Friday, April 13, 2007

T h e E x p o s i t o r y Ge n i u s o f John Calvin

T h e E x p o s i t o r y Ge n i u s o f
John Calvin

by S t e v e n J . L a w s o n

Standing on
Holy Ground

T o step into the pulpit is to enter onto holy ground. To stand
behind an open Bible demands no trifling with sacred
things. To be a spokesman for God requires utmost concern
and care in handling and proclaiming the Word. Rightly does
Scripture warn, “Not many of you should become teachers,
my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged
with greater strictness” (James 3:1).
But sad to say, we live in a generation that has compromised
this sacred calling to preach. Exposition is being
replaced with entertainment, preaching with performances,
doctrine with drama, and theology with theatrics. Desperately
does the modern-day church need to recover its way and
return to a pulpit that is Bible-based, Christ-centered, and
life-changing. God has always been pleased to honor His
Word—especially His Word preached... (go to the link to read the rest of the preface)
—Steven J. Lawson
Mobile, Alabama
September 2006
Below is a sample of what you'll find on the link above:

For Calvin, any Bible
teachers, small or great, who decide to “mingle their own
inventions with the Word of God, or who advance anything
that does not belong to it, must be rejected, how honourable
soever may be their rank.”8
This understanding of the preacher’s role produced a profound
sense of humility in Calvin as he rose to preach. He
saw himself as standing under the authority of the Word. As
Hughes Oliphant Old explains: “Calvin’s sermons . . . [reveal]
a high sense of the authority of Scripture. The preacher himself
believed he was preaching the Word of God. He saw himself to be the servant of the Word.”9 T. H. L. Parker agrees: “For
Calvin the message of Scripture is sovereign, sovereign over
the congregation and sovereign over the preacher. His humility
is shown by his submitting to this authority.”10
Calvin’s high regard for biblical authority also fueled a
deep reverence for Scripture. “The majesty of Scripture,” he
said, “deserves that its expounders should make it apparent,
that they proceed to handle it with modesty and reverence.”11
His admiration for the Bible was driven by its blend of simple
teachings, profound antinomies, plain language, intricate
nuances, and cohesive unity. In Calvin’s view, to explore the
height, depth, width, and breadth of the Bible was to revere
its supernatural Author. Philip Schaff, the highly regarded
Protestant historian, writes, “[Calvin] had the profoundest
reverence for the Scriptures, as containing the Word of the
living God and as the only infallible and sufficient rule of faith
and duty.”12
For Calvin, then, handling Scripture was a sacred
responsibility. Old captures it well when he observes that “the
very fact that [Calvin’s] ministry was to expound the Word of
God filled him with a profound reverence for the task before
him.”13 As Calvin resolutely stated, “We owe to the Scripture
the same reverence which we owe to God because it has proceeded
from Him alone, and has nothing of man mixed with
it.”14 This was the unshakable foundation of Calvin’s preaching—
the authority of divinely inspired Scripture. He firmly
believed that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.

The Word of God is just like Jesus Christ. It is fully human and fully divine. It was written by human hands but it is the very Words of God Himself. So, for those who have Red Letter Bibles, maybe the whole thing should be printed in RED.
Have you ever pondered why Jesus himself didn't hand write any letters or books in the Bible? I've asked this question before, but can you think of any reasons why?
I have an idea, in mind... What do you think?

Grace and Peace,
Coram Deo!!!

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