Monday, June 8, 2009

John Calvin and the Church

In preparing for our forum this year on John Calvin I've been re-reading portions of The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Each week I want to give a quote that I found especially helpful. I've been amazed at how much Calvin covers that the current church is struggling with. In this case it is people leaving the church because of some gripe they have. Calvin makes it clear that "it is always disastrous to leave the church." (4.1.4 - this is the typical reference system for the Institutes. All it means is book 4, chapter 1, section 4. Often you will see it in roman numerals, IV, i, 4). Calvin reminds us that the Lord is at work in the church "smoothing out wrinkles and cleansing spots." (4.1.17) But here is the thought I want to leave you with:

"Let the following two points, then, stand firm. First, he who voluntarily deserts the outward communion of the church (where the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are administered) is without excuse. Secondly, neither the vices of the few nor the vices of the many in any way prevent us from duly professing our faith there in ceremonies ordained by God. For a godly conscience is not wounded by the unworthiness of another, whether pastor or layman; nor are the sacraments less pure and salutary for a holy and upright man because they are handled by unclean persons." (4.1.19)

I encourage you to read the whole chapter for he has much to say that we can all benefit from. It is a strong word to those who are disgruntled with the church (I'm among the worst.). The answer does not come in abandoning her but in living with all her blemishes knowing the Bride is loved and cared for by her Lord.


Paul said...

Is there anyone you know with the necessary video and audio equipment who can record the upcoming Calvin forum you are hosting and post it on YouTube? Seems to me that this is worth capturing. Thanks for looking into...

The BBH Church Relations Team said...


Good question. We have recorded some of our previous forums and plan to do so with the Calvin forum. We are looking into video and YouTube possibilities.