Mar 17, 2009

Citations from Calvin

Ligon Duncan wants citations from Calvin that show he put faith in the gospel as the instrumental cause of regeneration or new birth. I have already referred him to several citations. Let me offer a few more from Calvin.

On I Cor. 4: 15 he writes:

"For in Christ. Here we have the reason why he alone ought to be esteemed as the father of the Corinthian Church -- because he had begotten it. And truly it is in most appropriate terms that he here describes spiritual generation, when he says that he has begotten them in Christ, who alone is the life of the soul, and makes the gospel the formal cause. Let us observe, then, that we are then in the sight of God truly begotten, when we are engrafted into Christ, out of whom there will be found nothing but death, and that this is effected by means of the gospel, because, while we are by nature flesh and hay, the word of God, as Peter (1 Peter 1:24, 25) teaches from Isaiah, (Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8,) is the incorruptible seed by which we are renewed to eternal life. Take away the gospel, and we will all remain accursed and dead in the sight of God. That same word by which we are begotten is afterwards milk to us for nourishing us, and it is also solid food to sustain us for ever."

Calvin believed that men were born again by the gospel and by faith in it, for faith is what unites one to Christ, and the results of this faith union are all the blessings of salvation, including initial regeneration.

Does Duncan believe like Calvin that faith unites a sinner to Christ and then all the blessings of salvation are enjoyed and received? If not, then he is not in line with Calvin.

On Eph. 1: 19 & 2: 8 Calvin wrote:

" preaching is the instrument of faith, so the Holy Spirit makes preaching efficacious."

"For by grace are ye saved. This is an inference from the former statements. Having treated of election and of effectual calling, he arrives at this general conclusion, that they had obtained salvation by faith alone. First, he asserts, that the salvation of the Ephesians was entirely the work, the gracious work of God. But then they had obtained this grace by faith. On one side, we must look at God; and, on the other, at man. God declares, that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or recompense, but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us."

What Duncan needs to do is show us how Calvin did not include regeneration in his use of the word "salvation." Also, he needs to show us how the "salvation" under discussion in Ephesians chapter two excludes regeneration. Can he do it? Will he?

Calvin continued:

"When, on the part of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith alone, all other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded. Faith, then, brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ. And so he adds, not of yourselves; that claiming nothing for themselves, they may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation."

Again, I think Calvin is very clear.

All these citations are from Calvin's commentary.

No comments: