The apologetic character of this first theological treatise of Calvin, which he expanded constantly till 1559, is evident throughout this and every other part of the Institutes. Since it was written primarily in defense of the reformed religion against the attacks and slanders of its enemies, the abuses and idolatries of the Roman Church are constantly before the mind of the author. Speaking of the Roman Church, Calvin says:
The Church must necessarily fall whenever that sum of religion which alone can sustain it has given away. Again, if the true Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), it is certain that there is no Church where lying and falsehood have usurped the ascendancy. Since this is the state of matters under the Papacy, we can understand how much of the Church there survives. There, instead of the ministry of the word, prevails a perverted government, compounded of lies, a government which partly extinguishes, partly suppresses, the pure light. In place of the Lord’s Supper, the foulest sacrilege has entered, the worship of God is deformed by a varied mass of intolerable superstitions; doctrine (without which Christianity exists not) is wholly buried and exploded, the public assemblies are schools of idolatry and impiety.“
Dr. R. Scott Clark writes,
“This week Office Hours talks to the Rev Mr David Hall, Senior Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) and editor of the Calvin500 Series. In this interview we discuss the Calvin500 series and the recent volume Tributes to John Calvin. For more on the volume see this post.”
Be sure to take a listen! Subscribe to Office Hours in iTunes.
Preaching Like Calvin is the newest addition to the Calvin 500 Series from P&R Publishing. These 289-pages contain 16 sermons which were (all but one) originally delivered at the Commemorating Calvin Conference, July 9-11, 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. The sermons cover a variety of topics—from Predestination and The Christian Life, to The Offices of Christ and Calvin’s Cherished Text—by a host of speakers including Iain D. Campbell, Edward Donnelly, Sinclair B. Ferguson, Martin Holdt, Hywel R. Jones, Steven J. Lawson and Derek W. H. Thomas. As is said in the book’s introduction, “Preaching Like Calvin faithfully preserves the original sixteen sermon texts, including their original ‘shape’ and, in some cases, brief preaching notes and preaching outlines.” Editor David W. Hall notes that the “goal has been for the written versions of the sermons to mirror the oral form in which they were delivered, thus ensuring, as much as possible, that the written word is a facsimile of the spoken word.” Because of this, the reader is able to experience the sermons to their fullest, in book form.
Preaching Like Calvin begins with a foreward by Rev. Eric Alexander, which, though brief, outlines three great characteristics of John Calvin—a man of “Gigantic Intellect,” “Extraordinary Industry,” and “Remarkable Godliness.” This 3-page forward succeeds in whetting the appetite for the readings to come. Beginning the sermons, David W. Hall opens with a message which summarizes Calvinism under three points (“The Glory and Sovereignty of God,” “The Fall of Man,” and “Calling to the World”). In the third sermon of the book, Henry Luke Orombi examines the question, “Who is the faithful servant whom the Master has set over his household?”—a message laced with the urging passion to proclaim the Word of God; followed by Bryan Chapell, who looks at the doctrine of predestination with the focus on its blessings—reminding us that “predestination is meant to bless believers’ hearts.” In chapter 6, Peter A. Lillback discusses All the Glorious Offices of Christ “as taught by the apostle Paul and explained by Calvin;” while W. Robert Godfrey’s follows up with his message which focuses on Calvin’s Cherished Text—John 17:3. In chapter 12, Joel R. Beeke discusses Cherishing the Church by examining The Church’s Status, The Church’s Substance, and The Church’s Success. Martin Holdt addresses John Calvin and Psalm 110, and Edward Donnelly looks at what it means to be More Than Conquerors. The book finishes with a message delivered by Derek W. Thomas entitled Bowing Before the Majesty of God—a very powerful message which looks at God’s Incomprehensibleness, God’s Sovereignty, and God’s Glory—a perfect ending thought for this collection of sermons.
Initially upon hearing about these sermons, which were preached at the 500th Anniversary celebration of John Calvin, I wasn’t sure what to expect, thinking that perhaps they would all be messages about Calvin himself. I realized immediately upon beginning Preaching Like Calvin that this wasn’t the case! These messages, though celebrating Calvin’s life and what he has done in contribution to Christianity, focus on many different aspects of the doctrines he taught—but most of all, focus on the Christ he loved and lived for. Because of this, these messages not only give us a glimpse into Calvin’s life, but also bring to us thoughts and applications for every man’s Christian walk. With so many sermons on such a variety of topics, this book is great to pick up and read at any given time, and also serves as being a great resource for the doctrines and teachings of Calvinism.
Preaching Like Calvin is a fantastic book, full of engaging expositions, thoughts, and truths that are applicable to any Christians’ life. You don’t have to be an expert on Calvin to be able to appreciate what is presented through these sermons. Although “these messages provide a current apology for the vitality of Calvinism, and are exemplars to modern audiences of what living Calvinism looks like and sounds like today” (David W. Hall), they are not delivered in a way that is hard to understand or “over one’s head.” Some hear the name Calvin and think they are about to read a whole lot of hard-to-grasp theological terms; but in this collection, we are clearly presented gospel truths in an applicable and comprehensive way. Because of this, I would feel confident recommending this book to anyone—student, parent, preacher or layman. Overall, Preaching Like Calvin will prove to be a great addition to anyone’s collection.
As most people in the Reformed faith know, July 10th is equivalent to an International Holiday for those that are Calvinists. In 2010 it will have been 501 years ago that John Calvin – possibly the greatest of all Theologians – was born in Noyon, France. 500 years later, in 2009, twenty-three leading Calvin scholars spoke from the international symposium in the historic Auditoire in Geneva, Switzerland (July 6-9, 2009). Here, those that gathered would enjoy listening to stimulating lectures, current research, and in-depth analyses from some of the finest experts on John Calvin during this Calvin500 Tribute Conference.
