Office Hours: Horton On Calvin’s Doctrine Of The Christian Life

Office HoursJohn Calvin is one of the most influential writers in the Reformed tradition, so much so that Richard Muller has argued that, in the modern period, Calvin has been over emphasized to the neglect of the rest of the Reformed tradition. Nevertheless, when most people think of him, they probably think of the doctrine of election but he was deeply interested in the Christian life. For Calvin, we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone in order that we might be sanctified. This is what he meant when he wrote that the third use of the law is “the principal use” (Institutes, 2.7.12). He was not saying that there is no first (pedagogical) use but that grace is twofold. In Christ we have a “double grace” free justification for Christ’s sake alone and a gracious sanctification. He was deeply interested in the Christian life. Fully one half of his Institutes were devoted to the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing the elect to faith and sanctifying them in the image of Christ. He reflected on the Christian life constantly in his biblical commentaries and in his proclamation of the Word.

Mike Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, has just published Calvin and Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever and we sat down for Office Hours recently to discuss it.

Here is the episode.

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One comment

  1. I love Calvin on the Christian Life (Institutes Book 3, chaps 6-10). His outline helped me through a rough patch 15 years ago and I have developed sermons and devotions making use of his 4 points or as I prefer 4 pegs, most recently sharing with Christian workers during a visit last month to Nepal/India (PTS, Dehra Dun).

    Calvin is so union with Christ centred, so sane and well balanced.

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