What Bible Are Neo-Calvinists Reading?

Is this the tone or posture that characterizes those Reformed Protestants who insist that the only genuine Christianity is the one that is fully engaged with this world, 24/7?

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:1-10 ESV)

And when you turn to Calvin for his comments on this passage, we read the following:

For Paul has it in view, to correct in us impatience, dread, and dislike of the cross, contempt for what is mean, and in fine, pride, and effeminacy; and this can only be accomplished by raising up our minds as high as heaven, through contempt of the world. Now he has recourse to two arguments. On the one hand, he shows the miserable condition of mankind in this life, and on the other hand, the supreme and perfect blessedness, which awaits believers in heaven after death. For what is it that keeps men so firmly bound in a misplaced attachment to this life, but their deceiving themselves with a false imagination — thinking themselves happy in living here? On the other hand, it is not enough to be aware of the miseries of this life, if we have not at the same time in view the felicity and glory of the future life. This is common to good and bad alike — that both are desirous to live. This, also, is common to both — that, when they consider, how many and how great miseries they are here exposed to, (with this difference, however, that unbelievers know of no adversities but those of the body merely, while the pious are more deeply affected 508 by spiritual distresses,) they often groan, often deplore their condition, and desire a remedy for their evils. As, however, all naturally view death with horror, unbelievers never willingly quit this life, except when they throw it off in disgust or despair. Believers, on the other hand, depart willingly, because they have a better hope set before them beyond this world. This is the sum of the argument. Let us now examine the words one by one.

Calvin adds on verse eight specifically:

Observe here — what has been once stated already — that true faith begets not merely a contempt of death, but even a desire for it, and that it is, accordingly, on the other hand, a token of unbelief, when dread of death predominates in us above the joy and consolation of hope. Believers, however, desire death — not as if they would, by an importunate desire, anticipate their Lord’s day, for they willingly retain their footing in their earthly station, so long as their Lord may see good, for they would rather live to the glory of Christ than die to themselves, (Romans 14:7,) and for their own advantage; for the desire, of which Paul speaks, springs from faith. Hence it is not at all at variance with the will of God. We may, also, gather from these words of Paul, that souls, when released from the body, live in the presence of God, for if, on being absent from the body, they have God present, they assuredly live with him.

Neo-Calvinism indeed.

52 thoughts on “What Bible Are Neo-Calvinists Reading?

  1. Having heard my father conclude family devotions in prayer with the words “Let us not become too deeply attached to the things of this world which perish, but may we look heavenward whence Jesus Christ our savior shall appear upon the clouds of heaven unto our deliverance. And it is in His name that we pray. Amen” night after night after night for years on end, it has proven really hard for me to buy in to the neo-Cal’s project.

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  2. Wow, Guys, dozens of comments in our 3 day old month added to the old topic of several days back Reformation—One, and 15 or so just TODAY. Few I sampled were not too friendly! Richard, thanks for your wise advice on my more recent 2 questions. Doesn’t ANYONE @ OT care to comment on my friendlier and more positive ideas? Only half a dozen or so added to my two! Sad Old Bob.

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  3. Bob – I’ve enjoyed learning about your family. You have been blessed. I hope you make some good friends in your new home and are able to share the gospel with many.

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  4. Darryl, Who really thinks or talks Jesus’ Creation 24/7? How ’bout just 6/6 or so. Many of my OPC buddies are 0/7,here. Even 0/365.25! Your title “What Bible are Neo-Calvinists Reading?” is thumb in the eye stuff, not worthy of a fellow who works for Hillsdale. or OPC Elder, not elder 🙂 Does Larry Arnn fit your 24/7 exaggeration? My Old Mom, years ago, advised me, “Bobby, when you quote some disagree-er, say it in a way he can say, ‘Yep, Bobby, you GOT IT!” You and many OLTers need her! Much in your last 10 postings ending with the VERY recent 11/13 with trashing a nice, wise, lady, June(?), is repeat stuff and not dealing with my question of many binary issues wrongly calling for some high Wall. Pete Lillback, is saying that SOME walls belong to the class: “Walls of Misconception”. What do ye great thinkers and theologians say? This is not mostly sarcasm! Work on that, will you? And educate me as Richard Smith sometimes does. Sorry, at times, Old Bob has fallen into the sins of Darryl, Erik, CD, and others there. Ugliness to Brothers. You are encouraging me to spend a lot more time with nice new, old friends here at this place you seem to think is filled with Popery. Not true! Love, anyhow, OB