For those who missed this once in a lifetime opportunity and were not able to attend the Calvin500 conference, P&R Publishing – with the editing of Dr. David W. Hall – has made available the 23 lectures which were delivered by Calvin scholars, dealing with three main subjects:
Calvin’s Times: Wiiliam A. McComish, Robert M. Kingdon, John Witte Jr., Henri A. G. Blocher, Isabelle Graessle, Hughes Oliphant Old, Terry L. Johnson, George W. Knight III, and James Edward McGoldrick.
Calvin’s Topics: Douglas F. Kelly, Richard Burnett, R. Scott Clark, Anthony N.S. Lane, David H. Hall, Jae Sung Kim, A. T. B. McGowan, and Michael Horton.
Calvin Today and Tomorrow: Richard C. Gamble, Darryl G. Hart, William Edgar, Jae Sung Kim, Bruce L. McCormack, and Herman J. Selderhuis.
Theses scholars gathered to speak for one week, presenting their lectures in historic environs to celebrate the contributions of the Genevan Reformer. Their articles cover John Calvin’s theology, soteriology, and ecclesiology, as well as his doctrines of assurance, worship in the pulpit, church discipline, and his high view of the Scriptures. They go on to further examine John Calvin as a Frenchman, his political thought, Calvin the liturgist, and Calvin’s view of eternal life. Other articles explore Calvin’s impact on the arts, Calvinism in Asia, and the influential women in Calvin’s life. As Dr. Al Mohler writes in the forward to this book, “The gathering of scholars in Geneva in 2009 was not occasioned by merely antiquarian interests, but by a sense of Calvin’s continuing relevance.”
The positive side of this title is that it is meant for the scholar who wants to really dig in deeper to specific topics of Calvin’s life, thought, and legacy. This collection of lectures is ideal for people wanting to know more about Calvin’s life, his influence in society during his time, and how he still influences society throughout the entire world today.
If one is looking to know more than just the five-points of Calvinism, I’d recommend first reading Calvin’s Institutes. Following that, I would recommend volume one of the Calvin500 Series by P&R Publishing (Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and Analysis Edited by, David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback), before coming to this collection. However, for anyone ready for this book, they are in for a fantastic read and can prepare themselves for enlightening analyses by some of the world’s greatest scholars on John Calvin. An additional bonus, of course, is that the reader can sit in awe while reading, and be spending only $30 for this book, as opposed to the $6,000 it cost to hear these lectures live. Along with simply being a great read, this book also helps serve as a resource for years to come – for students in seminaries, pastors in churches, and scholars that teach, or for those that just want to better understand the man named John Calvin – this book is a perfect resource for all.
Out of any current books I have read, Tributes to John Calvin provides one of the most comprehensive, informed, and rounded assessments of Calvin’s thought and theology today. This anthology commemorates John Calvin the way the reader today should know Calvin. More than five-points, more than just one of the Reformers, and more than just a guy that wrote a lot, Calvin was a man of the Word – a scholar like no other – who left a legacy that the church needs to know more of. For scholasticism, Tributes to John Calvin adds 23 more lectures to your library of Calvin; and is perfect for those particularly hard to find issues one may come across in research, making this a much-recommended book for anyone – be it teacher, preacher, scholar, student or layman.
In case you didn’t have the $6000 plus it cost to attend, you can now buy the sermons preached this past summer in 2009 from John Calvin’s pulpit from Ligonier. The Speakers include none other than my buddy Joel Beeke, and many more like; Iain Campbell, Bryan Chapell, Ted Donnelly, Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Martin Holdt, Hywel Jones, Steven Lawson, Peter Lillback, Henry Orombi, Philip Ryken, Derek Thomas, and Geoffrey Thomas.
Can a centuries-old pulpit still broadcast life-changing messages? These do. If the life of one who is dead may still speak (Hebrews 11:4), there is little reason to think that echoes of that earlier message cannot enrich still. July 5–10, 2009 witnessed an international quincentenary of the birth of John Calvin, called Calvin500, purposefully held in the church building that witnessed so much of his reform. Fifteen expository messages were delivered during Calvin500, and they provide both models of preaching as well as a primer to re-introduce Calvinism to a modern world. Some of these preachers are at the apex of their ministries, others still on the ascent. The echoes continue; after all, in the beginning was the Word. That Word which was with God and that was God is proclaimed by these sermons. The truths from this Genevan pulpit are the same as those trumpeted by Calvin himself. Our prayer is for this Word to return to God with his intended blessings.
(Posted by David Hall)
#1 Two of the sermons from our time in the Cathedral are scheduled to air on Ligonier Ministry’s Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast this week.
From John Duncan of Ligonier, see below.
“Make sure your network and interested friends know that Ferguson and Orombi’s Calvin 500 messages will air nationally on RYM, Oct. 20 and 21. The station locator at our site shows listeners what station in their area broadcasts RYM and the time it’s on.
We will feature the series again when the product sets are in house and we’ll take preorders for those that call in during these two messages.”
#2 We’re happy to announce that Ligonier Ministry is partnering with us to release the set of 15 sermons from Calvin500 in CD format. See their website beginning Nov. 1 for a totally cool Christmas gift to friends and family. If your pastor hasn’t heard these, we heartily recommend them.
#3 Book 5 of the Calvin500 series, Calvin and Commerce: The Transforming Power of Calvinism in Market Economies (co-authored by Matt Burton and myself) is just out from P&R this week, and vol. 6 (the morning lectures, Tributes to John Calvin) is slated for release April 1, 2010. Following that, the final two volumes will be released from P&R in 2010. Find all the volumes as available from the P&R website.
Feel free to blog, twitter, or pass the news on about our sermons release as a CD set to whomever you think would benefit. Pastors, if you’re the only ones who know this, it is not boasting to let your congregation know where to find these great sermons.
(Geneva, Switzerland) – July 9, 2009 – On the eve of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, Calvin 500, the international Quincentenary celebration concluded tonight at St. Pierre Cathedral in the old town of Geneva. Following a week of over 20 academic lectures, 15 expository sermons, with numerous other associated meetings, the commemoration concluded with a closing luncheon at Restaurant La Broche, with the Rev. Geoff Thomas of Wales, addressing the banquet.
