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John Calvin and Augustine of Hippo

June 19, 2010

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.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. tractsandtreatises permalink
    June 19, 2010 9:36 pm

    That is an interesting (and timely) observation. I just started reading through the institutes last week with one of the men in my church and I will be sure to point that out at our next meeting.



  2. Corvallis, OR permalink
    August 16, 2014 6:12 pm

    A fellow told me that God had put something in the soul of man that hungers for Him. That men try many things to satisfy that hunger, only God can fill it. H said this is the truth rather than the doctrine if “irresistible grace.”

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