Affects of John Calvin’s Ideals on Western Sociopolitical Constructs and Ethics(Grade Recieved 100%)

Calvin was indeed a great and foundational theologian in many respects, yet many may be unaware of this vast contribution regarding various sociopolitical and even economic elements that we take for granted even today. Even though Calvin never lived in America, David Gibbs points out that “some historians have even gone so far as to call him “the founder of America” (Gibbs. p. 61). His ideals consisted of and produced a quite broad and encompassing vision toward the constructs of western ethic. As McGrath declares “to study Calvin is not merely to study the past – it is also to gain a deeper understanding of the present” (McGrath p. 261). How did Calvin become such a cultural force and to what means? Let us trace the journey of Calvin and his ideals through the annals of history with the intent of becoming better acquainted with what it was that affected him as well as what he effected by way of his resounding physical or virtual influence.
Calvin’s Conflicts
Our first examination of events takes place in Calvin’s Europe, which serves as a reflection of many age old conflicts, particularly between church and state. Calvin’s conflicts with the Genevan Council were evident as Wallace describes, “When he faced the magistracy with his proposals for the Church in 1541 he found that they wanted to have control over the nomination of new pastors” (Wallace p. 54). The state was worried that their prerogative or agenda would be hampered, compromised, or combated by the church and the speech of its leaders. Certainly Calvin saw this as yet another problem rooted in the state being too enthralled with squishing freedom regarding affairs that should only concern the church and its body. Calvin would at times accept changes from civil authority that he felt were less than ideal. It was not that Calvin sought to disregard the importance of the foundations, but rather, this appears a reasonable and common position that was conducive to his times and circumstances. Wallace states, “Against his better judgment, for example, the authorities in Geneva finally abolished all feast days,” and later Calvin would “try to introduce at least the celebration of Christmas” (Wallace p.58). Wallace further describes that despite Calvin’s desire to see these issues resolved with moderation, “The Senate solved the problem by abolishing altogether the weekly feasts – so that nothing was left to Geneva but the Sabbath” (Wallace p.58).
It would seem quite evident that these happenings heavily influenced the founders of America as they would have desired to avoid such a politically, socially, and religiously intolerable environment. Later this would give rise to situations where a particular group would have to weigh the options of compromise or sheer spiritual or even physical survival. Gonzalez points out that during the French Revolution “the (National) Assembly simply decreed that all who held ecclesiastical office must swear allegiance to the Civil Constitution, and those who refused would be disposed”(Gonzalez p. 264). And additionally, “In fact however, those who refused to swear would soon became the object of persecution”(Gonzalez p. 265). Calvin felt, as would later American’s founders, that the only way a truly autonomous society and government could exist was by way of a community where the true gospel was allowed to be held high and freely preached and practiced.
Calvin did, however, know where and when to draw the line. Frustrated with a state that wanted to be intricately involved with the Church’s practices, yet not govern with any regard to the Word, he would stand up and fight political battles. Calvin grew emphatically concerned when the state sought to weaken the Word, its influence, or its very practice. Wallace spoke of Calvin’s political victory when he maintained the church’s right administer communion to whom they pleased, stating, “We can understand Calvin’s sensitivity at this point. For the civil authority to decide who was to receive the Supper meant that they could ultimately decide what the content of the preached word should be” (Wallace p. 62). Calvin was fully persuaded that the world could be changed by the proclamation of the Word, but only if it remained free and independent enough to do so. Wallace when speaking of Calvin explains, “He certainly did believe that a transformation could take place in the heart and life of an individual so that he can now become a “Christian” man or woman, and through the Word and the Spirit developed a new outlook which can indeed merit being called a “Christian” world-view” (Wallace p.120). Calvin may have been more inclined to speak of political philosophy as it relates to God’s Kingdom, yet he understood taking a stand on tough issues even concerning earthly kingdoms.
