When John Calvin Speaks, Do Calvinists Listen, Comprehend and Respond?

The more of John Calvin’s writings and teachings I see the less I like them. His emphasis as to sovereignty and predestination over love ought to tell us something about the man himself. But I’m not sure just what that is. I can’t imagine that he was a happy fellow and a delight to be around. I’m aghast how Calvinists can define the nature and character of God through the writings of Calvin – which makes God out to be arbitrary, capricious and devoid of love over all that God created. At least, that’s my take. I wonder if the (literally) years that Calvin spent isolated and alone while writing his Institutes of Religion brought about a sense of isolation and loneliness in which he imparted his own anger towards his fellow man and attributed that to God. Who knows? Below are some quotes I’ve compiled. That so many find truth within Calvin’s words and the subsequent doctrines aka TULIP somehow seems distressing.

We cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just as it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 22, Paragraph 11)

“Therefore, those whom God passes over, he condemns; and this he does for no other reason than that he wills to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines for his own children.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual charge admit the doctrine of election but deny that any one is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“But those who, while they profess to be the disciples of Christ, still seek for free-will in man, notwithstanding of his being lost and drowned in spiritual destruction, labor under manifold delusion, making a heterogeneous mixture of inspired doctrine and philosophical opinions, and so erring as to both.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 15, Paragraph

Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed. Hence, we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8-00


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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