Later that afternoon, Dr. Henry Krabbendam and Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda spoke on “Reformation and Revival.” Nearly 1000 participants enjoyed the festivities and addresses during the week. The conferences concluded with sermons by Ted Donnelly from Northern Ireland, Hywel Jones from Wales, and Derek Thomas from the USA.
Executive Director, Dr. David W. Hall summarized: “We could not be more pleased—the speakers were superb, this has been the only conference to date to focus on Calvinistic preaching, our hosts were simply magnanimous, and we could not be more pleased. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In addition, the publishing Sponsor, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishers, is releasing an 8-volume set as THE CALVIN500 SERIES. Four volumes are now available, and the fifth one, Calvin and Commerce by David W. Hall and Matthew D. Burton, was announced at the conference. All volumes are also available at amazon.com or may be ordered at a local bookstore.
For a description of each volume, see here.
(Posted by Ray Pennings)
It’s late – a long Wednesday at the Calvin 500 conference has passed and I am feeling exhausted although edified by this day. The morning started with five academic papers as usual. Dr. George Knight led off with a paper on “Calvin as New Testament Exegete” which for a good portion, was an informative survey paper Calvin’s NT work concluding with some observations about the strengths and weaknesses of this work for use in the church today. The next two papers complemented each other well. Dr. R. Scott Clark spoke on “Calvin’s principle of Worship.” He was followed by Dr. Terry Johnson who read a paper written by Dr. Hughes Old on “Preaching as Worship in the Pulpit of John Calvin.” Both papers raised many profound insights, too many to atttempt to summarize here. Two samples:
“Piety in godliness is the result of attendance at public worship, preaching and the sacraments. It is meaningless to speak of righteousness without religion of which public worship is the highest expression. To avoid or neglect this is spiritual theft.” (wording not exact, but my notes from Clark.)
On the place of the sermon in the liturgy of the sevice, “There is a doxological intention in preaching. Preaching is both an answer and a call to prayer. The word is an answer to prayer and the prayer is an answer to the word. The sacrament is like a signature on a letter or a seal on a charter. That is why the sacrament should be administered without preceding word. Without the word preceding the sign, the sign has no meaning.” (wording not exacdt, but my notes from Olds.)
Dr. Henri Boucher followed with a paper on “Calvin the Frenchman” in which he documented the French influences in the life of Calvin and suggested some implications and Dr. William McCormish on “Calvin’s Children” in which he quite masterfully demonstrated the scope of Calvins influence, both from a geographic and sphere perspective.
Following the monring session, a number of us had the priviledge of touring the Reformation Museum. This evening was a time for worship again following a similar format as the previous evenings, but this time using a liturgy that was derived from John Knox’s 1556 Form of Prayers.
The first sermon this evening was on Ephesians 1:3-14 enttiled “Election” by Rev. Geoffrey Thomas. He expounded the text with five points:
1. Election is a simple doctrine to understand. A useful illustrative narrative between a pastor and parishoner who was confused about election was used to make his point.
Pastor – How are you saved? Parishoner – By God’s grace.
Pastor – Did God save you or did you save yourself? Parishoner – God did.
Pastor – Did He do so on purpose or by accident?
2. We should not have small or shrinking thoughts of God’s election. He has saved a great multitudes of His people.
3. God chose multitudes because He loved them. “We cannot speak of God without speaking of Him as being in love with His people.”
4. The teaching of election effects us by (a) humbling us; (b)encouraging us; (c)providing support for evangelism; (d) making us courageous.
5. How can we know we are elect? We know our election by having Christ. “A faith as thin as a spiders thread, in Christ, will carry us across the fire.”
The second sermon was delivered by Dr. Joel Beeke on Matthew 16:18b entitled “Cherishing the Church.” Dr. Beeke opened by outlining the opposite extremes of “absolutism and clericalism” (which he identified with a Roman Catholic view of the church) and “a “subjectivism and individualist” view of the church (which he identified with modern evangelicalism.) He suggested that the teaching of Matthew 16:18 provided us the key for a balanced and biblical view. He expounded his text using three points.
1. The Status of the Church as Belonging to Christ. It is His by gift from the Father, by promise, and by purchase. Dr. Beeke powerfully described the price paid on Golgotha as the “dowry price” for the church, asking with the words of Calvin: “If Christ cherished the church that he died for her, is it too much to ask his followers to live for her?” But not only did Christ die for her, He lives for her (referencing the work of His intercession) and He sends out preachers to gather her.
2. The Substance of the church founded on Christ. Noting that a great deal of blood and ink had been spilt over the meaning of the phrase “on this rock I will build my church”, Dr. Beeke dealt with the theological controversy briefly and then proceeded to use the biblical imagery of stones and a building to describe the church. Christ Jesus is the chief cornerstone; the teaching of the apostles are built upon that cornerstone; and all believers are become living stones, fitly framed together into a glorious structure. Listening to this in a majestic stone cathedral, the imagery was especially powerful. Dr. Beeke challenged his audience always to keep this identity of the church in mind, noting that even though the church may appear at times to be aging and failing, she remains the bride of Christ and we should not abandon our mother.
3. The success of the church as the workmandship of Christ. He noted how the church has a wonderful indestructability; how she is a wonderful institution; how her members have a wonderful individuality; how she has a wonderful inheritance; and how she is able to give a wonderful invitation.”The church is not a closed society, or you and I would never have been able to join.”
The final sermon of the evening was delivered by Dr. Martin Holdt on Psalm 110. He noted how this Psalm is rarely preached on, in spite of it being quoted 27 times in the New Testament, surmising that it is due to the difficult subject matter of God’s sovereign judgment on His enemies. Yet it is a Messianic psalm, and with a verse-by-verse exposition, Dr. Holdt worked through the truths of the sovereignty of God as it will bring down the enemies of God and bring all of the elect safely home.