Still, one should be careful as to not form ill-conceived notions regarding Calvin. He was in no form an anarchist or inclined to disrupt the social order by rising up against the state. Kingdon properly illustrates this by stating, “There is no doubt about Calvin’s espousal of liberty; but it is always a liberty limited by the law and duty, and is never interpreted in revolutionary terms” (Kingdon p. 33). Calvin himself stated that “even an impious king may be the agent of God’s judgment, and no private citizen may attack him” (Kingdon p. 32). Calvin simply desired to establish a personal identification with the faith rather than some feeling of a pseudo superiority or reliance on a particular denomination
or power structure. However, Calvin was not inclined toward an individualism or religion that wanted more rights than responsibilities. He still placed a high and righteous standard for the Church, as is evident when Gonzales describes, “Calvin insisted that, if religious life was to conform to the principles of reformation, it was necessary to excommunicate unbelievers” (Gonzales p. 65).
Further, Calvin represents the posture that the communicator of Christ is to be a beacon of light in all areas of society, leading an informed church that shapes the culture. Oberman confers stating “Speaking to his Geneva convention, he deals with the responsibility of the State, magistrate and prince as a man who is obviously in touch with the situations elsewhere in Europe, in England, Poland and the Palatinate” (Oberman p. 236). The Kingdom advances person by person rather than by factions, parties, or revolts. Even though Calvin saw them as separate, he was careful to never deny that the church should have an active influence toward the state. A concept of inalienable rights and irreplaceable people began to find place within the religious and political consciousness. Therefore, the social fabric was being altered, creating a new and different harmony between a government and its people. Although most all the reformers strived for greater attention to the vertical relationship with God, Calvin seems to have fared better than his counterparts in transferring that relationship into the horizontal existence within the world’s system itself. He was aware that an absolute or impregnable wall between two elements that were so fused to the hearts of men, as are church and state, was, and continues to be impossible.
Societal Significance
During Calvin’s time, many ideas were taking root that continued to shape social thought patterns. When speaking of Calvin’s acquaintances among humanist and his siding with a more traditional colleague, Gonzalez states, “This serves as an indication that, at the very time when he was profoundly imbued in the spirit of humanism, Calvin felt no admiration for the vacuous elegance that characterized some of the most famous humanists (Gonzalez p. 62). The beginnings of the humanist movement of Calvin’s time appears to have very noble attributes, yet again we can detect the seedbed of the more cynical and sinister form that it took as history wear on. Wallace adequately depicts that even during Calvin’s time, “Fully fledged humanist, such as Lorenzo Valla, had taught that man must never thwart this self-development or self-fulfillment, even when this might demand the uninhibited expression of his sensual desires. These in themselves were to be regarded as all basically good” (Wallace p. 64). With Calvin’s idea of total depravity, he naturally experienced occasional clashes with these ideals embodied by those called Libertines, as Wallace points out, “in 1545 he wrote a tract Against the Fantastical and Raging Sect of the Libertines” (Wallace p. 64). When speaking of Voltaire, Gonzales states, “Furthermore, he argued that the history of humankind was no more than the history of a progressive understanding of ourselves and our institutions, and our efforts to adjust to that ever-clearer understanding” (Gonzales p. 193). Is this truly progress or is it simply a poison of intellectual idolatry? Even today many groups in society seek to communally beat the drum of human doings, programs, and institutions no matter there past failures, thus neglecting inward or spiritual implications. Concerning Jean-Jacques Rousseau, historian Paul Johnson said, “In order to justify his inhuman act of handing over his children to the state, in shape of the official orphanage, Rousseau was lead to argue that the state ought to be responsible for all children, if society was to be improved” (Parsley p. 91). When the element of God or the depravity of man goes unrecognized, we do not find some benign secular or humanistic utopia, but rather one where thoughts, words, and inevitably actions are severely marginalized. We will later see further evidences of Calvin’s views regarding the state’s parenting role.
Now, granted this was probably not the view of those like Erasmus, we can sit from where we are now and recognize that this has long been the mantra of our own secular humanist surrounding. For if we are all basically good, it is easy to claim that all we need to do is simply create the correct environment, education, or institutions to achieve advancement. The aspiration of good values void of personal transformation or God’s authority or person will inevitably lead to a social relativism and cause us to look to man or government for our source and deliverance. If there is no need to inward transformation then there is no need for self-government, one of the foundations set forth by American style government.
