Friday, 9 May 2014

My Journey to the Reformed Faith (discovering John Calvin!)

As I write this blog post, I have affectionately taken a book off my shelf which is called "John Calvin's Sermons on Ephesians". Why did I do that? It is because, if my memory serves me well, the first Calvin book that I read and it was life-changing for me because Calvin lucidly, patiently and faithfully expounds the text of Scripture. At that particular point in my life when I read this book many years ago, I was hungry for God's Word and for spiritual answers, and yet I was struggling to get answers to my questions. Though these sermons were first published in French in 1562, they were fresh and alive to me in the modern era. What does that tell us when some people are always saying we must be contemporary? God's truth, when it is rightly expounded is always timeless and contemporary, even though it may not pander to the modern man's agenda.

It is unusual for someone to be on a Reformed pilgrimage and not to be influenced by John Calvin. Now this idea could be misunderstood so that people may infer that Calvin is a new pope of the Reformed church. This is not true though. I do not consider Calvin's exposition of the Scripture to be infallible and his works are considering answers that are drawn from the Scripture; this method is one of the primary tenets of the Reformed faith. Scripture alone (sola scriptura) is our maxim, so that we consider with Calvin the right interpretation of Scripture.

I commend readers of this blog to read the works of Calvin and I will give three recommendations as a starter.

1. John Calvin's Commentary on Habakkuk will provide a refreshing vision of the sovereignty of God

2. Calvin's Sermons on Ephesians, especially on Ephesians 1:1-14 will turn over any Arminian thinking in your minds because this letter by Paul demolishes wrong thinking concerning God's salvation. God is the initiator of all things.

3. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. These are a systematising of Reformed Teaching and it is a theological classic.

In closing, I hope that I have whet your appetite to read Calvin, but also to read the Book of Ephesians in the Bible. Hear what Paul wrote 2000 years ago: "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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:3-5).

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