Studying Homiletics at Gordon-Conwell has been a great experience over the past few months. God is shaping me as a man and as a preacher through the program and I am already indebted to the school and faculty for what I have learned. However I find myself reading texts that are primarily associated with Homiletics I’m feeling a bit starved for theological works (I attended Princeton Theological Seminary initially to study theology with hopes of pursuing a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology). I love theology. I love Homiletics too. So I’m hoping to study (on the side, we’ll see how this goes) a different theologian a month in order to breathe great truths of God into my life via theology proper. Homiletics does this to a degree, but it’s a mistake as a preacher to only read in one field. I need theology.
This month we will be looking at John Calvin, the famous Genevan reformer in the 16th century. His life’s work built upon Luther’s early reformation convictions. Calvin in many ways fleshed these out and the Protestant Church in Geneva is foundational for understanding how protestant theology works in the church. I’m a Presbyterian and our system of governance, and theological distinctives were given shape through Calvin’s theology. I am indebted to the man and have a deep affection for his willingness to follow the will of God in his life.
So this month I may post a bit on this man who has so profoundly shaped the church and our understanding of God and man. This is not a pursuit in setting up the man as an idol, but instead a pursuit of understanding who we are in light of who God is through the wisdom of this brilliant theologian.
As a way of introduction to the man, John Piper has an excellent conference message on John Calvin (a biographical address at the 1997 pastor’s conference). It is a favorite of mine; a message I listen to every few years to be reminded of Calvin’s love for God. T.H.L Parker also has written a fantastic biography on Calvin that I would commend to anyone who is looking to go deeper in understanding this man. I invite you to stay tuned as we explore John Calvin this month.