The Resurrection

April 16, 2007

Here is a quote from John Calvin regarding the absurdity of the resurrection, were it not revealed from God:

There is nothing that is more at variance with human reason than this article of faith. For who but God alone could persuade us that bodies, which are not liable to corruption, will, after having rotted away, or after they have been consumed by fire, or torn in pieces by wild beasts, will not merely be restored entire but in a greatly better condition. Do not all our apprehensions of things straightway reject this thing as fabulous, nay, most absurd? (John Calvin, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 2:46)

Praise God that we have a God who reveals truth we would not know otherwise. Praise God we have a God who has conquered death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and offers life in His name.

In Christ

Pastor Mike Walters


Calvin on Scripture

March 30, 2007

Scripture has its authority from God not the church.

But a most pernicious error widely prevails that Scripture has only so much weight as is conceded to it by the consent of the church.  As if the eternal and inviolable truth of God depended upon the decision of men! (1:75)

The apostles had authority prior to the church because the apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church [see Ephesians 2:20] (1:75)

In order to accept Scripture as Scripture we need the witness of the Holy Spirit.  Calvin does acknowledge that there are rational proofs that God speaks in Scripture – proofs that should be accepted by all but the most hardened.  Yet, he clearly states that without the work of the Holy Spirit, no proof will be enough to convince them.

The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason.  For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded. (1:79)

Calvin concludes that Scripture is “self-authenticated” by the Holy Spirit and not by proof and reasoning. 

And the certainty it deserves with us, it attains by the testimony of the Spirit. (1:80)

Bonus word regarding “new revelation”.  This is not set in a context of modern claims that God still gives prophecy, but it seems to apply.

Now daily oracles are to sent from heaven, for it pleased the Lord to hallow his truth to everlasting remembrance in the Scriptures alone [cf. John 5:39] (1:74)

Knowing the Bible to Know God

March 29, 2007

Here are some reasons from Calvin’s Institutes why we need the Bible to know God:

Without the Bible we might seek out false gods:

“God, the Aritificer of the universe, is made manifest to us in Scripture, and that what we ought to think of him is set forth there, lest we seek some uncertain deity by devious paths.” (1:71)

The Bible makes faith unambiguous

“For by his Word, God rendered faith unambiguous forever, a faith that should be superior to all opinion.” (1:71)

The Bible preserves the truth of God forever

“Finally, in order that truth might abide forever in the world with a continuing succession of teaching and survive through all ages, the same oracles he had given to the patriarchs it was his pleasure to have recorded, as it were on public tablets.” (1:71)

The Bible keeps us from falling into error about God

“Suppose we ponder how slippery is the fall of the human mind into forgetfulness of God, how great the tendency to every kind of error, how great the lust to fashion constantly new and artificial religions. Then we may perceive how necessary was such written proof of the heavenly doctrine, that it should neither perish through forgetfulness nor vanish through error nor be corrupted by the audacity of men.” (p.72)

Brothers and Sisters if we want to know God we need to be diligent students of the Bible. It is the place He reveals Himself clearly. We also must thank Him graciously giving us the Bible. Without it, we would be lost in a fog of darkness and confusion.

Quotations taken from the McNeill, Battles 2 vol. edition.

Do You Fear God or Man?

November 20, 2006

One of the great problems we face in the Christian life is the fear of man. Notice what John Calvin says regarding proper fear.

He is commenting on Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (ESV) This verse is part of Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve as He sent them out on their first mission.

If the fear of God is extinguished by the dread of men, is it not evident that we pay greater deference to them than to God himself? Hence it follows, that when we have abandoned the heavenly and eternal life, we reserve nothing more for ourselves than to be like the beasts that perish, (Ps. xlix.12.) God alone has the power of bestowing eternal life, or of inflicting eternal death. We forget God, because we are hurried away by the dread of men. Is it not very evident that we set a higher value on the shadowy life of the body than on the eternal condition of the soul; or rather, that the heavenly kingdom of God is of no estimation with us, in comparison of the fleeting and vanishing shadow of the present life?

What amazes me is how trivial our fear of man is. Very rarely do we face actual physical harm or danger of death (perhaps we are not nearly bold enough in proclaiming Jesus). More often, our fear is related to being embarrassed or made fun of. We fear people thinking we are not nice or loving.

Shouldn’t our fear of God overwhelm these trifles?

In Christ

Pastor Mike Walters

Source: John Calvin, Commentary on A Harmony of the Evangelists, 1:462 (Baker Edition, Vol.16

Do You Seek Correction?

October 12, 2006

“The first foundation of discipline is to provide a place for private admonition; that is, if anyone does not perform his duty willingly, or behaves insolently, or does not live honorably, or has committed any act deserving blame—he should allow himself to be admonished; and when the situation demands it, every man should endeavor to admonish his brother.” – John Calvin, Institutes, 4.XII.2

We have a responsibility as Christians to both receive and give correction. Unfortunately, we often let the fear of man get in the way of correcting a brother or sister who needs it. Or, we let our pride get in the way of hearing needed correction. Let’s humble ourselves before God and look for the gracious mercy He gives us in church discipline.

In Christ

Pastor Mike Walters