The Golden Years: Life of Calvin, Part 6

David Mathis

Calvin spent the happiest years of his life outside Geneva. It started in April of 1538 when Calvin and fellow reformer William Farel were expelled from Geneva.

Their eager reforms were moving quicker than the city council was ready for. Tensions escalated. Calvin in his youth and Farel in his zeal wouldn’t back down, and the council eventually expelled them. It wasn’t Calvin’s first or last mistake in ministry, but it likely served more than most in breaking the... Continue Reading

Liberalism 1 and Liberalism 2

John Piper

If you find yourself in a love-hate relationship with the concept of “liberalism,” part of the reason may be the schizophrenic history of the concept. Lights went on for me in reading Dinesh D’Souza’s distinction between two liberalisms.

It's helpful to distinguish between two types of liberalism. One is the classical liberalism of the American founding. Call this Liberalism 1, which is reflected in such principles as the right to vote, to assemble freely, to trade with... Continue Reading

Why There Are No Perfect Pastors

John Piper

On his birthday, let John Newton (author of "Amazing Grace") tell us why there aren't any perfect pastors.

In my imagination, I sometimes fancy I could [create] a perfect minister. I take the eloquence of ______, the knowledge of ______, the zeal of ______, and the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of ______. Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, “This would be a perfect minister.”

Now there is One, who, if he chose to, could actually do... Continue Reading

A Night's Stay in Geneva: Life of Calvin, Part 5

David Mathis

William Farel was the fiery redhead who cursed John Calvin’s ivory-tower life in Strasbourg and twisted his arm to stay in Geneva. Here’s the story.

Having published his Institutes, which were immediately successful, Calvin left Basel, still a fugitive from France, in the Summer of 1536 to make for Strasbourg where he could pursue a life of study and writing while tucked away under the pastoral care of famed reformer Martin Bucer. (Bucer had come to the Reformed... Continue Reading

The Myth of Neutrality

David Mathis

Is feigning neutrality a good strategy in telling a nonbeliever about Jesus? In his Apologetics to the Glory of God, John Frame argues that doing so is not only unwise but dishonest.

To tell an unbeliever that we can reason with him on a neutral basis, however that claim might help to attract his attention, is a lie. Indeed, it is a lie of the most serious kind, for it falsifies the very heart of the gospel—that Jesus Christ is Lord. For one thing, there is no neutrality. Our... Continue Reading

Be Careful Lest the Light in You Be Darkness

John Piper

No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives... Continue Reading

His Peace Upon Us—A New Blog

John Piper

Muslim-Christian relations are troubled, important, and necessary. The necessary navigation of these important, troubled waters requires a trusted, Gospel-saturated, experienced, courageous follower of Jesus. I only know a few such trusted navigators.

One of them has been blogging for about six weeks now. The blog is called His Peace Upon Us. I have read enough and I know him well enough to recommend him to you. Here is what he says about himself at the blog:

I am a Christian... Continue Reading

The Bible Frees Us From Being Swayed by Overstatements

John Piper

Being convinced that the Bible as we have it is God’s choice for the world is pervasively decisive in how we think about a thousand things.

I’m not referring only what the Bible teaches on a thousand things, but also what kinds of writing the Bible is made up of, and the fact that it is writing at all.

It makes a huge difference in how you think about reading and education if you are convinced that God thought it was good to communicate with the world... Continue Reading

Institutes: Life of Calvin, Part 4

David Mathis

Calvin wrote as a fugitive. Exiled from France, he eventually settled in Basel where he found enough leisure to put together the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

The first edition debuted in March of 1536 and was a relatively short book—nothing close to the 1000-plus pages of the final edition. The first edition was designed to be small enough to fit into a minister’s coat pocket so it could be carried and referenced at any time in any place.

He... Continue Reading

De Clementia, Conversion, and Cop: Life of Calvin, Part 3

David Mathis

Calvin was growing disillusioned with humanism while studying law in Bourges in 1531 when his father died. Freed from dad’s expectations of making law his profession, Calvin packed his bags for Paris to resume his theological pursuits.

It was 1532, at age 23, when Calvin published his first book, a commentary on Seneca’s De Clementia. He hoped it would make for a celebrated inauguration to the guild, but it didn’t sell like he dreamed.

In 1533, now some... Continue Reading