Tale of Two Calvins

This is my obligatory Calvin 500th birthday post

The occasion of Calvin’s 500th Birthday has led to competing “celebrations” of Calvin’s life and work in Geneva over the last week. One led by WARC, WCC, and other “mainline” organizations that featured such speakers as  Clifton Kirkpatrick, former Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) (read some his thoughts on Calvin here ) and Setri Nyomi, Pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana (He is quoted as saying Calvin would have been for furthering Marxist ideals in society). The other is being backed by NAPARC and other more “conservative” Reformed and Presbyterian Groups (see their website here). So much so that they were required to “share” venues in Calvin’s adopted town. One celebrates the Calvin read through the eyes of Modern Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy (read here: Liberation Theology and Karl Barth) and the other allows the John Calvin of 16th-Century Geneva speak for himself (no bias here).  It makes one wonder if both sides are celebrating the same man or each have developed, to paraphrase Albert Schweitzer’s quip about the 19th-Century “Quest for the Historical Jesus”, a Calvin that looks, breathes, and thinks like a reincarnated version of themselves.


As an example here is a Calvin article on a doctrine John Calvin vigorously defended that the Neo-Orthodox and Liberationists would have to and do deal gymnastically with:

On Limited Atonement:

Dr. Roger Nicole Deftly and Carefully Turns Away the Thoughts of R.T. Kendall on Calvin’s Thoughts on the Extent of the Atonement.

For those unaware R.T. Kendall wrote one of the oft quoted books concerning the “Calvin vs. the Calvinists” discussion. In other words it is Kendall’s these that specifically the Westminster Divines (and their Confession of Faith) “bastardized” John Calvin and made him out to believe things he never believed. Dr. Nicole here takes apart Kendell’s thesis. (Also be sure to check out Paul Helm’s two books (Find them here and here) and Richard Muller’s book on the same subject here) that also show Kendall to be quite incorrect in his thoughts concerning Calvin and Westminster)

Christian Worship

I have been doing a lot of studying this week on music and its place in worship. I found this article online and though I may not agree 100% with the author’s conclusions I found it to be quite helpful.


Here are a couple quotes that I personally believe to be spot on.

“First, it is to be orderly. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” In the immense madness that characterized the Corinthian church and its chaotic worship, the Apostle took great lengths to order their worship. God is a God of order, not frenzy. Screaming up and down the church isles, rolling in the aisle, dancing around the sanctuary is not orderly. Nothing the church does in a worship service should distract other worshippers from worshipping God…”

“God alone determines how sinners approach Him. As a matter of fact, God determines how human beings or angelic beings approach Him as well. As Christians, we must continue to use God’s judgments, commandments and statutes as a rule and line to be drawn against anything which does not have a plain and divine appointment for worship.”