Throughout the day, there was much to edify as well as challenge the mind and, when combined with the interesting conversations with fellow-beleivers around the globe, which reminds one of both the joys and challenges of the Christian life, I go to bed with my mind and heart having been filled at the smorgasboard feast that was offered in the day, and looking forward to the final day of this special conference tomorrow.
(Geneva, Switzerland) – July 8, 2009 – Calvin 500, the international Quincentenary celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth (July 10, 1509), recognized several promising prize-winning Young Scholars as part of its commemoration of John Calvin.
As its own symposium within the Quincentenary of John Calvin’s birth, Calvin500 is pleased to announce that the following will be recognized at the Young Calvin Scholars Symposium at the Auditoire in Geneva on July 8 at 15h00. The public is cordially invited to hear synopses of these award-winning papers below.
The Calvin Prize will be awarded to Michael Habets of New Zealand for his essay, “Calvin’s Reformed Doctrine of Theosis,” at 15h10.
The Beza Prize will be awarded to Sebastian Heck of Heidelberg, Germany for his essay, “Elements of Innatism in the Thought of John Calvin,” at 15h30
The Viret Prize will be awarded to Matthew Burton of Atlanta, Georgia for his essay, “The Spirit of Calvinism in Business,” at 15h50.
The Zwingli Prize will be awarded to Michael Dewalt & Maarten Kuivenhoven of Grand Rapids, Michigan for his essay, “Calvin’s Practical View of Adoption,” at 16h10.
The Bucer Prize will be awarded to Timothy Gwin of Atlanta, Georgia for his essay, “Piety in Calvin and Erasmus, at 16h30.
The Farel Prize will be awarded to Joseph Fleener of New Zealand for his essay, “Exploring, with John Calvin, Our Adoption as Sons,” at 16h50.
Moderators for the Symposium will be Drs. David Hall, Darryl Hart, and Jon Payne.
Throughout the week, scholars and ministers are presenting lectures and sermons in these historic environs to celebrate the contributions of the Genevan reformer.
For more information and updates, visit http://www.Calvin500blog.org. Live blogging information will also be available from that page. (288)
(Post by Ray Pennings)
Once again we gathered in the cathedral at 7 for a time of worship which included singing, a communal confession of sin, pastoral prayer, and the reading of the creed from John Calvin’s 1545 Catechism of the Church of Geneva. We also listened to three sermons. The first was by Dr. Stephen Lawson on Galatians 1:6-10 entitled “Guarding the Gospel.” He expounded the text with four points: Paul’s amazement, Paul’s adversaries, Paul’s anathemas, and Paul’s anger. The final sermon was by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan on Philippians 2:13-14 which he expounded under three points: A Challenge for the Indolent; A cure for pride; and a Comfort for the discouraged.
The middle sermon way by Dr. Ian Campbell on Romans 8:26,27, and 34 and was entitled “Three Great Intercessions.” In his first point “The Intercession within the veil”, Rev. Campbell used the two altars in the Old Testament as illustrative of Christ’s work of intercession. There was the altar of sacrafice and the altar of incense, the first which pointed to Christ’s work of atonement and the second which pointed to His intercession. Paul can ask rhetorically “Who is he that condemns?”, speaking of the security of the believer, not only because of what Christ has done in the atonement but what He is doing in intercession. The two are closely linked. “The atonement is real because in its very nature, it is an intercession. the intercession is real because in its very nature it is an atonement.” Christ’s very presence in heaven is an intercession — a reminder of the work he finished on earth. But although His work on earth was finished, His work itself is not finished. Although the sacrafice on the cross no longer needs to be offered, it is being continually presented.
In his second point, “The intercession within the church”, Rev. Campbell quoted Calvin noting that Christ’s interceding for us does not prevent us from interceding for each other within the church. In fact, Christ’s intercession provides every reason for believers to be bold in their prayers for each other as “the intercession of Christ has changed the throne of dread for glory into a throne of grace.” He challenged the audience with the question not did you pray, but who did you intercede for?
In his final point, “The intercession within our hearts”, Rev. Campbell focused on the words “groanings which cannot be uttered.” He used the illustration of a personal care health worker who needs to take care of our most intimate needs, and some do it with a grace and respect that we hardly realize what has happened. So the Holy Spirit works in our hearts, turning our incoherence whose meaning is lost even to ourselves into something that is perfectly heard as eloquence in heaven. He notes the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is coordinated with the work of the Son in heaven, and so “heaven is brought to earth before the believer is ever brought to heaven.” He urged his hearers to be active in using “the inconceivable preciousness of the throne of grace.”
The lighting in the cathedral was sombre as a thunderstorm brought down rain and the stained glass looked very different with the backdrop of a darkened sky. Yet, I was not alone in sensing a particular power in the worship, having been given by the preaching a chance as it were, to stand on our tippy-toes and see something of the glories of the redemption wrought by God in His people. Dr. Duncan concluded his sermon noting that the reason Jesus named Lazarus when he called him from the grave — “Lazarus, come forth” — was that His word is so powerful that had he not named Lazarus but just said “Come forth”, every person would have come from the grave. Such is the power that is at work in the lives of believers! After three verses of build-up with the assistance of the majestic organ, the final verse of the final song was sang acapella with a particular fervour:
To the Lord most tender
Ye who know and love the Saviour.
Hallelujahs sing ye,
Ye redeemed, oh bring ye
Hearts that yield hiim glad behaviour.
Blest are ye
Sinless there forever,
Ye shall laud him ever.
(from Wondrous King All Glorious, Joachim Neander, 1680)
The Calvin500 Anniversary Conference officially started their events this morning with five papers presented between 9:00am – 1:00pm. This morning was like what we will be seeing for the rest of the week: every morning there are addresses given by a number of well-known Calvin scholars from around the world. The speakers and their papers this morning (July 6th) included:
Dr. Douglas Kelly: “The Catholicity of the Theology of John Calvin”
Dr. Richard Gamble: “Recent Research in Calvin Studies”
Dr. Darryl Hart: “Calvin Among Nineteenth-Century Reformed Protestants in the United States”
Dr. Robert Kingdon: “Calvin and Ecclesiastical Discipline”
Dr. John Witte: “Reading Calvin as a Lawyer”
The papers presented throughout the week include a number of different studies on Calvin and about Calvinism. From dealing with “The Catholicity of the Theology of John Calvin,” all the way to “Calvin and his Children.”
