This problem [of modern mythologies of a coherence in “Calvinism”] has been enhanced by the numerous books that present interpretations of such decontextualized constructs as “Calvin’s doctrine of predestination,” “Calvin’s Christology,” or “Calvin’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper,” as if Calvin actually proposed a highly unique doctrine. We need to remind ourselves that the one truly unique theologian who entered Geneva in the sixteenth century, Michael Servetus, did not exit Geneva alive…
It is perhaps worth noting that the Dutch word is not “tulip” but “tulp.” “Tulip” isn’t Dutch – sometimes I wonder if Arminius was just trying to correct someone’s spelling when he was accused of omitting that “i” for irresistible grace.
From pages 52, 58 of Richard Muller’s Calvin and the Reformed Tradition. I laughed a lot at this snark, and I can’t tell if it’s really that funny or if my descent into theological nerdery is complete.
One of the questions prompted by any crisis is whether God is inactive. Is he stepping aside and allowing calamitous evil to befall his creation and people? Is the crisis something beyond God’s power? Or, perhaps most frighteningly, is the catastrophe something that is being orchestrated by God?
These questions are common whenever we are confronted with suffering, and are elevated to prominence in times of widespread disaster, such as the moment we find ourselves with COVID-19.
Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin? The answer must be yes…
The Deacon of Dark River is a classic Icelandic folktale, which is often the subject of painting and poetry.
Andrew Wilson from Think Theology praises PJ Smyth’s analogy of church elders as bridesmaids:
I once took a wedding where it was pouring with rain and muddy outside the church. I was moved watching how the bridesmaids selflessly got wet and muddy to ensure that the Bride didn’t. They were clear in their minds that the day was about the Bride, not them. They were resolute in their endeavour to present a clean, dry beautiful Bride to the Groom, even if they got grubby in the process.
About a week later I preached a message entitled “Elders are Bridesmaids.”
The Bride we serve belongs to Him. We are stewards of the Son of Man’s wife. And, one day we will give an account to God for how we stewarded our responsibility as maids to his Bride (Heb. 13.7).
Last I checked, Jesus is the one who presents the bride to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless, having sanctified her with his baptism and word.
I reread J. I. Packer’s classic Knowing God last week for the first time since my teenage years. It was an overlong return, and well worth the read. Something I had not recalled, and was pleasantly surprised to find, was the Anglican Packer’s rejection of the use of images of God in worship. The edition of Knowing God I reread was from 1993, and Packer had faced so much pushback on his original position that he included an additional section in that chapter explaining why he had not changed his mind in the 20 years since the book’s original publication. So, evidently, this was a significant enough feature of the book to have warranted a lot of attention, and yet I had managed to forget it. The thing I was delighted to find in Packer’s argument was that his conclusion generally overlapped with my own: Images of God, including depictions of Christ, should not be used in worship; ambivalence in as regards the appropriateness of images of God for didactic purposes outside of worship; and finding prudent uses of images of God in art limited but acceptable.
Packer lays out his argument in these ways…