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  5. Old Bob – How do you object to a post that is 95% Scripture & John Calvin? Did you read it? go to cosmiceye.wordpress.com to encounter neocalvinism. Not bad guys, but I am not sure you are even quite aware of what this debate is about.

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  6. Bob, do you care what the Bible says? Do you get upset when believers don’t follow the Bible? So here I have quoted another otherworldly passage from Paul. If the signers of the Manhattan Declaration agreed with Paul they would likely not be signers of the Manhattan Declaration because they would recognize that differences over eternal life are more abiding than unity about this world’s causes.

    Please don’t tell me what is worthy of Hillsdale. I have not played that card with you regarding WTS or the OPC.

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  7. Old Bob – What is the story with you graduating from WTS but teaching math for 30 years? Take us back in Old Bob history. Did you ever serve as a pastor or elder in the OPC?

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  8. D.G. Hart: “If the signers of the Manhattan Declaration agreed with Paul they would likely not be signers of the Manhattan Declaration because they would recognize that differences over eternal life are more abiding than unity about this world’s causes.”

    GW: Amen. While I think most of us confessionalists here at old life would affirm the social/moral stance of the Declaration (the sanctity of life from womb to tomb; the sanctity of marriage, biblically defined; religious freedom), the reason why a consistent confessional Protestant cannot in good conscience sign the Declaration is that it clearly implies that Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants are united together in the Gospel. But that is simply untrue, and God calls us to be truth tellers. From an historic Protestant perspective professing Christians in the Catholic and Orthodox churches do not share with us belief in the biblical gospel of justification by faith alone (at least insofar as they embrace the official teachings of their respective communions). If we do not share a common understanding of the biblical gospel, then we may be able to unite together on social issues like abortion, marriage and religious freedom based upon natural and biblical law; but let us not deceitfully pretend that our unity on these issues is grounded in the gospel. (Many orthodox Jews, Muslims, conservative secularists and other non-religious would also affirm the social stance of the Declaration, but obviously would not do so on the basis of a professed unity in the gospel.)

    Seems that for many professing Christians the “tie that binds” is not the gospel, but common social and political convictions. Politics has gotten sacralized and the gospel has gotten secularized. As Dr. Hart rightly points out, while there is a place in the Christian life for concern about common grace matters such as politics and the common good (the things of this world), the highest priority and primary focus of true, biblical Christianity is the world to come (otherworldly). “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1, ESV) (How’s that for preaching to the choir?)

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  9. Geoff,

    We’ve yet to have a person leave our church over a historical doctrinal matter in at least ten years. We had a whole 1/3rd of the congregation leave over lack of support for homeschooling and patriarchalism(they all went CREC, shocker there, I know), and a few leave over lack of patriotic zeal(we won’t fly the american flag). I’m actually looking forward to the next person who takes an issue with the sacraments or hypostatic union or even just the gospel. At least then we’d know people are engaged in biblical doctrine. Outside of the 1/3, which was apparently beyond ugly( I wasn’t there, but have had the misfortune/fortune to be there in the aftermath), the session wasn’t even addressing the issue in which offense was given, somebody said something that hit the person in a wrong way and it was vamanos.

