Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics

imageGospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation by Graeme Goldsworthy, InterVarsity Press, 2006.

Goldsworthy packs a lot into these 317 pages, and its all worth the time and energy to understand. In his words, “Gospel-centered hermeneutics is above all the endeavor to understand the meaning of any aspect of reality, including the Bible, in the light of him who is the Light of the World” (315). Hermeneutics becomes about how we understand all of life, the Bible included, in relationship to Christ.

The book itself is broken down into three parts: evangelical presuppositions[1], a brief history of philosophical intrusions on hermeneutics, and a biblical theology of hermeneutics. It was particularly Goldsworthy’s presuppositional approach to hermeneutics that got me excited about this book; let me explain why.

There is no neutrality in any area of life, hermeneutics included. Goldsworthy recognizes this, and flushes it out in relationship to biblical interpretation. When a person opens the Bible, they bring their presuppositions with them. Either the interpreter is in submission to the Lordship of Christ, and by extension believes in the unity and authority of Scripture, or else they are not and do not. Whatever the core beliefs are which a person brings with them, they will find ways of reinforcing those beliefs with the text; certain gnostics might even have to disregard the entire Old Testament, or certain unitarians might have to cut out the miracles, the resurrection, and call things dandy. The evangelical Trinitarian, however, must submit to the Scripture as the self-authenticating word of God, which points ultimately to the Word of God made flesh.

The second part of the book deals with all the ungodly philosophical methods that have been brought in, one way or another, into the way Christians read the Bible. Goldsworthy deals helpfully, albeit briefly, with everything from the Platonism in the early Church to the existentialism of our own day, and shows how these vary from a hermeneutic derived solely from the Scripture. This portion of the book can get somewhat technical if you are not philosophically minded, but is still crucial and helpful for identifying the various encroachments in our thought.

The last section of the book, dealing with biblical theology, was very helpful in laying out all the elements that go into a serious study of the bible and hermeneutics. One particularly helpful chapter dealt with all of the issues relating to the continuity or discontinuity between the Testaments, for example. If you are a student of the Bible, or a layperson who wants to understand the Bible better, go and read this book.


The Bible doesn’t need the autonomous philosophizing of men to critique it. Quite the opposite, actually. The Bible provides the ultimate critique of all our godless philosophizing: we have suppressed the truth of God for a lie. We need, now just as much as ever, to go through a presuppositional, and hermeneutical, detox. And I mean evangelicals. We need to assess what we assume about the Bible, where it came from, and how it applies to us. We need to take every thought captive to the cause of Christ, including our thoughts about the Bible itself. This book is a great place to start. Goldsworthy covers a lot of important ground in a relatively little space, and hopefully can help start a much broader and deeper conversation. I look forward to joining it.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. John Frame describes presuppositions this way: “A presupposition is a belief that takes precedence over another and therefore serves as a criterion for another. An ultimate presupposition is a belief over which no other takes precedence.” Quoted on page 39. From The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, P&R 1987, pg. 45.
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In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture

imageIn the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture, by Alister McGrath. Published by Doubleday, 2001

The King James Bible is a hallmark of the English language. McGrath writes that, “No other book has so penetrated and permeated the hearts and speech of the English race as has the Bible” (253). This, no doubt, is true. Christians took the time in 2011 to commemorate the King James Bible on it’s 400th birthday, even those who are the most critical of its origin and translation. In the Beginning provides a colorful and easy to read history of the KJV, and the lineage of English translation which preceded it.

If you are trying to make decisions about manuscript families or translation philosophies, this book would not be the place to start. McGrath touches slightly on the history of the textus receptus, and comes down against its reliability, albeit he is gracious and nuanced. This book, however, is not about that. It does serve as a very readable and helpful introduction to the English Reformation in general, particularly the Bible translating surrounding it. As we learned from Josiah, the Bible always brings about Reform when it is read and obeyed (cf. 2 Kings 22:11, 23:3-4).

One caution I would give regarding this book, is that there are points in which McGrath discusses King James as though he were simply a politician with his finger in the air, trying to decipher which way the wind was blowing. While some of that might be true, there was no real discussion of James’ personal Christian piety. It seems unreasonable, in my unscholarly opinion, to assert that the entire reasoning behind the production of this translation was political (or, by extension, to imply that because it was political it must therefore be bad). McGrath does do a very nice job, however, at briefly tracing the history of Bible translation during the Protestant Reformation, and the central role that it had. The history of the Geneva Bible was particularly fascinating, especially the role of its marginal notes on the political atmosphere of Europe.

