The “Other” True Meaning of Christmas

The cross is the focal point of the gospel. Paul says as much when he tells the church in Corinth that he “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). But just because the cross is the focus of the saving work of Christ, that doesn’t mean that theContinue reading “The “Other” True Meaning of Christmas”

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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”

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”

How John Calvin Dealt with Refugees and the Poor

In the 1550’s Geneva witnessed an influx of French refugees into the city. William Naphy has argued that this influx, and the growing influence of these French religious refugees was the single most common complaint in Geneva during this period. (Naphy, 121) Prior to the influx of politically powerful French refugees, there was an influxContinue reading “How John Calvin Dealt with Refugees and the Poor”

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”

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”

Reviews of Calvin’s Ladder

A varied cast of characters has taken interest in Julie Canlis’s Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension. This book has caught the attention, in the form of reviews, of church historians, philosophers, and pastors. Those writing from the perspective of these vocations have all noticed strengths and weaknesses in Canlis’s book whichContinue reading “Reviews of Calvin’s Ladder”