Blogging the Institutes
Quotes taken from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition) by John Calvin
Translated by Robert White
Chapter 1: The Knowledge of God
For in ruling over mankind he so orders his providence that, although he is commonly and in every way kind and generous to all, he daily reveals his righteousness to the good whom he guides, and his judgment to the wicked. For the retribution which he metes out for sin is neither secret nor hidden.In the same way he appears as the sure protector and guardian of innocence, for through his blessing he gives prosperity to the good, assists them in time of need, relieves their suffering, remedies their misfortunes, and ever and always provides for their salvation.
Calvin answers a question I think many ask themselves at one time or another: Does God still judge sin? The response Calvin gives is an emphatic “yes!” We see it everyday when justice is served to those who have been caught in their crimes. We know it subconsciously when someone is struck down suddenly in their prime who has reveled in unrepentant immorality.We see his generosity every time we experience a joy of everyday life: the warm embrace of a loved one, the abundance of food on our table, the sturdy shelter over our heads. We feel his kindness when those who’ve been served with injustice are consoled, comforted and supported by those who’ve reached out in compassion for their plight. By providence we mean that God works His will through the everyday course of events and circumstances in the world. God is sovereign and works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11-12). If this were not so God would cease being God. He would not then be worthy of our worship. Continue reading
Bible Inquiries and Explanations
Q: If God knew he was going to destroy the Earth before the flood and start all over with Noah, why did he take the time to create Adam/Eve and all that before Noah? Why didn’t he just start with Noah?
A: Maybe for the same reason God doesn’t just start with the promised new heavens and earth at the end of Revelation. It wasn’t part of His eternal plan. I mean, all injustice, suffering and human cruelty could’ve been bypassed altogether if he had done so but God ordained the course of human history to go exactly as it has gone. Why God chose to permit sin and evil in his universe is one of those questions that brings us to the cliff’s edge of God’s secret knowledge. How a good and sovereign God can allow evil to exist has been debated by scholars, theologians and skeptics for centuries. But that’s not the question you asked, so – moving right along.
Your question appears to suggest that from the time of Adam up until the Flood was just a supreme waste of time and effort, since most of humanity ends up washed away by the Flood. However, the story of Adam and Eve explains mankind’s original honor and dignity in the garden of Eden. They lived in paradise and had communion with God. They had dominion and authority over the earth. They didn’t toil with the soil, feel pain, sorrow or suffer from sickness and death. Life was good. Then the Fall happened. Unbelief and pride entered their hearts and shattered the sweet fellowship with God they had enjoyed. Continue reading
Here is the next post in this series exposing the false doctrines of a Word-Faith teacher who stopped by a local church just long enough to drop a full load of heresy on its unsuspecting congregants. I’m astounded that it’s been necessary for me to write five long articles debunking a handful of Prosperity Pete’s teachings from one single sermon – and I’m only dealing with a few selected quotes. If I determined to critique the entirety of the message my response would be novel-length. This is ludicrous! The doctrines I’ve defended should all be obvious to the discerning reader of God’s word. This is common sense, foundational level stuff, folks! But somebody has to do it. These teachers have ministries because they have followers, else they would have long since abandoned the occupation. So onward I press.
Quote: “Unbelief is more powerful than God in you.”
What truth? I don’t see any truth here, just one great damnable lie.
Man’s disposition of failing to trust upon the Lord who created him somehow overrides God’s ability to govern him. When put like this it sounds even more ludicrous. This idea stems from a typical Word-Faith teaching on the essence of faith itself. They have hijacked the term and completely redefined it. Faith isn’t an unshakable trust and tenacious clinging to God and all his promises. No, faith is a force, an internal power inherent in all humanity that can make things that are not as though they are. In other words, faith has creative power when spoken, just as creation came into existence when God spoke. Continue reading
Title: Crook in the Lot
Author: Thomas Boston
Publisher: Christian Heritage
Page Count: 195
Genre: Christian Living
Synopsis: Boston sets out to demonstrate that all of life’s pain and suffering experienced by Christians is ultimately ordained for our good by an absolutely sovereign and loving God. The term ‘crook in the lot’ is a biblical reference Boston uses as the main text for his work. The scripture is taken from the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 17, verse 13: Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked. Continue reading
Note: I realize this post is WAAAAY overdue. The Super Bowl is yesterday’s news, however this post really has nothing to do with the game, so feel free to read on!
So how I did I celebrate the greatest Super Bowl upset of all-time? I’m glad you asked. The unvarnished truth is, I spent over 3 hours late that night vacationing on a far distant island, reclining in a chair on the roof of a towering Anglican cathedral, reacquainting myself with a long-lost childhood friend…. Continue reading
Is God in Control?
The answer, a person would think, should be obvious. Of course God is in control! Most Christians would be indignant at even questioning God’s sovereignty and power over his own creation. Yet, many sincere believers will boldly proclaim this truth, then turn around and state with equal conviction how man has free will to choose whatever he wishes. It is not a question to be taken lightly, by any means. The answer will color our perception of God’s very nature and character. Our understanding of his mercy and grace are at stake!
I don’t think any sane person (other than an atheist) would question God’s ability to control everything. It is quite apparent that someone who is powerful enough to speak creation into existence also has the ability to govern it by his own hand. I think the issue comes down to God’s willingness to direct or delegate the course of human history.
The flip side of this question is: Does man have free will?
If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, then a third question must be addressed.
How can God be in control while at the same time allowing man to exercise his free will? Continue reading