The addresses this week are all given in the The Auditorie de Calvin. For those of you who do not know exactly what that is—it is where John Calvin taught his students during the Reformation. This particular building is one of the many that the Lord has used for His church and it has a very long history of Christian worship since the 15th century. The Auditorie de Calvinbecame a significant center for the development of the new Reformed thinking that was shaking the foundations of medieval Europe. Calvin would hold meetings in the building in 1557, as he and his other theologians would teach, take questions, and allow debates. It was also the church in which John Knox the Scotsman ministered in English between 1556—1559.
For a taste of what is going on, here is a small tidbit of Darryl Hart’s paper:
“Church life in the newly established United States presented an unusual set of circumstances for most Protestants. The disestablishment of religion that the Constitution’s First Amendment codified set most communions on a voluntaristic footing. Unlike previous arrangements where churches received subsidies from the state as part of the official apparatus of the nation, disestablishment in principle leveled all churches, made them dependent on their own followers for financial support, and freed each denomination to regulate its own affairs independent from the oversight of government. To be sure, at the state level ecclesiastical establishments remained in place after 1789, and those legal arrangements lasted the longest in New England thanks to the Standing Order among Congregationalists in Connecticut and Massachusetts. But despite the longevity of state churches in various places, the First Amendment signaled the future of church life; denominations would not receive state subsidies and in turn would be free to pursue their ministries as they deemed best.10
The new political context for the churches gave an advantage to denominations that were either independent of tax support or less particular about a learned ministry. Baptists and Methodists expanded dramatically during the first half of the nineteenth century while Episcopalians and Congregationalists lagged behind. Because Presbyterians had never enjoyed an establishment status in any of the American colonies or states, they had figured out ways to minister without the support their counterparts in places like Scotland possessed. Even so, demands for pastors who knew Greek and Hebrew, not to mention a prior training in the liberal arts, put Presbyterians at a disadvantage in American church life, perhaps not as great as that experienced by Episcopalians and Congregationalists, but sufficiently burdensome to prevent Presbyterians from competing with Baptists and Methodists as the most popular and rapidly growing Protestant denominations in the new nation.”11
For the evening sessions:
Ray Pennings writes:
“This evening, we had a time of worship in the cathedral that included three sermons. Dr. Philip Ryken preached on I Corinthians 16:5-11, “A Wide Door for Spreading the Gospel in which he highlighted (1) the constraints of the call; (2) the openness of the doors; and (3) the strength of the opposition. Dr. Peter Lilliback preached on I Corinthians 1:29-31, “All the Glorious Offices of Christ” in which he described how Christ as a Redeemer functions as prophet, priest and king. In the final message, Dr. Robert Godfrey expounded John 17:3 focusing on (1) the life that is eternal; (2) the God who is true; and (3) the Christ who God has sent.”
10 Mark A. Noll, A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 143-53, provides a helpful overview of the new American environment for church life.
11 See Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy, 2nd ed., (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2005), for a provocative study of Protestants in America’s religious free market.
(Geneva, Switzerland) – July 7, 2009 – Calvin 500, the international Quincentenary celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth (July 10, 1509), is bestowing three Lifetime Achievement Awards this week in Geneva to honor exceptional scholarship and achievement.
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Reformation Scholarship was awarded on July 6th to Robert Kingdon, “Scholar par Excellence in the history of the Reformation, who led the way to a greater appreciation of Calvin’s work by his own study of Calvin’s life and times,” said Dr. David W. Hall, Executive Director of Calvin500.
The Calvin500 Executive Committee bestowed this award with its deepest thanks and in honor of Dr. Kingdon’s Lifetime Contribution to Reformation Scholarship. John Witte, Jr., of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Kingdon on July 6, who is recovering from an illness in Wisconsin.
On July 8, the Calvin Quincentenary in Geneva will award its Lifetime Achievement Award for Liturgics to Hughes Oliphant Old, “Dean of Reformed liturgical scholars in our day, for calling the Church back to the sources for worship according to Scripture, affirmed by the Fathers and the Reformers: Chrysostom, Augustine, and Calvin.” Dr. David W. Hall, Executive Director will present the award “with our deepest thanks and in honor of his Lifetime Contribution to the Recovery of Reformed Liturgy,” which will be accepted by Dr. Terry L. Johnson of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia.
In addition, at its closing banquet on July 9 in Geneva, the Calvin Quincentenary will award its Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Ministry to Rev. Geoffrey Thomas, ”Reformed pastor in the tradition of Calvin, Baxter, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones, for exemplifying the life of a godly pastor and mentoring many others, and for your years of pastoral ministry that adorns the profession.” At the closing banquet, Rev. Geoffrey Thomas will address the gathering on “What I learned from John Calvin and Martin Lloyd-Jones,” and the award will be presented by Drs. Derek Thomas and David Hall.
Throughout the week, scholars and ministers are presenting lectures and sermons in these historic environs to celebrate the contributions of the Genevan reformer.
For more information and updates, visit http://www.Calvin500blog.org. Live blogging information will also be available from that page.
(Geneva, Switzerland) – July 5, 2009 – Calvin 500, the international Quincentenary celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth (July 10, 1509), opened today at St. Pierre Cathedral in the old town of Geneva. Beginning with a welcome by Mr. Guillaume Taylor from the St. Pierre Parish Council, approximately 500 worshipers attended the opening convocations, featuring morning worship from Calvin’s time and a sermon on Philippians 3:8-12 by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina.