Whether it be by preaching, the pen, or in the practice of his life, Calvin portrays the importance of battling ideas with ideas to adequately inform our fellow citizens and properly combat inaccuracies or incomplete assumptions as they will undoubtedly produce collective premonitions within a society. Framing his Christian worldview in culture or the public square was not beyond the sphere of Calvin’s concern. Sproxton states, “Through his knowledge of the Bible Calvin thought to have ascertained absolute truths about the total inadequacy of the human condition, and man’s total dependence on the grace of God. It was his vocation to communicate these truths, and to do his best to enlighten other men” (Sproxton p. 92). This idea was foundational and rightfully so. Calvin observes the philosopher’s error of presuming that mankind is not in a state of depravity, and hence, they fail to comprehend his or her own nature as it is absent from acknowledging their fallen sinfulness.
Further, the rejecting Biblical assumptions in favor of intellectual reason would prove to be no less violent or messianic as it became a new religious sect, which lead to many conflicts beginning with the gruesomeness of the French revolution. This enlightenment would eventually lead to postmodern nihilism and influence ideals embodied in works like Fredrick Nietzsche’s The Will to Power and Beyond Good and Evil where we see a vastly different view of the nature and destiny of man than which Calvin portrays. Nietzsche’s last words predicted that his ideas would cause the 20th century to be the most bloody to date proved true. Calvin, who’s worldview was solidly based in the creation, the fall, and redemption, was clearly aware of such realities as Sproxton further explains, “Enslaved by sin, men were inevitably drawn to the former, and would pursue their self-interest alone. Calvin hoped to remind his readers of the delusion of this behavior” (Sproxton p. 92). And later, “It was not Calvin’s view that Christian values could be expressed by attempts to organize a society based on brotherly love, as Erasmus had perhaps envisaged. To Calvin, the inconsistencies and imperfections to be found in human affairs, far from constituting a deviation from man’s nature, in fact characterized it. They were indications of the distance between God’s perfection and the inadequacy of human resources” (Sproxton p. 7).
It was these conflicting worldviews that lead to a different revolution in France, compared to that which took place in America. There would arise those ideals born from the fathers of the Reformation and those drawn out of the philosophy of the Enlightenment movement. In America even Ben Franklin, engaged in prayer before political meetings and spoke of America and God’s providence in the same breath. Conversely, in France, many began emphasizing man’s reason, merits, and experience rather than God’s. George Washington seemed to poses an awareness of this when in his Farewell address in 1796 he stated, “And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbids us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principal” (Kennedy p. 69).
Political Impact
Washington’s declaration adequately leads us into a closer look at the political implications of Calvin’s influence. As we have seen, Calvin desired to establish a balance between the importance of what was religiously real and meaningful while refraining from exalting mere philosophical thought, theocracies, or sheer fanaticism. He was able to tap into man’s spiritual conscious, dignity, and interest, incorporating them into what was pervious only seen as the ordinary. McGrath further elaborates, “For the first time, the ordinary everyday activity of even the most petty producer was given a religious significance” (McGrath p. 233). In short, the source became the relationship with God rather than the state. This Puritan ethic enabled a more socially fluid and perhaps more divinely indented relationship between the nature of man and civic duty to God. Wallace elaborates stating, “Calvin believed that what happens when humanity is redeemed in Christ give us a true picture of what was meant to happen originally in society in its natural form. For grace always tends to reveal and restore the original form of nature” (Wallace p. 117).
The masses became more empowered or involved with their relationship with God in their own daily lives. Chung rightly states, “In dealing with political issues Calvin never lost sight of the dialectical relationship of spirituality (or, our spiritual relationship with God) and political involvement, or theological reflection and the social-political agenda. Calvin always tired to reflect on socio-political issues from a theological point of view, so that theology became a signpost for mundane affairs” (Chung p. 123). Yet even today we see many that are unwilling or unable to discern that there is indeed some religious or moral undertone lying bellow the surface of most all elements, ideas, and problems within society. Graham states, “Too many problems that another age might consider political or economic seemed to Calvin and the other pastors to be religious” (Graham p. 161). Perhaps the remnants of the previously discussed intellectual postures prohibit large segments of society from accepting what they see as an archaic or irrelevant spiritual analysis.
