Tuesday, 26 May 2009

As 2009 passes I continue my reading of Calvin's Institutes. Below is another fascinating little sentence that illustrates that Calvin was not as dogmatic as Calvinists would like him to be. Calvin believed that "duly constituted churches" have no need of apostles, prophets or evangelists. But he also believed that God had raised up such persons in his own day, and in previous periods of post-Apostolic church history.

"Those who preside over the government of the church in accordance with Christ's institution are called by Paul as follows: first apostles, then prophets, thirdly evangelists, fourthly pastors, and finally teachers [Eph.4:11]. Of these only the last two have an ordinary office in the church; the Lord raised up the first three at the beginning of his Kingdom, and now and again revives them as the need of the times demands."

Institutes(1559) IV.iii.4 John Calvin


Anonymous said...

The Second Book of Discipline (1578) also allows for the possibility of God raising up representatives of the three extraordinary offices. CG

David Shedden said...

Thanks CG. Did not realise your point. Have only read The First Book of Discipline and that was a while ago.

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting contrast between the first and second reformations in Scotland - quite different views of the offices of the church. CG