The evening services featured Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, much psalm singing, and a sermon by Dr. Bryan Chapell, President of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
”Calvin is one of the most important thinkers in history, said Calvin500 Executive Director Rev. David Hall, who also is pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in America located in Powder Springs, GA. “His ministry and writings left an indelible impression on the modern world, and especially Western culture. It would be hard to find a figure from history more worthy of remembering, if lasting impact for good is the standard”
Throughout the coming week, scholars and ministers will present lectures and sermons in these historic environs to celebrate the contributions of the Genevan reformer. The public is invited.
For more information and updates, visit http://www.Calvin500blog.org. Live blogging information will also be available from that page.
It’s been years since I’ve had such a good sleep as I had last night. After a little jetlag and walking miles throughout the day, it was also the first time in a long time that I was able to go to bed as early as 10pm. After a great night’s rest, attendees of the Calvin500 Tour and Conference spent their Lord’s Day worship in Calvin’s St. Pierre Cathedral in downtown Geneva.
During the morning worship, Rev. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson preached from Philippians 3:8-12. The sermon was entitled “In Christ Alone.”
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
His three points focused on:
What Paul was by nature
What Paul found in Christ
What he became by grace
Dr. Ligon Duncan on twitter commented on the message saying, “Glorious. Convicting. Strengthening.”
And it was.
During the evening service there were two messages. The first was by Rt. Rev. Henry Orombi, who preached from Matthew 24:45-51 a sermon entitled “Be a Faithful Servant.” Rev. Orombi brought four thoughts to mind in his message for today’s church:
In order to be a faithful servant, one must understand what it means to “feed my sheep.”
In order to be a faithful servant, one must love the church with boldness.
In order to be a faithful servant, it takes a willingness to make a sacrifice.
In order to be a faithful servant, a true and pure love for one’s Savior will love his sheep.
The last message of the evening was given by Rev. Dr. Bryan Chapell, who was preaching from Ephesians 1:3-6 a sermon entitled “In Praise of Predestination.”
Dr. Chapell’s core theme was built around Paul’s concern in writing Ephesians 1—that is, to reveal God’s Fatherhood in His sovereignty. Chapell stressed that we, the church, serve a God that blesses His children—blesses them with a union with Christ, and blesses them with the righteousness of Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-6 reads,
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
This brought a great reminder to me, that when talking about Predestination it is nothing to be argued about, or something to bring up to debate. Rather, it is something that we stand back as believers of the wonderful Gospel and look at the beauty, the awe, and wonder of our precious God in whom we serve, who predestined His elect before all of creation.
Crossing the pond for the first time took a little longer than what I had thought it would be. I simply could not sleep for more than 10 minutes on the flight from Detroit to Amsterdam without someone screaming in my ear, kicking my seat, or puking behind me. Instead, I spent most of the time reading a book, listening to my iPod, and I did watch one movie, Monsters vs. Aliens. But at last I made it safe to Amsterdam, and for that I am very thankful. I now stand in the Amsterdam Airport, which seems to either not have AC or they don’t use it, because I am sweating like mad in this place! I walked around trying to find somewhere to connect to the Internet, and happened to come across an “Internet-café,” where they wouldn’t allow me to use their wifi because I wouldn’t spend $10 on a cup of coffee. So I asked one of the ladies in those bright blue jumper outfits to aid me in finding some wifi so I could work, and she pointed me in the right direction. What she didn’t tell me was that it cost $6.00 American dollars for every 15 minutes. I think I’ll pass, and post tonight at the hotel.
After waiting a few hours in Amsterdam for my last flight, Ligon Duncan and Derek Thomas came walking up to where I was sitting. It was most certainly nice to see some faces that I knew and have a conversation for once in the last 15 hours. After we arrived in Geneva, we ran into Bryan Chapell at the Geneva Airport while getting our luggage. From there, all four of us squeezed into a taxi and headed to the hotel. Now I am sitting down here finishing up the small ends of this post and am in need of a nap since I have not yet slept. I heard a rumor that there is an organ show tonight at Calvin’s Cathedral, but I am not sure, nor know yet if I am going to go.
Here are a few shots of the city from my hotel window, and stay tuned for more to come on the events that are taking place this week.
Pre-day Conference Thoughts
What I liked
Free food is always a favorite of mine, so the meal and drinks on the plane I enjoyed.
Being able to get sushi with my fiancée before I left Michigan for my flight.
My flight from Grand Rapids to Detroit was on a plane fit for 200, and only had 20 people on it.
What I disliked
The 3 kids that sat behind me on the plane, and kicked the back of my seat for a strait 7-hours.
The women in the Amsterdam Airport that keep walking up to me, asking me to smell cologne in their stores.
The fact that everything seems to cost 2-times as much as it does back in Ohio or Michigan.
What I noticed
Everyone cares about how they smell, or what fragrance they have.
Everyone’s shoes are crazy; just different then what I am used to.
There are wine stores everywhere, not really a fan, but never saw them this large in an airport.
I was talking to a friend of mine just the other day through text-messaging about the coming Calvin500 Tour & Conference. In the conversation he mentioned in some matter to me that “it is about God, and not John Calvin” and in another text mentioned something to the effect that Calvin wouldn’t have wanted such a conference. The past week I have thought constantly about his comments, but how true it can be for us that are a part of the Reformed Faith to place such a emphasis on the “clay” that the Lord molds and shapes for his handy-work, this being John Calvin. Believers of the Gospel must be carful when dealing with our rich heritage (that the Lord has given us), but has used for his work, his church, and his glory.
So why gather in Geneva to celebrate John Calvin’s birthday, why spend the money to fly there, hotels, meals, why read papers written on and about John Calvin, why preach sermons on specific text in which are devoted to the ministry in which John Calvin had? These are a number of the thoughts that I have been thinking the last few days in preparing to fly “across the pond” before celebrating John Calvin’s 500th birthday in Geneva. I for one coming from America, and being a believer of the Gospel at the same time can easily see how the American-culture so easily makes idols. I cannot speak for all when blogging, but I can speak for myself in why I’m headed for the Calvin500 Tour and Conference.
