Domestic Violence, Refugees, and the Imago Dei in John Calvin’s Pastoral Theology

How did John Calvin deal with a massive influx of refugees and cases of domestic violence and maintain pastoral faithfulness? Jesse Gentile and I explore these questions in a new essay titled, “Refocusing the Image: Domestic Violence, Refugees, and the Imago Dei in John Calvin’s Pastoral Theology.” You can find the essay in the latestContinue reading “Domestic Violence, Refugees, and the Imago Dei in John Calvin’s Pastoral Theology”

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Judge Lest You Be Judged: John Calvin on Grace in Church Discipline

“Judge lest you be judged.” This mantra has become so widely accepted in our 21st century western context that even the the church has come to take it as programmatic for church discipline. Even within the church to discipline somebody is seen as being judgmental; and to be judgmental is to commit one of theContinue reading “Judge Lest You Be Judged: John Calvin on Grace in Church Discipline”

Calvinism and Democracy

In 2012 a group of scholars gathered at Princeton Theological Seminary for a conference titled, “Calvinism and Democracy.” The purpose of this conference was to reflect upon the neo-Calvinist legacy, to explore its theological roots, and to assess in what ways this tradition might provide resources for democratic criticism and renewal. The Kuyper Center ReviewContinue reading “Calvinism and Democracy”

Reforming the Law: John Calvin and the Use of the Law in Geneva (Pt. 1)

Addressing “The Pattern of the Law for Piety,” John Calvin states that the law profits believers in two ways: 1) it instructs us about God’s will and 2) it exhorts Christians to obey it. Given these two functions of the law, which are related to its “third use” (McKee, 266), we may wonder what roleContinue reading “Reforming the Law: John Calvin and the Use of the Law in Geneva (Pt. 1)”

Calvin on the Injustice of Oppression by Those in Power

But there is still more; that is, that the image of God is engraved in all people. Therefore not only do I despise my [own] flesh whenever I oppress anyone, but to my fullest capacity I violate the image of God. Therefore let us carefully  note that God willed in this passage to point outContinue reading “Calvin on the Injustice of Oppression by Those in Power”

Pastoral Position Opening: Minister of Word and Sacrament in Geneva

The following is a lighthearted (and facetious), but historically realistic, job opening advertisement for a pastoral position in Calvin’s Geneva. Position Focus: Minister of Word and Sacrament in Geneva Why This Position Is Needed John Calvin’s alternate at St. Pierre’s had recently fallen ill. Although the other ministers in Geneva visited our colleague to pray for himContinue reading “Pastoral Position Opening: Minister of Word and Sacrament in Geneva”

Practicing Scripture, Christ, and the Church: John Calvin’s Agenda for the Eucharist

What is “practical” theology? Often, practical theology is thought to consist of the explicit practices of the church, such as church discipline, preaching, leadership, types of worship, etc. Is this the sort of practical theology Calvin is engaged with in his Eucharistic theology? Although a good portion of Calvin’s practical theology of the Eucharist surelyContinue reading “Practicing Scripture, Christ, and the Church: John Calvin’s Agenda for the Eucharist”

Torrance & Scottish Theology

From a Review of Torrance’s Scottish Theology: Dr. T.F. Torrance is among the immortals of Scottish theology, his work on the trinity an enduring priceless legacy. He has placed the homoousion at the heart of all our belief, reminding us that God has no face but Jesus. Even in his anger there is no un-ChristlikenessContinue reading “Torrance & Scottish Theology”

John Calvin on the Benefits of Baptism

A century after his death, William Poole excluded Calvin from his 1669 Synopsis Criticorum because supposedly Calvin was overly practical. Although in some ways Poole was off the mark with this critique, there is some truth in Calvin’s reputation as a pastor, primarily concerned with practical matters.  Calvin’s practical and pastoral concerns emerge in hisContinue reading “John Calvin on the Benefits of Baptism”

Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension

The church is no stranger to theologies of ascent. Julie Canlis, lecturer at Regent College, suggests that Calvin’s voice ought to join the chorus of such theologies. In Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension, Canlis argues that Calvin’s voice isn’t drowned out in this chorus but that it sticks out for variousContinue reading “Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension”