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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

A Year with the Institutes, Day 2

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Calvin defending the "doctrine" contained in the Institutes, for which he has been accused of subversion, to King Francis I of France:

"It is as if this doctrine looked to no other end than to wrest scepters from the hands of kings, to cast down all courts and judgments, to subvert all orders and civil governments, to disrupt the peace and quiet of the people, to abolish all laws, to scatter all lordships and possessions--in short, to turn everything upside down!" (p. 10)

Note: this is Christendom, the assumed marriage of Christian faith and doctrine with the governmental, civil, and legal order.

"It will then be for you, most serene King, not to close your ears or your mind to such just defense, especially when a very great question is at stake: how God's glory may be kept safe on earth, how God's truth may retain its place of honor, how Christ's Kingdom may be kept in good repair among us." (p.11)

"Kept safe," "retain its place of honor," "kept in good repair": all questions of maintenance that ruled the day for Calvin, other Reformers, and their Catholic opponents. Man, that's hard to relate to today.


posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:59 AM


Good to see someone else is reading the Institutes daily this year. I will look forward to reading your comments. It's been over 20 years since I last read them. What I appreciate is the extensive footnotes in the Battles/McNeill translation of Calvin's comments using Church History against his context to make his arguments. Oh so much of modern American Christianity has forgotten it's Church History. Harold Bloom covers that whole topic in his book the "American Religion". You do raise a good question about context and I think for me finding how Calvin can speak to our post-modern context will be important and a motivational question for me as I read this year. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Good to have you, Corner Muffin Stop. This should be fun.
commented by Blogger Not Prince Hamlet, 8:24 PM  

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