I will gathered in Geneva for the 500th birthday of John Calvin—not merely to popularize him or idolize him, because John Calvin would have never wanted that. I will be there, rather, to make known and lift up John Calvin’s God—my God—The Supreme Being, The LORD who sits in authority and reigns over all things in complete sovereignty. For those who will attend, they will be blessed by…
For those or you in attendance… I hope this is as well your focus celebrating John Calvin’s 500th Birthday!
As for my prep, I have packed, I have spent the morning with my fiance and am now ready to start the long trip from Grand Rapids to Detroit to Amsterdam(4-hour layover) and then finally to Geneva. For those of you who will be reading these post and following along on my journey to Europe for the Calvin500 Conference, please I ask three things of you.
1. Be easy on me, my grammar and sentence structures may not be the best. I am a redneck from hickville small-town Ohio and have a long way still to go on my english. But for the most part, I write like I talk, which is not the best to read, but can be refreshing (different) at times.
2. For those that read my blog, “Gospel-Centered Musings,” I’ll be mostly double posting there and here on the Calvin500 Blog for the next 8 days or so. You’ll be able to see pictures, read articles, highlights from the day, and whatnot at either blog. For those that want to follow the Twitter account of my experience and read the post, I recommend my personal blog, because the twitter account is on the right hand side of my blog.
3. Lastly, I have no clue in what to expect for internet access (besides my hotel-room). I have contacted a number of individuals, but have not had much success, so bare with me.
To follow in whatever way you wish:
Twitter – follow his experience in Geneva while attending the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
Facebook – look for updated status’s on what is going on during the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
Calvin500 Blog – Blogging the papers and sermons given during the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
Calvin500 Twubs – Live twitter updates from all who are twittering the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
Gospel-Centered Musings – personal blog post on the experience in Geneva during the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
If any of you have questions of what is going on or would like me to find out any information for you dealing with the conference in Geneva during the 500th birthday of John Calvin, I’ll try my best. You can either email, facebook, twitter is the better, and I’ll do my best in trying to answer your questions.
Thankfully I am not traveling through Atlanta airport in any way, the last three times I have been there this past year, they lost my luggage all three times!
Take care for now, I have a flight to catch in an hour and will blog my 20-hour trip across the pond.
(post by David Hall)
We’ll have press releases from Calvin500 most days, July 5-9, for our readers. They will be found first on calvin500blog.org. Stay tuned for those and for Michael Dewalt’s blogging, twittering, facebooking, etc.
For a taste of what will take place in less than one week in Geneva at the Calvin500 Conference, here is Dr. Joel R. Beeke’s sermon that he will be giving, “Cherishing the Church.”
Ligon Duncan writes,
“This year the reformed world has seen a number of books and conferences related to the life and work of John Calvin. For instance, Derek and I will be participating in the “Calvin 500″ in Geneva next week. Of course, many who would love to attend a Calvin conference will not be able to make the pilgrimage all the way to Geneva! Thus there are many other conferences devoted to Calvin all over the United States. In an age that lacks appreciation of and is at times generally ignorant of history, one of the most important of the Calvin conferences, in my estimation, is “Calvin for the 21st Century,” sponsored by the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As with all things under the direction of Joel Beeke, you can expect that the conference will be first rate and excellently demonstrate the relevance of one of the greatest reformers of all time. And Derek and I will be there too!
If you would like more information about “Calvin for the 21st Century,” check out this website http://www.puritanseminary.org/conference/index.php. Those interested should take advantage of the preregistration discount being offered through July 24th. Space is limited.”
The Speakers of the Calvin500 Tour and Conference
Commemorating Calvin Conference: A 5-day international symposium with leading Ministers in Geneva (July 5-9, 2009).
Joel R. Beeke, PhD
Iain D. Campbell, PhD
Bryan Chapell, PhD
Edward Donnelly, MTh
Ligon Duncan, PhD
W. Robert Godfrey, PhD
Martin Holdt, PhD
Sinclair Ferguson, PhD
Hywel R. Jones, PhD
Steven Lawson, DMin
Peter Lillback, PhD
Philip Ryken, DPhil
Derek Thomas, PhD
Tribute Conference begins: A 4-day international symposium with leading scholars in the historic Auditoire in Geneva (July 6-9, 2009).
Henri Blocher, PhD
Richard Burnett, PhD
R. Scott Clark, DPhil
William Edgar, PhD
Isabelle Grassle, PhD
Richard Gamble, PhD
Darryl Hart, PhD
Michael Horton, PhD
Terry L. Johnson, DMin
Douglas Kelly, PhD
Jae Sung Kim, PhD
Robert Kingdon, PhD
Anthony N. S. Lane, PhD
William McComish, PhD
Bruce McCormack, PhD
Andrew McGowan, PhD
George Knight, PhD
Hughes Old, PhD
Herman Selderhuis, PhD
John Witte, Jr., JD
The Young Calvin Scholars Symposium: July 8th in the historic Auditoire.
Matthew Button, MBA
Michael M. Dewalt, MAR
Tim Gwin, MDiv
See the Calvin500 Tour and Conference Schedule here
On June 26, 2009, Paul Butler of Prime Time America spoke with Doug Phillips, Dr. Michael Haykin, and Scott Anderson about the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. Clearly, John Calvin’s contributions to western civilization and the Christian Church have had far greater impact than most people dare to admit or are even aware of. Scratch the surface of just about any issue facing the church and society today and you will find that John Calvin has made a contribution to the discussion. To learn why many people around the globe are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, listen to Paul Butler’s Moody Radio segment here.
To find out how you can register for this year’s Puritan Reformed conference, Calvin for the 21st Century, visit here.
July 10, 2009, marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. This summer there are many gatherings planned to celebrate the reformer’s life and legacy all around the world.
This feature highlights three of these celebrations with:
1. Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries which is sponsoring the “Reformation 500 Celebration” in Boston, MA, July 1st – 4th.
