Thursday, August 27, 2009

Appointed instructors

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 1 - The True Church with which as Mother of All the Godly We Must Keep Unity
5-6 - Church ministers
5. God has enjoined a teaching office upon the church - Eph 4:10-13; Isa 59:21; Rom 10:17; 2 Cor 4:7. "As He was of old not content with the law alone, but added priests as interpreters from whose lips the people might ask its true meaning - Mal 2:7 - so today He not only desires us to be attentive to its reading, but also appoints instructors to help us by their effort." He could "thunder at us" directly, or through angels, but uses men, instead. "Although God's power is not bound to outward means, He has nonetheless bound us to this ordinary manner of teaching.... the church is built up solely by outward preaching.... believers have no greater help than public worship, for by it God raises His own folk upward step by step." Through this we are all to aspire to unity with our Head, Jesus, not cling to an earthly temple or pattern.

6. God, as the author of preaching, promises benefits from it. Luke 1:17; Mal 4:5-6; John 15:16; 1 Cor 2:4; 3:9; 4:15; 9:2; 2 Cor 3:6; Gal 3:2. The preacher is nothing without God working through him. 1 Thess 3:5; Col 1:29; Gal 2:8; 1 Cor 3:7; 15:10. God Himself grants "illumination of mind and renewal of heart."

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