Portal:Calvinism

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John Calvin

Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the Christian life. The Reformed tradition was advanced by several theologians such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Huldrych Zwingli, but this branch of Christianity bears the name of the French reformer John Calvin because of his prominent influence on it and because of his role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 16th century.

Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches of which Calvin was an early leader. Less commonly, it can refer to the individual teaching of Calvin himself. The particulars of Calvinist theology may be stated in a number of ways. Perhaps the best known summary is contained in the five points of Calvinism, though these points identify the Calvinist view on soteriology rather than summarizing the system as a whole. Broadly speaking, Calvinism stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things — in salvation but also in all of life. This concept is seen clearly in the doctrines of predestination and total depravity.

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Portrait of Knox from the original in the possession of Lord Torpichen at Calder House.
John Knox (c. 1510 – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation and he is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. He was educated at the University of St Andrews and worked as a notary-priest. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.

When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and reestablished Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. On his return to Scotland, he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary's reign. In several interviews with the queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Roman practices. Eventually, when she was imprisoned and James VI enthroned in her stead, he openly attacked her in sermons. He continued to preach until his final days.

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"There is not one little blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make men rejoice."

-- John Calvin (Wikiquote), As quoted in The Value of Convenience: Genealogy of Technical Culture (1993) by Thomas F. Tierney, p. 128

"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'"

-- Abraham Kuyper (Wikiquote), As quoted in Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader, (1998) James D. Bratt, editor, p. 488

"I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed."

-- Matthew Henry (Wikiquote), As quoted in Preaching Today, by John Yates, tape #110

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