Further, it appears evident that in Calvin’s view church ethic was not necessary placed in an identical mold as political law. As Oberman intriguingly states, “Where the demands of faith and civil obligation are no longer distinguished, biblical law turns into tyranny. In its initial revolutionary phase this view of biblical law gave Calvinism the necessary trust to conquer a place for itself in France, the Netherlands, Scotland, and large parts of the United States” (Oberman, Weinstein p.145). One must ask what is it that constitutes the power and rights of both the state as well as human nature and what is owed to each, by each. In other words, true liberty comes through understanding that the state cannot govern at nation by itself alone without an interdependent church and personal purpose. Dr. E.W. Smith explains that “when the fathers of our Republic sat down to frame a system of representative and popular government… their task was not so difficult as some have imagined. They had a model to work by. Calvin gave to the world: “a republican spirit in religion, with the kindred principals of republican liberty” (Gibbs p. 63).
An division that is often overlooked or neglected is the difference between a republic and a pure democracy, which are notable and have social, political, as well as theological implications. A republic that is built on and governed by unchanging absolute moral truths was to be favored over a democracy in which the moral standards of a nation were whatever the people said they were. Abraham Lincoln’s battle against slavery offers a suitable illustration of such theories in action. The belief that the Lord acted as superintendent of all life caused the American Calvinist to fuse Biblical principals and a respect for civil liberty. However, all this did not mean Calvin advocated a theocracy as many would adamantly declare. Graham gives greater light on the subject stating, “Even Eugene Choisy, as we have seen, who described the Calvinistic regime as a “theocracy,” make clear that this did not mean the denomination of the church over the state, or the clergy over the political government. But it did mean a vast all-encompassing concern for the way government handled its affairs” (Graham p. 160). This is clearly an idea the Foundering Fathers made certain to adopt. Gibbs elaborates by stating, “It was Calvin’s stress on “covenant theology that provided much of the frame work for the covenants, compacts, constitutions, and bodies of liberty, which untimely culminated in the U.S. constitution” (Gibbs p. 61).
Calvin never directly or physically put himself in a political office or was concerned about personal status or gain, yet he did carry over his emphasis of God’s sovereignty into the sphere of politics. He was unafraid to stand firm in Biblical principals toward evoking an ethical use of power and reform both from the civil authorities and individuals. Some have suggested the American Revolution was of a largely religious and Puritan spirit, outgrowth, or measure. Gibbs relays that “Dr. Loraine Boettner, a Christian scholar who has sometimes been quoted by the U.S. Supreme Court, observed ‘Two-thirds of the population at the time of the Revolution had been trained in the school of Calvin” (Gibbs p. 62). Although Calvin was in favor of allowing civil authority the right to run the state, clearly we do not see a of philosophy of retreating to sanctuaries, isolationism, or monasticism, but one of responsible social commentary, engagement, and even conflict when spiritual existence was threatened. A willingness for proclaiming what needs to be done in righteous indignation is a practice that as time past in America seemed to dissipate, forfeiting the cultural atmosphere to political or economic movements or expediency. As Graham describes regarding Calvin, “So the minister, the ‘mouth of God,’ has the duty of speaking out sharply against all injustice, all neglect of duty, all ungodliness in high places” (Graham p. 63). Calvin knew that a nation could not be lead by two moral compasses.
Calvin also expressed a need for a representative form of government that had a somewhat detached approach toward regulating citizens even outside the church.
He states, “But let them remember and know, that they are of the same mold and condition of others, raised from the earth by the voice and acclamations, now as it were upon the shoulders of the people unto their thrones, that they might afterwards bare on their shoulder the greatest burdens of the commonwealth” (Mosse p. 22). Continuing the importance of personal accountability, he further stated that “power should not be held by inheritance, and those elected should be required to render elected account for their service” (Kingdon p. 31).
