Unlike many older Calvin scholars, then, I would not try to understand Calvin in terms of a single thesis in the Institutes such as the glory of God, predestination, providence, or meditating on the future life, then using this as a master principle from which to derive all else.
—Karl Barth, The Theology of John Calvin, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromily (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 116. (HT: Ryan Glomsrud). See “Karl Barth’s Calvin: A Weimar Prophet,” in The Oxford Handbook of Calvinism (forthcoming).
Who, among the Barthians and students of Barth, interpret Calvin according to a central dogma — be it sovereignty, predestination, glory, etc.? Do any of the Torrances do this? Hunsinger? McCormack? Molnar? Webster?
Although there may be some exceptions, I think that framing this quote from Barth in terms of “Barth vs. the Barthians” seems guilty of making the same kind of caricature and misrepresentation of which Muller accuses those who drive a wedge between “Calvin vs. the Calvinists”.
Maybe the issue in Calvin scholarship is that “Calvinism”, for too many people, remains the doctrine of predestination first, last, and always. This seems to be more a legacy of 18th and 19th century “village polemics” more than anything else.
I’ve never run across any Barthians who read Calvin through a centraldogma.
Richard Muller, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of A Theological Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 97.
I understand the claim in Muller. But I was thinking even more pointedly with reference to contemporary “Barthian” commentators. They don’t particularly read Calvin through a centraldogma. Charles Partee comes closest (but even he doesn’t) when he uses Calvin’s unio cum Christo theology as a Calvinian hermeneutical lens — but he doesn’t do so uncritically, or in the final analysis as a centraldogma, per se.
Calvin being but one cog of the Reformation, albeit a large , important & foundational
one, who with the other Reformers set about the reformation of the Late Medieval
tottering Western Catholic church which had corrupted itself in Doctrine, Practice,
Worship & Piety, were seeking about a root & branch Reformation, which meant
restoring the whole Counsel of God, thus there cannot be a single defining grand
narrative, implicit metanarrative or even master narrative, though the Reformers did
do all there work to the Glory of God, which would probably be the most accurate