2. Dr. Michael Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who is speaking at the “Calvin for the 21st Century Conference” sponsored by the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI, August 27th – 29th.
3. Scott Anderson, Director of Conferences for Desiring God Ministries which is sponsoring the: “With Calvin in the Theatre of God Conference” in Minneapolis, MN, September 25th – 27th.
Wondering what exactly the Calvin500 Tour is about?
Calvin 500 Conference Schedule here.
Our tour begins in France, the country of Calvin’s birth. Starting off with a three-night stay in the magnificent French capital, Paris, we’ll have opportunities to get acquainted
with some of the city’s historic churches and world-class museums. We’ll also make excursions to Noyon, the little town where Calvin was born; the amazing Chateau de Versailles; and Orleans, the scenic city where Calvin studied law. Then, we’ll head for Reims to see its wonderful old cathedral, and we’ll spend a night in Strasbourg. Calvin was exiled here from 1538 to 1541, during which time he pastored a congregation of French refugees.
Next, we’ll cross the border into majestic Switzerland and pay a visit to Berne, seat of the Swiss Federal Government. And now for Geneva where we’ll have six nights and five full days to attend the Anniversary Conferences and get acquainted with the vibrant city that is often called the “Rome of the Protestants.” We’ll also en-joy a cruise on the lake, an excursion to nearby Lausanne, an opportunity to visit the city’s most important museums, and free time to explore on our own.
Throughout the tour and at the conferences, esteemed leaders, scholars, and ministers will illuminate Calvin’s influence and the cultural, religious, and political impact flowing from his work. If you’ve been looking for a great opportunity to tour Reformation highlights while also learning from some of the finest experts on Calvin, this is the best shot for hundreds of years for hundreds of people to come together! The fellowship should be unparalleled.
We’re now accepting Conference Only registrations for those who wish to make their own arrangements but still attend all sessions of Calvin500 in Geneva in July 2009. For more information or to register, click here.
Tribute Conference begins: A 4-day international symposium with leading scholars in the historic Auditoire in Geneva (July 6-9, 2009); Enjoy stimulating lectures, current research, and well-researched analyses in the mornings or afternoons from some of the finest experts on Calvin in the Tribute Conference.
Commemorating Calvin Conference: A 5-day international symposium with leading Ministers in Geneva (July 5-9, 2009). For those wishing to appreciate the theology and spirituality of Calvin, the Commemorating Calvin Conference will be without parallel. Both conferences will be located in Geneva’s Old Town.
If you wish to register for the Geneva “Conference Only” Package, assuming responsibility for your own arrangements, please register here.
Interested in some really great discounts on Calvin titles?
If you are a Calvinist, you are a reader! Many of us in the “Reformed” circles enjoy reading books, but even more love to read substantial books that help mold us into the believer we should be. That is why books are passed out at conferences, passed around by friends, and bought from book stores. We at the Calvin 500 blog know that it is crucial in today’s postmodern culture to get out GREAT books that will aid in that growth process as we seek to pursue a life that holy and honorable to our Lord. In doing so, Reformation Heritage Books have taken the time to create a section on their own website called Calvin 500 for the readers of the Calvin 500 Blog. They have arranged their titles into the following categories so that you our readers can easily find what you may be looking for on Calvin. I must also mention that their prices are hard to beat, discounted at a reasonable price for the purpose to put Reformed and Puritan literature in the hands of the church.
- The Calvin 500 Series
- For Children
- John Calvin
The John Calvin Bobble head stands 7 1/2 inches tall and the base is about 3 1/2 inches in circumference.
One event I am looking forward to at the Calvin500 Tour is meeting at the Paquis Pier at 1:45 p.m. for a 2:00 p.m. departure on July 6th. The Pier will be a five- to ten-minute walk from my Hotel. I’ll embark on the Henri-Durant for a cruise on Geneva’s beautiful lake – What a lovely opportunity to relax in the company of many of those who have gathered in Geneva for the Anniversary Conferences! The cruise will be about three hours in duration. Some of the participants on the cruise are:
Frank and Joan Alexander
Joel and Mary Beeke
John and Marie Beeke
Richard and Joyce Blauw
David and Ursula Blumenthal
Robert and Betsy Bryant
Matthew and Mary Burton
Walter and Sue Cook
Lance and Sonja Cooper
Elisha and Sharen de Waard
Nellie den Dulk
Tim and Jan Devine
Edward and Lorna Donnelly
Jennings and Anne Duncan
Richard, Janice, Gwenyth, Hilary, Lindsey and
Jim and Deborah Goodloe
Randy and Nancy Grossman
David and Ann Hall
Kenneth and Janet Hargis
Martin and Elsabe Holdt
Leonard and Anne Jenkins
William and Jean Johnson
Doug and Caroline Kelly
Jae Sung Kim and Soyang Cho
George and Virginia Knight
Henry and Mrs. Krabbendam
Philip and Shelley Kruis
Peter and Debra Lillback
David and Jennifer Long
Robert and Dianne Matthews
Dan and Amy Meadows
Harry and Catherine Metzger
Chris and Jenny Miller
Jerry and Ann O’Neill
Paul and Heidi Parisi
Ron and Fil Reed
Jack and Karen Rhoda
Douglas and Alice Roossien
Joseph and Eugenia Roskos
Tim and Katherine Russell
Mark and Sharon Sampson
Cornelius, Esther and Pamela Schelling
Richard and Adrien Segal
Gordon and Diana Severance
Geoff and Iola Thomas
John and Joann Tolson
Rob van der Hoek
Steven and Mrs. Vander Hill
Joe and Mary VanPuffelen
Craig and Arlo Weaver
Milton and Carolyn Werkema
Thomas and Katherine West
Mike and Brenda Whealy
John and Norma White
Mark and LeeAnn Wilkins
John Witte and Eliza Ellison
David, Jennifer and Sarah Wood
Check back for more updates on and about the Tour from time-to-time before the action starts in Geneva!