Blogging The Institutes
Excerpts taken from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition) by John Calvin
Translation by Robert White
Chapter 1: The knowledge of God
The believing heart does not haphazardly forge for itself some kind of god. Rather it looks to him who is the true and only God. It does not ascribe to him whatever qualities it pleases but is content to take him as he shows himself to be: it is always careful not to depart from God’s will through headstrong pride. Knowing him thus, and understanding that he governs all things by his providence, it confidently accepts him as guardian and protector, and thus entrusts itself to his keeping, since it knows him to be the author of all that is good.
A contrite heart doesn’t work to construct a god acceptable to its own liking. On the contrary it willingly accepts the testimony of Scripture of who God is, of what it tells us is pleasing and acceptable to Him. A believing heart is a trusting heart. God’s providence over all creation and world events gives Christians security and comfort. This faith helps believers overcome sufferings and trials. They are ordained by God for His purposes and our eternal good (Rom 8:28 ESV). Continue reading
I had lunch with a friend the other day. The topic of church growth came up, as it often does. He informed me of a trend in his church that has provoked him as of late. He has noted that the place believers gather together to offer praises in worship to their God, the place where the bold proclamation of God’s word is presented to the people, the place once known as a sanctuary is now simply being called an auditorium.
This isn’t an isolated occurrence. When my old church moved from their sanctuary into the gym (preparing for growth) the term sanctuary was dropped and it became an auditorium. Even the conservative baptist church I attend now calls it an auditorium.
My friend was so troubled by the terminology he confronted the pastor about it. He argued that the church has been referred to as a sanctuary throughout history and carries with it a sense of awe and reverence in the presence of the Holy that should not be changed.
In light of our discussion, a question has been hammering in my brain the past few days: Continue reading
I gleaned the following snippets from the article ‘The Practical Implications of Calvinism’ by Albert N. Martin. I highly recommend reading it in its entirety.
Have you been brought to see your own corruption in sin in such a measure that the first two beatitudes are true of you?’ The only people in the world who are truly blessed are those who have been so wrought upon by the Spirit that they are not strangers to these two things: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted’. How does God make men truly blessed, truly happy? First of all, he makes them sad at the sight and sense of their own impoverishment in a state of sin. What is poverty of spirit? Is it some kind of pseudo-pietistic attempt to convince myself that I am a miserable worm and a wretch? Not at all! Poverty of spirit results from just getting a sight of what you really are, and seeing that you are nothing and have nothing and can do nothing that can commend yourself to the grace and saving favour of God; it results from the conviction that he could make you an eternal monument of his righteous wrath, and let you perish in the eternal burning. Have you known an inner stripping that has brought you to poverty of spirit? to holy mourning? to the recognition that your sin has been against the Sovereign God? Have you been brought to the place where you hate your sin enough to forsake it and cleave only to Christ? Continue reading