Economic Influence
Calvin’s economic influence is also worthy of a brief discussion as well. Some may argue that Calvin so emphasized a harmonious vision toward the poor and needy that he was boarding on being a socialist. However, Calvin portrays a picture of practical balance as indicated by Graham claiming, “Not only must the state guard against business interests milking the life of the people by unjust methods, but the state itself must not be an economic liability to its citizens” (Graham p. 75). Calvin did indeed push for a principal governing conduct of love and compassionate service, but he also shared the capitalist’s optimistic view of the socioeconomic arena. He also saw the benefits of private property as “in his Institutes, IV, i, 3, he writes: ‘…it is necessary to keep peace among men that the ownership of property should be distinct and personal among them” (Graham p. 73). Even further, note Chung’s declaration that “There is considerable circumstantial evidence of the similarity and affinity between Protestant ethics and the ‘spirit of Capitalism” (Chung p.140).
Calvin’s theology and focus regarding man’s innermost needs and dignity establishes a course opposed to that of a communist or even a purely socialist undergoing. He states, “If then, therefore, in the creation of kings, men gave not their own proper goods on to them, but only recommended them to their own protection,” and later, “Or who; like an unprofitable drone, should suck the fruit of other mans labors, but rather preserve the house, for those whose industry rightly deserved it” (Mosse p. 23). Perhaps through his intimate knowledge of scripture he translated that there existed an innate respect for the creative innovation of the individual soul. Calvin seemed to advocate the state in providing protection of and for the people while having little involvement in the property or goods of private citizens. Clearly his these ideas express very similar notions regarding the manner in which the United States has operated. These same principals appear evident in Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address in 1801 when he stated, “Still one thing more, fellow-citizens-a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned” (Kennedy p. 75).
One would have a very difficult time arguing that capitalism was not a major contributor in distinguishing America and its unmatched prosperity, order, and success from other all other nations both past and present. Although Calvin understood that the state was not to act as some economic leveler imposing equality, he did hold up the value of equality through the lens of God and law. The sense of communal fraternity to those less well off, or the undesirables, by the members of church and society must be emphasized and kept in the moral climate proclaiming, “The divine image in them allures us to embrace them in arms of our love” (Kingdon p. 34). Nevertheless, we see the essence of Calvin’s ideas regarding human depravation begin to be lost as is adequately put by Reid, stating “This sense of limitation before God was, however, an aspect of the Puritan ethic that could not easily be perpetuated in the process of secularization. Rather, as the emphasis in the cultural gradually shifted from God to humans, the sense of human limitation simply tended to disappear” (Reid p. 257). It seem unclear whether this was due to an ailing doctor, speaking of the Church, or if this was an inevitable byproduct or circumstance to the free economic and political constructs that those very ideas akin to Calvin’s helped create. I would opt more toward the former as the situation only reinforces Calvin’s vision of man with God and would certainly not separate human achievement from God’s glory.
So what did happen? Seemingly a relatively effortless and rapid change of the face of our civilization took place. Looking at what this in greater detail we can identify some major follies. Graham makes a series of statements that seem to capture such attitudes and mindsets. He states, “The great blasphemy of the church since the Reformation has been its uncritical adaptation to the revolutionary new world it helped bring into being” (Graham p. 212). Graham again points out an unfortunate reality stating, “But eventually the Protestant idea of community of believers was perverted form a priesthood of all believers into a priesthood of each believer. Stark individualism and self-seeking righteousness took the place of rather stern compassion and concern for the total community’s economic, social, and political structures” (Graham p. 212). Even today, many Christians will simply or angrily reject evolution and homosexuality while failing to mention Sodom’s other sins which include arrogance, haughtiness, and being unconcerned toward the poor and needy. We have followed the world’s lead into making a world of one, immersing ourselves in intellectual pursuits, which can still fail to positively change our surroundings. We must regain the fresh perceptive of self sacrifice and that people matter enough to develop our own study and ministry toward a relevant, genuine, and steadfast engagement in all areas of the culture.