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  10. sean: Geoff, We’ve yet to have a person leave our church over a historical doctrinal matter in at least ten years. We had a whole 1/3rd of the congregation leave over lack of support for homeschooling and patriarchalism(they all went CREC, shocker there, I know), and a few leave over lack of patriotic zeal(we won’t fly the american flag). I’m actually looking forward to the next person who takes an issue with the sacraments or hypostatic union or even just the gospel. At least then we’d know people are engaged in biblical doctrine. Outside of the 1/3, which was apparently beyond ugly( I wasn’t there, but have had the misfortune/fortune to be there in the aftermath), the session wasn’t even addressing the issue in which offense was given, somebody said something that hit the person in a wrong way and it was vamanos.

    RS: Sean, that is a shocking story, at least for me. A large number of people leaving a church over the issues you are speaking of seems to be so out of line, yet I have heard of this happening several times but in smaller numbers. What is the Church coming to?

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  11. Richard,

    I’ve gotten used to it over the past 15 years or so. Sometimes it’s been outright contentiousness on the part of the ‘schism’ but just as often, or in conjunction with, it’s been a failure of the leadership to catechize and be doctrinally committed so as to head these kind of things off before they start. For example, this particular group had been in this church for at least 10 years prior to them leaving. I knew most of them and worshiped with them for years before I was asked, and given permission to leave and help out a church plant(My first experience with a ‘Redeemer model’ church-I don’t recommend it). Anyway, all these people had this same penchant at that time, the difference was the then leadership was committed to a positive and polemical expounding of the faith and confession. Well, leadership turned over, they went in a more ‘evangellyfish’ direction, these same people who were effectively marginalized for years and even made to see the error of their pet doctrines no longer had anyone to push back against their abberances or even just poorly prioritized beliefs and you have a full on fight going on and eventually a complete turnover in leadership from pastor to elders to deacons.

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  12. Darryl, If you are really asking me if I care what the Bible says, “school is out” on our future exchanges. Erik, I would be very happy to tell you my story involving 4 great years, with VanTil, Murray, Woolley, Stonehouse, Young (old earth). +Was ordained to OPC ministry in 1955, Happy experience ringing doorbells, was founding pastor in our Garden Grove OPC, now in nearby Westminster, CA. Felt too new a Christian (Lafayette College baby Christian too close in time to entering WTS). Always felt more like an Indian than a chief! In spite of this, church grew well, largely because of friendly, more seasoned members who transferred from Henry Coray’s Long Beach OPC and new folks who answered my ringing of their doorbells. Offered a job teaching Math and Bible at a large Christian Reformed School. Loved it. The rest is happy story of work, marriage, kids (Elaine and I always loved Ps. 127 & 128! God blessd with many childrens’ children. Already spoke of some of them. If you would really like more details, give me your E-mail, OK.? I hope you were not thinking I had any problems with folks, fellow pastors, OPC-Calvin doctrines, etc. Must go on to more worthwhile things I believe my Lord has for me, here. Love, OB. PS: Did you read my little speech about the blessings of self-disclosure? Your turn!

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  13. Bob Morris: Was ordained to OPC ministry in 1955, Happy experience ringing doorbells, was founding pastor in our Garden Grove OPC,

    RS: Garden Grove, California? Was this church building made of all glass?

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  14. Richard – Sean, that is a shocking story, at least for me. A large number of people leaving a church over the issues you are speaking of seems to be so out of line, yet I have heard of this happening several times but in smaller numbers. What is the Church coming to?

    Erik: Well, there’s the gospel, then there’s that really exciting countercultural stuff like homeschooling, wearing hats in worship, male headship, theonomy. postmillennialism, classical Christian schooling…

    What it comes down to is it is in our nature to want to be lawkeepers as opposed to gospel receivers. It’s hard to feel as good about ourselves if we are merely receiving a free gift.

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  15. Note that none of these things are necessarily totally wrong per se, but when they become the main thing we have a problem.

    I know of what I speak. When I was becoming fully Reformed (through listening to a lot of Wilson sermons) I decided to leave my e-free church for some kind of P&R church. I presented my reason for leaving to the “elders” at my e-free church (they had to constantly fight the ladies who led various committees for authority) as being the desire to find a church that was more into male headship and family integrated worship. I found a good URC church shortly thereafter and got straightened out on a number of things pretty quickly. If I made that same presentation today I would raise about 25 points as to why it was good for me to leave, but none of them would be the reasons I gave then.

