Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Debt We Owe John Calvin—2

The Reformation gave the Bible back to ordinary people, freeing them from dependence on the priests of Roman Catholicism.  That was a gigantic step forward!  Calvin deserves a great deal of the credit.  His writings established the foundation of the reformation, and for the first time in history provided a convincing defense of biblical Christianity.  He affirmed in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, as no one had done so clearly before, that in order for people to have knowledge of God and the way of salvation, They must have two things.  First, they must have an objective source of knowledge, in which God reveals Himself to them.  The Lord has given us that in the written Scriptures—the Bible.  Second, because their hearts are darkened by sin, people must have the Holy Spirit working in their hearts, to enable to them understand the Bible.  Here we have the great foundation of biblical religion.  The soul is cast wholly on the grace of God.  Calvin’s Institutes is the magnificent masterpiece that gave these principles to the churches of the Reformation.  Without Calvin there would be no evangelical Christianity today!  B. B. Warfield wrote that the Christian’s relationship with God attains its purist expression only when an attitude of absolute dependence on God is sustained through all the activities of life.  He continued: “Evangelical religion reaches stability only when the sinful soul rests in humble, self-emptying trust purely on the God of grace as the immediate and sole source of all the efficiency which enters into salvation.”  These things are the basis of what we term Calvinism, and formed the battering ram that broke down the walls of Roman Catholicism.

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