Friday, July 10, 2009

Why I Thank God for John Calvin


Today, 500 years ago in Noyon, Frace, Jean Cauvin was born. I'd like to share why I thank God for John Calvin.

It is kind of strange to be writing this post. The Niles of 2005 would be quite taken aback, frankly. He would posit several philosophical arguments to discount Calvin altogether. He would lean on various conversational dynamics, sarcasm and strawmen to seemingly win so-called debates regarding predestination. I was pretty decent with whipping out CS Lewis quotes and witty retorts of Scripture without a whole lot of thought as to how those verse fit the rest of the Scriptures, or how they make God look.

It has been humbling to know that it was indeed Calvin, whom God used to clearly display His glory in my life.

First, John Calvin's pursuit of the truth in the Scriptures built in me a deep respect and love for studying the Word of God. As I heard about and read about his life I was struck by his profound view of the Scriptures coupled with a passionate work-ethic.

Calvin said, "Whoever, therefore, would desire to persevere in uprightness and in integrity of life, let them learn to exercise themselves daily in the study of the word of God; for, whenever a man despises or neglects instruction, he easily falls into carelessness and stupidity, and all fear of God vanishes from his mind" (Commentary on the Psalms, on Ps. 18:22)

Secondly, my view of God was exploded into a majestic understanding of His ultimate sovereignty. This encompassed blessing, suffering, redemption, damnation; it changed the way I saw everything - it still does.

Calvin said in one of his commentaries on the Psalms, "We renounce the guidance of our own affections, and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving him to govern us, and to dispose our life according to his will, so that the afflictions which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature, become sweet to us, because they proceed from him." This was said by a man who suffered from terrible headaches, fevers and kidney stones among other illnesses.

I'll save the rest of your time to perhaps peruse the following link to learn more about John Calvin.

John Calvin on Faith by the Resurgence.com

John Calvin, Founding Father from the Washington Post by constitutional attorney, Doug Phillips. This explores Calvin's affect on free-market economy/capitalism and our founding fathers' choice for form of government. Thanks Steven for the link.

Calvin: Why He Still Matters by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey of Westminster Seminary California. This piece is long, but very informative. This is where I pulled the above quotes.

DesiringGod Blog There will be various posts about Calvin from the Desiring God blog over the next couple of days.

5 comments:

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

very good post. even if the part with my name in it was excluded.

niles said...

Which part was that? You might notice that you got a shout-out for your email. But I'm open for re-writes.

steve said...

i guess my english skills are bad... i meant it would have been a good post even if my name were not in there

niles said...

Nope. I think its just my reading skills. Thanks, buddy!