I’ve read through the Institutes 3 times. It’s good, I guess. I just don’t really resonate towards Calvin. And until 1800, that was more or less the impression in the Reformed world. So why are people so concerned to tag us as Calvinists? I debated Orthodox Bridge on this point 3 years ago. They couldn’t even understand the question.
Where Calvin is interesting is not predestination. You can find the same thing in Aquinas (and harder and more stern). He’s interesting on union with Christ and church government.
Rutherford is a good example:
John Coffey notes in his glorious study on Rutherford concerning how marginal Calvin was for Reformed scholastics:
“Yet contrary to the common assumption, Calvin did not tower above all other Reformed theologians in importance. In *Pro Divina Gratia* Rutherford referred to Calvin only four times. William Twisse…was referred to 12 times… “Rutherford never called himself a Calvinist” (Coffey, *Politics, Religion, and the British Revolution*, p. 75)
2 thoughts on “Speak ye not of Calvin”
I wonder if this is a combination of revulsion-fascination and intellectual capital that made this happen. Calvin was treated as the root cause of ill among Laudian Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and maybe this came from the fact that Calvin was popular in France as a Reformed voice. France’s place as intellectual and political capital of Europe in the 17th century transferred into England and perhaps with that it made his work, for those Reformed sympathetic, desirable to be translated, by both opponents and supporters.
My guess at a genealogy.
And what I see at places like Orthodox Bridge is this pseudo-fundamentalism found in many zealous converts. It’s like your mental faculties short-circuit. You’d think a guy who claims he is Reformed would be able to discern this. Instead it’s all about discrediting TULIP, which doesn’t make sense if you really want to engage or discredit Reformed theology.
Interesting about France. I hadn’t thought of that.