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  16. The ascension settles so much. The first human to subject the entirety of his life to the law. The first human to subject the entirety of his will to God. The first human to repel all temptation of the devil. The first man to satisfy all righteousness. The eternal Son takes on our human nature but then where does He take it? Where does He go upon receiving his vindication via resurrection? Not to the proverbial “drawing board.” Not to Washington D.C. Not to the UN dais. Definitely not to Disney World. With our humanity He ascends to the right hand of the Father testifying that our humanness was made for another world. This of course does not mean the present construction of the cosmos is wholly contemptible. It does mean it is wholly incompatible with the glory to come. The glory to come will appear at His appearing but not before, not through the “transformative” work of our own hands. We will never here transform our way out from under a cross of suffering. It is ours to suffer in order to bear forth the love of the law written upon our hearts by the Spirit. This not to congratulate our pious selves but this as the very work of God’s salvation of us who were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” What does the world get out of the deal? A people whose words and deeds bear witness to another world. Can we give them something better than that?

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  17. Sean wrote: “We’ve yet to have a person leave our church over a historical doctrinal matter in at least ten years. We had a whole 1/3rd of the congregation leave over lack of support for homeschooling and patriarchalism(they all went CREC, shocker there, I know), and a few leave over lack of patriotic zeal(we won’t fly the american flag). I’m actually looking forward to the next person who takes an issue with the sacraments or hypostatic union or even just the gospel. At least then we’d know people are engaged in biblical doctrine.”

    GW: But, Sean, don’t you know that “doctrine divides, love unites?” (The “cultural warrior” version: “doctrine divides, conservative politics & cultural warriorism unites.” The “evanjellyfish” version: “doctrine divides, religious experience & hip celebrity preachers unite.”) Seriously, though, how sad, but how telling.

    We in the Willour household homeschool our 11 year old son (we’re “homeschoolers”), believe in male leadership in home and church (we’re “patriarchalists”), and love our country (we’re “patriots”). But God help me and my congregation if I ever let any of those things become pulpit hobby horses that push aside the centrality of the gospel, the biblical system of doctrine taught in our confessional standards, and the regular ministry of Word and sacraments in the life of our church.

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  18. John – Nice post.

    GW – Ministers are less often the problem than Christians who float from church to church when churches fail to jump on their bandwagon.

    D.G. – Are you sure the cats aren’t practicing gay marriage? These things happen. My niece recently concluded her male guinea pig was female.

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  19. D.G. – Are you sure you are a fit cat-owner?:

    By LENORE SKENAZY

    If you’re considering getting a pet at this time of year, as many folks do, you may find the rescue shelters a little pickier than you’d expect. Perhaps a little pickier than the royal family choosing a governess. Here are the requirements on one pet-rescue website:

    “All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety. Dogs of any size can scale fences within minutes of an owner’s inattention. Physical fencing is not a guarantee of safety, because . . . animals such as bats, bees and snakes can gain access to yards. [Our agency] recommends checking on the condition of fencing and digging/jumping deterrents on a regular basis, securing all gates with locks, and installing outdoor floodlights to illuminate the entire yard.”

    Excuse me—no dog can be outside in a fenced-in yard these days without a human being standing guard? Didn’t guarding used to be the dog’s job?

    And how about this fear of bats swooping in on poor Fido? Maybe Hartz makes a flea, tick and bat collar that’s laced with garlic, just in case.

    And floodlights? Are we talking about keeping tabs on a dog or Bernie Madoff?

    Ah, but that’s exactly the idea: constant surveillance. The only safe pet is a pet that’s watched and worried over. You’ve heard of helicopter parents? Welcome to helicopter pet-owners.

