Reading Report: Calvin's Institutes: Chapter 3a (109-133)

February 10, 2020

It has been a while since I have thought about the law, and I enjoyed reading Calvin's presentation thus far. I still think he could use more Scripture (page 110 is an example), but perhaps he is saving that for later in the chapter. I have also, more and more, started to take note when Calvin uses a derogatory phrase or label on folks he disagrees with. I am sure I didn't catch them all, but here are the ones that I did catch:

  • "deserves only ridicule" (116) - this one made me laugh out loud and is the one that caused me to decide to start to keep track
  • "sensible person may judge" (117) - a little more understated
  • "thoughtlessly" (119)
  • "flimsiest of reasons" (119) - he uses this of Augustine
  • "out of their minds" (125)
  • "foolish distinction" (125)
  • "empty excuses" (127)
  • "crude superstitions of the common folk" (128)
  • "rubbish" (129)
  • "evasion" (131) - also a little more understated

Here are some bulleted thoughts:

  • Is Calvin using "inner law" and "conscience" inner changeably (109)?
  • Calvin's "contrary argument" is thought-provoking (116). I am looking forward to thinking more upon it.
  • "We should observe that God's precepts contain more than we find expressed in words alone." (115). I don't disagree with this or his following sentences, but I do feel like a need to think about it much more. I feel like this is very delicate, yet Jesus himself as he interpreted Old Testament Scripture during his earthly ministry teaches that we should draw conclusions beyond just the words themselves.
  • I don't recall being aware that there were so many ways people have sought to divide up the ten commandments (118-120).
  • "...because ingratitude is a more hateful crime than any other." (121). I wasn't sure about this. I don't think I have heard that before. Anybody have any comments?
  • "effigies" (127) - I think this was a new word for me.
  • Ok, I don't mean to be crass here, but when Calvin said, "It is a most shameful thing to say...the prostitutes in a brother are more chastely and modestly adorned than the images of virgins which we see in churches," I chuckled and thought, How does Calvin know how the prostitutes in brothels are dressed?. Beyond that, his whole statement is rather humorous. I kind of think, Oh no he didn't just say that!
  • The Sins of the Fathers: For years I have wanted to revisit the Exodus and Ezekiel Passages on this. But, I haven't gotten around to it. We covered in when I was in seminary. Does anybody have a comment on Calvin's handling of it here?
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