Stumbling in the Dark


Blogging The Institutes

Excerpts taken from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition) by John Calvin

Translated by Robert White

Chapter 1: The Knowledge of God

Post#9

Nevertheless, whatever light is kindled for us as we behold God’s works, our mind, in attempting to picture both him and his eternal kingdom, is so carnal that these very clear proofs convey no more to us about them than they do to the blind. When it comes to the structure of the whole wide world, how many of us lift our eyes heavenward? Or in surveying every country on earth, how many think to remember the Creator? And how many, ignoring the workman, look no further than the creature? As for what lies outside the ordinary course of nature, how many there are who only see chance at work, as it tosses and tumbles men about, instead of God’s providence which in fact governs them! And if, as inevitably happens to all men, we are sometimes forced to consider God’s role in all of this, we no sooner have a vague inkling of some deity or other than we return to the foolish notions of the flesh, and in our vanity we corrupt God’s pure truth.

This sphere of green and blue in which we exist tells us something about God. But most of the time we aren’t looking for the answers to the questions we aren’t asking. In my pre-conversion mind I thought little about God’s role in creation. Perhaps because that would force me to consider MY role in God’s creation. I didn’t want to be a character in someone else’s play. This is my story and I’ll write my own happy ending thank you very much. On the rare occasion that I would consider God, I imagined Him unconditionally benevolent, always smiling down on my silly antics. Without a deeper, more complete revelation (that I had no interest in discovering) I could not know the whole truth of His nature. Continue reading

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Reflections of God’s Glory


Blogging the Institutes

Taken from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition) by John Calvin

Translated by Robert White

Chapter 1: The Knowledge of God

Post#7

…whichever way we turn our eyes, there is no part of the world, however small, in which at least some spark of God’s glory does not shine. In particular, we cannot gaze upon this beautiful masterpiece of the world, in all its length and breadth, without being completely dazzled, as it were, by an endless flood of light. Accordingly, in Hebrews the apostle aptly calls the world the mirror of things invisible, because the structure of the world serves as a mirror in which we behold God, who otherwise cannot be seen (Heb 11:3).

The whole purpose of the material creation is to reflect the glory of the invisible God. His glory sparkles in the heavens above, through the warm brilliance of the sun, the cold beauty of the moon and the twinkling shimmer of the stars. It shines forth in the world below, from the rolling hills of green to the ubiquitous oceans of blue. It breaks out from the flight of birds in the air to the fleeting beasts of the field to the swarming fish of the sea. His likeness reflects most clearly in the form of man, crafted lovingly by the Maker’s hand to be His image bearer to all creation.

The Fall brought man low, blighting and obscuring God’s glory to the point where it no longer shines brightly as a light in our dim, myopic vision. All of creation mourns the darkness to which man has plunged it (Rom 8:22). Our blindness and intentional ignorance will not stand up in God’s court. He has revealed enough of Himself to condemn the entire human race for refusing to honor His majesty. Continue reading

Theology: The Church’s Great Need


The study of doctrine and theology has declined in God’s visible church over the last few decades at an alarming rate.  An ever-increasing number of churches have adopted a seeker-centric approach to ministry in lieu of sound biblical teaching.  According to so-called church growth experts, the unchurched masses are generally open to believing in God and accepting Christ.  It is the church as an institution that drives them away from commitment.  This type of person is called a ‘seeker’. In order to get these people to come to church and make that saving commitment church leaders must lure them in by appealing to their flesh.  Learning theology and doctrine doesn’t interest them so it is laid aside as a primary ministry of the church.  In other words, entertainment in all of its forms: music, dramatic performances, movie clips,  light shows, media montages, etc.  can be utilized to make the church a more comfortable, less intimidating place for seekers to find refuge. Psychological manipulation replaces the preaching of the word as a means to salvation.  Sermons are often centered around felt-needs messages that ‘meet people where they are at’.   Ministers may preach on topics such as strengthening marriages, gaining financial freedom, finding a stress-free lifestyle, even having a better sex life.  This is all done to ‘ease’ the seeker into the fold before presenting him the gospel. It is a sandy foundation which collapses upon close scrutiny. Continue reading