Reading Report: Calvin's Institutes Intro (vii-xxxvi)

January 5, 2020

Here is an assorted bulleted list.

  • I found the background on the different editions and translations fascinating. I have heard about this book for years, but didn't realize how extensive it was (vii-xi)
  • The Letter to the King of France: I don't remember my history of France for that time period. It is on my "to read" list. So, as I read the letter, I wondered the disposition of the King in this until I got to the end of the letter and Calvin touched on the King's hostility (xxxvi).
  • I appreciated Calvin taking the current situation and presenting the Gospel
  • I wondered as I read the letter if the King was able to follow Calvin's nuance. I know that often kings were educated beyond the commoner, but I still wondered if he went too far. I noticed that he himself at the end of the letter acknowledged this as well (xxxvi).
  • "In short, they all have the same motive: to keep their power secure or their belly filled." (xxii) - I thought this was a nice concise statement of human nature and the retention of influence and power.
  • In his discussion of miracles, I appreciated that he brought the discussion in about Satan and his light-working and miracle working (xxiv-xxv).
  • The overview of the Church Fathers on different issues was enlightening (xxvi-xxxviii).
  • I know that many of my brothers see the church in the Old Testament. I do not, but I still value their perspective. I always enjoy reading Calvin as he operates out of that perspective (xxx). (I use his commentaries in sermon preparation.)
  • One of my favorite parts of the letter, and perhaps the best in my opinion, is when Calvin asks, "What, then, were the apostles to do? Was it better for them to dissemble for a time, or to give up and wholly renounce the gospel which, they saw, was the seedbed of much strife, the source of many dangers and the cause of numerous scandals? In the midst of their distress they remembered that Christ himself is a stone of stumbling and a rock of of offence..." (xxxv).
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