Today’s Application
Hopefully there existed a motivation toward our own mandate to follow the example set by Calvin throughout the various sections in the above discussion, but we will bring this analysis to a close by briefly highlighting the matter. As we have seen, Calvin not only influenced sociopolitical dimensions but also the concept of being an insider for the Kingdom by affecting our own sphere of influence. McGrath elaborates, “To be ‘called’ by God does not entail withdrawing from the world, but demands critical engagement with every sphere of worldly like” (McGrath p. 245). Most Christian today have little intension of changing the world or are not fueled with a theological purpose or are even equipped with right theology. Parsley reiterates claiming, “The majority of believers today carry around a hodgepodge of biblical and nonbiblical assumptions. We’ve retained a core of biblical presumptions while uncritically picking up others from the dominant antibiblical culture” (Parsley p. 63). Calvin took precise and calculated but pertinent risks regarding his communication. As intricately put by Reinhold Niebuhr, “In his Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1929), Niebuhr wrote: If a minister wants to be a man among men he need only stop creating a devotion to abstract ideals which everyone accepts in theory and denies in practice, and to agonize about their validly and practicality in the social issues which he and others face in our present civilization. That immediately gives his ministry a touch of reality and potency” (McGrath p. 220). This is the transmitting, penetrating but real gospel, and perhaps best captures the heart of the vast essence of Calvin’s motive and resulting influence in the western world.
The movements and stumbling blocks that Calvin experienced are not altogether different from those that exist today in our own environment and require a similar call to duty. Many have sought to change the cultural atmosphere through more progressive political, social, and economic measures. Legislation such as hate crimes or the Fairness Doctrine in large part aim to regulate what Christians can and cannot say in pulpits or on the airwaves. In America and Europe, legal action by way of fines, sensitively training, and even imprisonment has been taken against preachers and Christian civilians alike for simply speaking about, or to, homosexually or Islam. These hate crimes are not concerned with malicious actions or even voice tones, but rather tells perpetrators what their intents were. If measures like the Fairness Doctrine are passed, Christian media could be forced to provide the counter arguments to each of their own views. Federal regulators would arbitrarily determine what fair access is, and who is entitled to it. Many, as occurred during the doctrine’s enforcement before 1987, would simple default to allowing no religious expressions of any kind as to remove the issue from discussion. Even speaking of content within the church itself, there are heads and chairmen of political parties holding to the belief that if a church wants to talk about anything regarding the state then they should be taxed accordingly. There seems to be an attack on the very ideals from a true Christian perspective that help produce such a free civic society possible.
Looking further across the horizon, in Germany home schooling for faith based reasons has now been deemed adverse to the purposes and sentiments of the state. Moral or behavioral judgments are shunned, and groups like Planed Parenthood are teaching fifth graders how all lifestyles are equally good, natural, and fun. In a Seattle school, children began using their Lego’s to build the best and highest building. The Lego’s were taken away only to be brought back with the rule that all buildings must be the same size and communally, not individually owned. This more resembles a Marxist system than our own capitalistic one. Certainly one can and should agree with Calvin that a profound generosity and cultural balance is needed and those like the poor should not be trampled or forgotten. However, it is my own belief that as a nation and its individuals move away from Christianity and personal accountability, a complacency sets in, and consequently that nation will look to some more drastic form of socialism, passing the bill to the state in order to fill the responsibility toward an altruism that has left their own hearts.
We have been afforded a great luxury where we can truly let our voices be heard and exert influence pertaining to the very foundations and environment of the nation in which we live. We must galvanize not only as a body of Christ but as likeminded citizens and refuse to sit ideally by while we are told what our values are, and our ideals progressively modified only to be regurgitated back to another generation by those very institutions. How difficult is it to realize Calvin’s vision of personal, genuine, and righteous care for those within the society when even the name of Jesus cannot be mentioned at graduation ceremonies, or children are told that they and their neighbors came from one marsupial. It would be to exhibit a lack of Calvinistic fortitude to fail to properly, factually, yet whole heartedly, expose constitutional inaccuracies and promoted intellectual and moral accountability. We have now progressed to a point where civil authorities cannot or will not distinguish between theology and behavior. Those in the secular movement have motioned to take out the ten commandants or the teaching on abstinence from schools as these things are no longer seen as aimed at behavior but as only instigating unwanted religious influence. For the most part, rather than fight these causes, we have surrendered the leadership of our homes and civic institutions. The Church and its members have so assimilated into the culture it can barley be found in the world. When the Church is silenced or when it withdraws on its own, the conscience of the nation becomes silenced.
