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Archive of posts tagged John Calvin

The Looking Glass of The Gospel

“His blessings whereunto we are called are incomprehensible to our natural senses, nevertheless God by the looking glass of his Gospel causes us to behold that which cannot be seen by reason nor by man’s understanding” – Calvin, sermon in 1 Timothy 6:15-16

Encouragement for Discouraged Preachers

As we approach the anniversary of John Calvin’s last sermon (February 6, 1564) I am posting comments from his sermons on 1 Timothy. In the section below, from a sermon on 1 Tim 6:12-14, Calvin provides powerful encouragement for those times of discouragement, opposition and despair. Appropriately, Calvin points us to God drawing especially on […]

Abandoned to God

“Upon what condition has God called us to his service?  Is it for one deed or two, and then give us leave every man to rest?  No, no; but that we should dedicate ourselves to him, both to live and to die, and to be his, for good and all.” –  John Calvin, sermon on […]

Gospel-Inspired Striving

“If men through vain ambition are so set on fire that they spare not their very lives, what shall we do?  What cowardliness is it and how can it be excused if any may spare himself, when God sets not before us any temporal wages, any piece of silver, and fleeting and brittle possession, but […]

Pastors as Fathers, Caring for Each Member

Commenting on Paul’s statement that he cared for the Thessalonians as a father (1 Thess 2:11), Calvin articulates an important aspect of pastoral ministry. unquestionably, no one will ever be a good pastor, unless he shows himself to be a  father to the Church that is committed to him. Nor does he merely declare himself […]

Calvin on the Necessity of Care of Individual Members

Commenting on Acts 20:20 where Paul says he taught the Ephesians “both publicly and house to house,” Calvin states: This is the second point, that he did not only teach all men in the congregation, but also every one privately, as every man’s necessity did require. For Christ hath not appointed pastors upon this condition, […]

Reformation and the Care of Souls

Happy Reformation Day! I was privileged to speak in chapel today at Union University for our Reformation Day chapel and chose as my topic, “The Care of Souls: The Heart of the Reformation.” My main point is that the Reformation was not simply an academic or abstract discussion but arose from the pastoral care of […]

Pride, A Disqualifier for Ministry

Years ago, when I was a teenager, a seasoned, well-intentioned Baptist deacon gave me an explanation.  I was bothered by the apparent arrogance of a pastor, directed towards this deacon and not me. The deacon explained, “Well, you have to expect a certain amount of arrogance from preachers. That’s just the way they are.”  Without […]

Calvin, “It is Not Enough to Preach”

A common theme at this site is the importance of extra-pulpit ministry. While upholding the crucial importance of preaching, we also need to uphold the crucial importance of direct, individual ministry to our people. I have pointed to various historical examples who have made this point, and recently I came across a great comment on […]

The Sufficiency & Perfection of Ministers of the Word of God

Expounding 1 Timothy 4:12-13 Calvin has much valuable to say about the preaching ministry. Here is just one key quote: This is the sufficiency, yes, and perfection of the ministers of the word of God, namely, that they be of good understanding in Holy Scripture, and be faithful expounders of it. If they have this, […]