Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Piety of John Calvin

Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 9, Number 8, February 18 to February 24, 2007

The Piety of John Calvin

By Ford Lewis Battles

At the time that this book from which this article was taken, The Piety of John Calvin: An Anthology Illustrative of the Spirituality of the Reformer, Ford Lewis Battles was visiting professor of church history at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has also taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Hartford Theological Seminary. He received his Ph.D. from the latter school. He has translated the definitive English edition of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, the only complete English edition of the Institution of 1536, and Calvin’s Commentary on Seneca’s "De Clementia." Among his many other published works is A Computerized Concordance to Calvin’s "Instituties of the Christian Religion." He is widely recognized as one of the foremost Calvin scholars today.
The central themes of Calvin’s piety are the honoring of God and being thankful to Him; they are interwoven in the recital of his conversion in the preface to the Commentary on the Psalms and in the account of the Reformed Christian’s confession before God’s judgment seat in Calvin’s Reply to Cardinal Sadolet...

Conversely, to understand Calvin’s view of Christian discipleship, we must for the moment open our minds to certain basic assumptions that he makes: (1) man’s total dependence upon God; (2) nature’s being ours to use and enjoy, but with moderation and accountability; (3) God’s providential care; (4) the contrast between philosophers and Scripture; (5) the after-life’s being not only the goal of the present life, but its nourishment in hope; (6) all goods as the gifts of God’s kindness to us; and (7) the account we will at the end render to God of their use.

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