    Kristen Stelzer, a civil engineer who lives near Washington, D.C., recently told me about going with her husband to adopt a dog. During the application process, she happened to mention that they looked forward to the fun of taking the pooch to a dog park. The agency interviewer was appalled. “She was very anti-dog park,” Ms. Stelzer recalled. “She said some of the other dog owners ‘will not control their dogs.’ ” In other words, dog park = poorly supervised playdate. Tsk, tsk.

    The rest of the application process didn’t go so smoothly for Ms. Stelzer either. Handed a 50-question form, she had to secretly Google some answers. “Like, ‘How do dogs get heartworm?’ I don’t know. I just give my dog a heartworm pill once a month.”

    Then, even though she listed all the vets she’d used for the past 15 years—yes, another requirement—the application was rejected. She suspects that it was because she didn’t promise to cheerfully go bankrupt if the pet needed extensive medical care.

    Three months later, the dog that the Stelzers wanted to adopt was still awaiting rescue by a more perfect owner.

    If you think adopting a cat is easier, it is—but only slightly. The cat-adoption application was three pages when a friend of mine decided that she wanted a kitten. It required her to list the name of her employer; indicate whether she owns houseplants; supply two references; and, oddly, reveal whether or not she owns a washer/dryer. (That one stumped us both.)

    The application also listed the brands of food the cat should be fed. You will not be surprised to learn that only expensive “all natural” cat food would suffice. I’m sure it’s great stuff, if you can afford it without being reduced to eating cat food yourself. But plenty of cats have spent their lives—maybe even nine of them—eating Purina, and they still purr gratefully. That doesn’t matter to the adoption agencies, because another hallmark of helicoptering over pets or kids is the belief that if everything isn’t the very best of the best, especially when it comes to food, you’re basically poisoning Precious.

    Just as with helicopter parents, the over-careful pet owner is also expected to worry ceaselessly about one matter above all others: abduction. I’ve seen an animal-control website that devotes a page to how to avoid canine kidnapping. I won’t give you the Web address because you don’t need it. The site suggests that dog owners vary the times that they let the dog into the yard. Tell that to the mutt who’s really gotta go.

    No one is watching your dog through binoculars, clocking his movements and peppering a T-bone with knockout drugs. This kind of predator paranoia is the same reason parents don’t let their human progeny go outside anymore, even though the U.S. crime rate keeps plummeting. The fear does not match the facts, and the fear is winning. The result? Kids, and now pets, hovered over, fenced in and floodlit. It’s like they’re at Leavenworth. In 2012 America, that’s considered good parenting, no matter the species.

    Ms. Skenazy is a public speaker and the author of “Free-Range Kids” (Jossey-Bass, 2010) and a blog by the same name.

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  20. Had cats for many years growing up. Would still do so if my wife weren’t allergic. I remember lying really still in bed while the cat slept next to me. I wouldn’t want to move so the cat wouldn’t be made uncomfortable and get up and leave. You just kind of have to admire a cat’s take on life and people — it’s all about them.

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  21. Please, Guys, Can’t you think about and respond to Old Bob’s plea to consider the value in exchanging views on the many questions I raised about the 4 kinds of Walls of separation in serious binary issues? And Guys, Calling ministries like Wycliff Translators, IVCF, etc. “Parasisitic” (Darryl), ‘Ministries” in quotes, (Geoff W.) and perhaps, “those fleeing from church dicipline”, (Erik). Talk about “VINERGY”, WOW! Are y’all really urging Old Bob to turn, finally, to Biblical loving good works here at Alexian Village, homeschooling grandkids via phone, or various kinds of showing love to my greatest gift from God—Elaine??? Love, Old Bob

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  22. I like what N.T. Wright has said on this paasge in 1 Cor 5. If a beer is reserved for you in the refrigerator, does that mean you have to go into the refirgerator to drink it?

