Contend Earnestly: Learning from Calvin: Being in the World

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Learning from Calvin: Being in the World

I have been reading Stephen Nichols' book, "the Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World" It is a brief overview of the different reformations that went on after the 95 Theses was beaten into the large Wittenberg door. As I was reading this I encountered a part of Calvin that I never knew. Something that I have been trying to teach our congregation any time I get the chance, and they have responded graciously. It is the understanding of what the church is here for. It is the understanding that we need to be the salt on the earth and a city on a hill. The only way that we can do this is to not stay focused on us and expecting people to come to us, but it is the knowledge that we must go.

This isn't a social club that meets once a week and then back to our normal lives. We are called ambassadors for Christ, we are his representation for the world. I always ask myself, "If I don't them, who will?" It also helps that believe that God predestines all things and he is in complete control, so I believe that every person I see, God put them there, in front of me, to hear the Gospel.

We are to season the earth, but how can we if we go out about our jobs and other duties, then merely come to church every Sunday and then leave back to those jobs with no understanding of our responsibility? It really is high treason if we do so. It is something that we cannot do, we must focus on how we can be people of real religion as James puts it in James 1:27. Know that church is not a building, but church is God's people. Just as when people look at a high church steeple and see holiness and love, they should also see the same through you. For the world, that church represents Jesus, they should see the same in us every time they glance in our direction.

This was Calvin's focus and I found this commentary on him helpful in Nichols' book:

Theologians of the medieval era tended to downplay life outside the walls of the church or monastery or convent. They tended to give little credence to one's work in the world and to the world itself. Calvin and Luther, joined by many other Reformers, hammered out a doctrine of vocation: one's work is a calling. They also reminded their congregations and us that this is God's world, and we are to cultivate it and enjoy it for God's glory. Calvin locked the church doors so the church could be in the world.

May we also do all to the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria!


Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Another encouraging and challenging post, Seth. Thanks.


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