John Calvin's Teachings Essay

John Calvin's Teachings Essay

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It seems that from all of John Calvin’s teachings, it’s quite possible that this debate over his doctrine of predestination has been argued more than any other in history. In this essay I will explore Calvin’s view of predestination, giving special attention to the justice of predestination. Secondly, I will explain the purpose of election as understood by Calvin. Third, I will discuss the purpose of reprobation.
So what is the basis of Calvin’s view of predestination? It would be most simply stated that predestination is the doctrine that before God created humankind God chose some for eternal life and sentenced others to eternal damnation. At the core of the argument is Calvin’s view of predestination as completely unconditional in nature. Some have viewed this as unreasonable, but to Calvin it is abundantly gracious. Calvin seems to say the only foundation of election is “God’s mere good pleasure”. God’s election of individuals is not merit, nor does it spring from divine foreknowledge. Freedom of will to choose life or damnation for whomever comes from God alone. He does not select for eternal life on the basis of an individuals possibility or his foreknowledge of their future merits.
Calvin seems to indicate that all benefits God gives for the spiritual life, including election come from one source. That is to say that God has chosen whom He has willed and before their birth has laid up for them individually the grace that He willed to grant them. This leads us to acknowledge that election’s source is wholly within God. The elect can in no way cause it, if we consider how the elect come to know of their election. Calvin states that there are three marks of election: call, justification and sanctification. The presence ...


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...ormed for calamity” the source is not God, it is a human through Adam, and therefor punishment for sin is just.

Calvin seems to present predestination not as an impending and sorrowful truth, rather a core component of the gospel itself. His belief in predestination is the culmination of the doctrine of sola gratis. Calvin is determined to contend that salvation begins not with faith, as Luther believed, but with election. Calvin refers to election as the “parent of faith” as Paul also declared. Calvin goes much deeper than Paul. God’s chose for us even before our existence and with no connection to our future faith. He declared that we would believe, not simply forgiven because of our belief, because of “God’s mere good pleasure”. The comfort this offers to the elect that our “salvation flows entirely from the good mercy of God”.














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