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  23. Calvin also says this about creation:

    21. Because the creation itself ,etc.He shows how the creation has in hope been made subject to vanity; that is, inasmuch as it shall some time be made free, according to what Isaiah testifies,and what Peter confirms still more clearly. It is then indeed meet for us to consider what a dreadful curse we have deserved, since all created things in themselves blameless, both on earth and in the visible heaven, undergo punishment for our sins; for it has not happened through their own fault,that they are liable to corruption. Thus the condemnation of mankind is imprinted on the heavens,and on the earth, and on all creatures. It hence also appears to what excelling glory the sons of God shall be exalted; for all creatures shall be renewed in order to amplify it, and to render it illustrious. But he means not that all creatures shall be partakers of the same glory with the sons of God;but that they, according to their nature, shall be participators of a better condition; for ,b>God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind.

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  24. One can not read Calvin, the Bible or any written body of thought in an isolated fashion. To clip a passage from the Bible or Calvin to support a particular position is manipulative if it is not understood in its entire context. The 2 Cor 5 passage cited must recognize the Biblical context that begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth, and ends with the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. How then shall we live?

    In this context, it is obvious that Paul is saying that we are not to look at this world for our hope or pattern for living, but rather look to the heavenly pattern revealed by Christ as the way we are to live our lives here and now, on earth as it is in heaven. The visible church is the bride of Christ being prepared/perfected by gazing at her glorious Husband and waiting/groaning for God, Father of both bride and groom, to make the new heaven and earth His dwelling place with us. This has already begun and will be consummated upon His return.

    Far from looking to heaven as a place to escape from earth, we look to heaven so that our Husband can continue to lead His bride on earth towards the final consumation, a perfected bride. This is what the kingdom parables that Jesus told in Mt 25 all signify.

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  25. Don, this is not reading Calvin or Paul in isolation. The theme is clear in both. And if you read Calvin on how we are to regard the future life, you may go searching for a non-Calvinist church:

    From this we conclude, that all we have to seek or hope for here is contest; that when we think of the crown we must raise our eyes to heaven. For we must hold, that our mind never rises seriously to desire and aspire after the future, until it has learned to despise the present life.
    2. For there is no medium between the two things: the earth must either be worthless in our estimation, or keep us enslaved by an intemperate love of it. Therefore, if we have any regard to eternity, we must carefully strive to disencumber ourselves of these fetters. Moreover, since the present life has many enticements to allure us, and great semblance of delight, grace, and sweetness to soothe us, it is of great consequence to us to be now and then called off from its fascinations.397 For what, pray, would happen, if we here enjoyed an uninterrupted course of honour and felicity, when even the constant stimulus of affliction cannot arouse us to a due sense of our misery? That human life is like smoke or a shadow, is not only known to the learned; there is not a more trite proverb among the vulgar. Considering it a fact most useful to be known, they have recommended it in many well-known expressions. Still there is no fact which we ponder less carefully, or less frequently remember. For we form all our plans just as if we had fixed our immortality on the earth. If we see a funeral, or walk among graves, as the image of death is then present to the eye, I admit we philosophise admirably on the vanity of life. We do not indeed always do so, for those things often have no effect upon us at all. But, at the best, our philosophy is momentary. It vanishes as soon as we turn our back, and leaves not the vestige of remembrance behind; in short, it passes away, just like the applause of a theatre at some pleasant spectacle. Forgetful not only of death, but also of mortality itself, as if no rumour of it had ever reached us, we indulge in supine security as expecting a terrestrial immortality. Meanwhile, if any one breaks in with the proverb, that man is the creature of a day, we indeed acknowledge its truth, but, so far from giving heed to it, the thought of perpetuity still keeps hold of our minds. Who then can deny that it is of the highest importance to us all, I say not, to be admonished by words, but convinced by all possible experience of the miserable condition of our earthly life; since even when convinced we scarcely cease to gaze upon it with vicious, stupid admiration, as if it contained within itself the sum of all that is good? But if God finds it necessary so to train us, it must be our duty to listen to him when he calls, and shakes us from our torpor, that we may hasten to despise the world, and aspire with our whole heart to the future life. (Institutes II.9)

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  26. Don – The biggest problem I have with you & Doug is all of the hand-wringing. I too, look at the world and see a lot of bad things, but my hope is not in reforming the United States or the planet Earth, but in the life to come. I plan to do pretty much the same things regardless of what happens to the United States. I might just be a lot skinnier doing it.