Further, many continue to go unchallenged while associating theocracies or fascism when any expression of traditional or Christian values show up. However, we must ask if such movements were or are indeed Christian, or are faithful theocracies established with secular or humanistic dogma where exaltation of one truth is consider against the more reasonable ideals of the state. We should not be deceived or naïve regarding the ever enlarging and domineering remnants within our own social institutions and psyche regarding antichristian intellectualism. If we do not inform, engage, stand up, and speak up, then we will became something like what we thought we left over the Atlantic simply by default. While speaking of the Calvinistic Church, Graham appropriately underlines, “Its business is the Word of God-to understand that Word, to proclaim it, to labor actively for its penetration into the world of man. For the Calvinist there was no separation of the sacred and secular as there was for the Anabaptist, or as there is for the modern Christian who finds the church a refuge from the world” (Graham p. 211). It seems apparent that Calvin would not find a need for us to apologize for our Judeo-Christian foundations or even being to back peddle from them.
This has always been the mantra of the brave new world of progressive secular humanism. It may claim some noble cause, acting as champion of a more humane society, yet most all such beastly systems are eventually exposed as hating the same things: a free press, freedom of choice, and individual religious expression. Just as in the minds that produced the French Revolution, people of true Christian faith are seen as a speed bump to the goals and vision of a select few seeking to lead the masses. The gates of traditional America will fall if good people do not become informed and fail to do something. Calvin echoes a similar feeling with little subtlety stating, “The poor little church has either been wasted with cruel slaughter or banished into exile, or so overwhelmed by threats and fears that it dare not even open its mouth. And yet, with their usual rage and madness, the ungodly continue to batter a wall already toppling and to complete the ruin toward which they have been striving” (Serene p. 66). Churchill saw the ambition of this vast human relativism in Nazism, Regan saw it in Communism, but do we as the body and army of Christ have the spiritual discernment to see it within our own culture and the moral fortitude and courage to stand in order to sustain our own reality?

1.) Gonzales, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 2, The Reformation to the Present Day. New York, New York. HarperCollins Publishers. 1985.
2.) Wallace, Ronald S. Calvin, Geneva, and the Reformation: A Study of Calvin as Social Reformer, Churchman, Pastor and Theologian. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House. 1988.
3.) Kingdon, Robert M. and Robert D. Linder. Calvin and Calvinism: Sources of Democracy? Lexington, Massachusetts. D.C. Heath and Company. 1970.
4.) McGrath, Alister E. A life of John Calvin: A Study in the Shaping of Western Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Basil Blackwell Ltd. 1990.
5.) Graham, Fred W. The Constructive Revolutionary. Richmond, Virginia. John Knox Press. 1971.
6.) W. Stanford Reid. John Calvin, his influence in the Western World. Imprint Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Corporation. 1982.
7.) Mosse, George L. Calvinism: Authoritarian or Democratic? New York, New York. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1963.
8.) Sproxton, Judy. Violence and Religion: Attitudes Towards Militancy in the French Civil Wars and the English Revolution. London : New York. Routledge. 2002.
9.) Chung, Paul. Spirituality and social ethics in John Calvin: A Pneumatological Perspective. Lanham, Maryland. University Press of America. 2000.
10). Oberman, Heiko A. and Donald Weinstein, eds. The Two Reformers: The Journey from the Last Days to the New World. New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Press. 2003.
11) Oberman, Heiko A. The Dawn of the Reformation. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1992.
12.) Jones, Serene. Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety Columbia Series in Reformed Theology. Louisville, Ky. Westminster John Knox Press. 1995.
13.) Gibbs Jr, David C. and Jerry Newcombe. One Nation Under God: The Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America. Seminole, Florida. Christian Law Association. 2005.
14.) Kennedy, D. James. What They Believed: The Faith of Washington, Jefferson & Lincoln. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Coral Ridge Ministries 2003.
15.) Parsley, Rod. Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldview Affect Your Future. Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson. 2007.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: