Thinking Out Loud

July 21, 2012

The Comment I Didn’t Leave

Filed under: theology — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:13 am

So there I was yesterday surfing the blogosphere, when I came across the writings of John Plougman, a blogger who makes no attempt to hide his Calvinist leanings.  He makes this shot across the bow in a post titled: John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo

Anthony Lane’s chapter “Calvin’s Way of Doing Theology” in Calvin: Theologian and Reformer, edited by Joel Beeke and Garry Williams, begins with this paragraph:

John Calvin is best known for his Institutes of the Christian Religion. This work went through five major editions, and Calvin continually revised it for most of his literary and pastoral life. Like Augustine, he was one of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.

That may be true, that Calvin wrote as he learned, but there is an obvious difference between Augustine and Calvin in this.  For Calvin, the fundamental substance of his theology never changed. A look at all five editions of the Institutes will reveal a development (and sometimes substantial), but never a fundamental change.  Unlike Augustine, he never had to write a book of retractions.

It was all I could do not to post this comment:

This is so sad. But there are stories abounding how Charles Darwin recanted his theories on his deathbed, and one can only speculate that perhaps Calvin did the same.

My wife counseled me to leave well enough alone. So I did. Sort of.

Doctrinally confused?  Maybe this will help.

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