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  27. Darryl,

    Calvin would be denying God’s declaration that the creation is good, and his own belief that God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind if he said that the earth is worthless. We must always look to how we might reconcile what seems to be contradictory. Calvin does that by saying that the earth needs to be seen as worthless in our estimation of it. He is saying the same thing that Solomon is saying in Ecc 2 that a man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,

    In other words, if we view the earth as the source of our joy and happiness, we will be miserable. But if we view the earth as from the hand of God, as His gift, we will be satisfied with and use it rightly here and now, and long for His restoration of it, along with mankind, when Christ returns. I don’t see how Calvin or scripture can be read any other way.

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  28. Don, good. So you don’t believe in the redemption as recreation of this world, but that renewal will not happen until the Lord returns. I’m glad to know you view the world the way VanDrunen does.

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  29. Darryl,

    You threw me with that one. I don’t recall ever saying that I thought this world would be restored before Christ returned. But I don’t see how believing that the world will be restored when Christ returns agrees with VanDrunen who believes that the world will be destroyed. Restored and destroyed are quite different.

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  30. Don, I believe we are destroyed and restored in regeneration. The old man dies, the new man lives. If that happens in the Christian, why can’t it happen in creation?

    You have several times before advocated Newbiggin and redemption as a restoration of all things, something that is going on even now. But you also have a fundamentalist card you play. It’s a loaded deck you’re using.

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  31. Darryl,

    Biblically speaking, I believe it may be more accurate to say that the old man is the seed out of which the new man grows on this side of glory. The husk is dying now, and will be destroyed when Christ returns. The new life has arrived, but until Christ returns, the new life is constrained by the husk which will only be destroyed when Christ returns.

    Similarly, I believe creation is a shadow of the good things to come. Because all things were created for Him, the shadow will only be removed when He and heaven embrace the creation and it is restored to fulfill the purpose for which God made it, i.e., to perfectly glorify Him.

    I know this all sounds poetic, but I believe it does justice to the commandments of Christ as to how we should live on this side of glory.

    I have not studied Newbegin that deeply, so am not sure how closely the quote I cited from him reflects this thinking. Do you remember the quote? I’m not sure why you are viewing me as a fundamentalist.

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  32. Don, your point was that destroyed and restored are quite different. Mine was that salvation indicates destruction (of the Old man) and restoration (is the New Man simply a restoration of Adam’s original state) are a lot more complicated than your line indicated. If you want to qualify it, fine. But if you’re going to reject VanDrunen on the basis of an unqualified distinction, you should reconsider.

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  33. Talking about the Afscheiding in Sunday School this morning. Yet another reminder of how great it is to have the Magistrate promoting true religion until he gets it wrong (which he always seems to do).

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  34. Darryl,

    But VanDrunen makes a distinction between man’s destruction and creation’s destruction. He says that the earthly bodies of believers will alone be transformed and taken up into the world to come. The world itself, he says, will be terminated. I’m having trouble seeing how something that is terminated can in any way be restored. I think that’s what he means when he says “not creation regained, but re-creation gained.” I simply cannot reconcile Calvin’s statement that “God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind” with VanDrunen’s that the world will be terminated and re-created.

    Having said that, I do agree with VanDrunen that God is not redeeming the cultural activities and institutions of this world.

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  35. Darryl,

    I guess what I am saying is that in fighting against the neo-Calvinist attempt to redeem this world’s institutions, DVD has gone further than Calvin in his repudiation of this world. My read on Calvin regarding the worthlessness of this world is that it is corrupted and awaits restoration or glorification that only Christ will bring upon His return; rather than that the purpose of this world is only penultimate in God’s design and will thus be destroyed and replaced by a wholly different world. Not having yet read your book, I am assuming, based on your blog entries, that this is also your view.

    I think that Tuininga moderates DVD in his position.

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