Revisiting Calvinism

In case you missed the CBS piece on Calvinism from September 2009, in celebration of Calvin’s 500th Birthday, we are posting it in part, and linking to the original article. Calvinism seems to be making a comeback. If this is true, thank God for it.

At its root and branch The New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy is thoroughly Calvinistic, as is The Reformed Bible Church in central Virginia at Appomattox and its research institute The ITR. With its emphasis upon the Reformation’s idea of applied Theology to every realm of life, the Academy is adding new, ground breaking, classes each semester to provide the necessary tool for cultural application.

Revisiting Calvinism

“If you want to see clear evidence of the connection between God and the United States, look at the life and beliefs of the Protestant reformer, John Calvin. July marks the 500th anniversary of his birth.

Calvin never stepped foot on American soil, but his influence in the founding of this country is difficult to deny.

‘Father of America’

CBN News took to the streets to discover that most people today associate the name, Calvin, with the comic strip character Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, or Calvin Klein.

That is a shame according to Dr. Charles Dunn, dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University.

Dunn agreed with the late Harvard historian George Bancroft who wrote,

“He that will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.”

Bancroft even called Calvin “the father of America.”

“We might dispute the degree to which he was the father of America,” Dunn said. “But no one had as great an influence over such a breadth of ideas as John Calvin.”

Calvin developed many of those ideas while he was pastor of St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva beginning in 1536 with ideas that transformed the city. Those ideas included education for the masses, not just the elite; the sacredness of all professions, not just the ministry; free market economic reforms; and checks and balances in civil government.

“He understood the nature of government that you cannot grant power to just one authority because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Dunn said. “So there must be checking of power with power.”

These are ideas the early settlers brought to America a century later and appeared in documents like the Mayflower Compact and the U.S. Constitution.

Significant Works

But perhaps Calvin’s most significant work was his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Dunn called it “The most brilliant theological document since the New Testament.”

Five centuries later, it is still in print in two volumes. In it, Calvin set out to explain what the Bible had to say about God, man, creation, sin, justification by faith, the church and the sacraments, among other things. But the theme throughout is the sovereignty of God in all of life, including salvation.

Today, Calvinism, or reformed theology as it is also called, is a small minority of the evangelical movement. But it is making a comeback in places many evangelicals have avoided.”

Read the entire piece here:


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