes from The Works of the Rev. John Newton (London, 1808) pp. 346–353. Reader beware: Newton's portraits are both humorous and piercing.
Whatsoever Things are lovely, whatsoever Things are of good Report, — think on these Things. – Phil. 4:8.
When I ran track in high school, I competed in the 800m and 1500m races. My teammates competed in different races. The sprinters ran the 100m and 200m, while the long-distance runners ran the 3000m and 5000m. Although we all ran on the same track, we had our own particular races to run. As Christians, we are all running on the same road that leads to what John Bunyan calls the Celestial City. Nevertheless, we all have unique races to run because no two lives are exactly the same and we don’t serve Christ in the abstract. We always trust and obey the Lord
I have been a police chaplain for almost 30 years. It began when I was a church planter looking for ways to help out in our community. The police chief in Farmington Hills saw my desire and offered me a position as a police chaplain in the Farmington Hills Police Department. After that, one door after another seemed to open. God opened the door for Chaplaincy at a neighboring city, the Beverly Hills Police Department, and then the Southeastern Michigan Police Chiefs, in addition to Chaplain for the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.
Solan Gidada – An Ethiopian Christian Hero
John Hus’s Company of Women
“Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b).
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R.C. Sproul, A Life