Beyond simply recounting the history, McGrath compiles some fascinating ways in which the language of the KJV has impacted English, particularly through the translation of Hebrew idioms. I now know how my teeth got skin on them. Also, McGrath makes some helpful points regarding translation in the process, especially translating into “living languages” as he phrases it. Considering how young English was at the time of translation, it caused all sorts of difficulty for the translators, who were aiming primarily for accuracy, and the ability for their work to be “understood even of the very vulgar” (310).

I would definitely recommend this quick, yet fascinating, read. Worth running through the 310 pages.

How Things Fit Together

Bible translation is a particularly messy business. At least, that is the way we have made it these days. In every age, the 17th century included, there are political, economic, historical, and doctrinal factors at play. Which manuscript family should be used? That question alone raises questions regarding the providence of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit (at least in the minds of some). Should there be a “target audience” when translating the Bible? Who actual should do the translating? Do these men need to be orthodox Christians, or can we just get leading secular language scholars to do the work for us? What authority do “Bible societies” have? Who profits from the sale of Bibles? Should they?

No doubt we have been richly blessed by the availability of the Bible in English, and we should never forget that. Thomas Watson once wrote, “I wish we did not slight those truths now which would taste sweet in a prison. How precarious was a leaf of the Bible in Queen Mary’s days! the wise God sees it good sometimes to give us the sharp sauce of affliction, to make us feed more hungrily upon the bread of life.” [1] Any translation is better read than no translation, and yet, we tend to just have multiple English translations collecting dust and none of them being read. That is to our shame.

The sheer amount of translations available to us, however, should not cause us to stop asking the questions I raised (and I believe McGrath’s book raised in my mind) above. It still matters where our Bibles come from and how they got here. We need to be thoughtfully engaging in this conversation regarding our own time, as we reflect on how God worked in the past.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Thomas Watson.The Beatitudes. 1660. Reprinted by Banner of Truth in 2007. Page 135.
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Gospel Centered Dominion

One charge that I have heard made more than once against the Christian Reconstruction movement is that it lacks gospel centrality. Some would say that spending too much time in the areas of politics or cultural transformation takes away from a focus on the glorious news that through the cross of Christ God has reconciled sinners back to himself. Some would even say that proponents of Christian Reconstruction look too eagerly for salvation from the government instead of Christ. These indictments against dominionism serve to show that their opponents have a faulty view of the Christian Reconstruction movement.

The gospel should be the absolute center of any and all thoughts that go through the head of the Christian. The gospel is the foundation from which all other things are built on. The apostle Paul calls the gospel “of first importance.”[1] The gospel should break us, take us, motivate us, and enable us to live lives of obedience to Christ.

The goal of the Christian Reconstructionist is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring all areas of life in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. This means taking all the so-called “secular” areas of life[2] and Christianizing them. The end result is the ultimate Christianization of culture. Christians should be active in the various areas of life, not for selfish gain and popularity, but to win the culture for Christ.

The foundation of this very idea is the gospel. The regeneration of ungodly men is the only  thing that makes this type of cultural transformation possible. The Christian Reconstructionist does not seek to change culture without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The new birth is the most basic necessity to the Christian Reconstructionist. Christianizing culture does not occur by force, but by the sword of the Spirit. The church should not be in the business of coercing obedience.

Everything starts with regeneration. The more people are converted, the better society will be. Orthodox Christianity tells us that this can only come about by the sovereign decree of God. God alone can bring salvation to fallen man. Salvation does not come by force from Christians, but by the irresistible grace of the Creator of all things. The more God’s people are sanctified, the more society becomes sanctified. If all the people of the world were converted in an instant, what would the world look like? Would it look the same, or would it be better?

Christian Reconstructionism is gospel centered. God is sovereign in the redemption of culture just as he is in the redemption of man. The culture can be won for Christ because Christ has defeated sin and death. That is our basis. When the self-government of man is changed, families are changed, churches are changed, and society is changed, all to the glory of God. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. 1 Cor. 15:3
  2. http://blackcoffeecalvinist.com/onward-christian-soldier/
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Easter Has Implications

The implications of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are inexhaustible. Literally, inexhaustible. There is one implication, however, that I think is relevant in our current cultural mess which deems repeating. Easter is public. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is public. The living Christ whom Christians around the world celebrate this Sunday, like every Sunday, is not merely confined to the conclaves of our hearts, nor can He be.

Given Authority

The fact that Christ is risen, which He is, means something specific. Christ was risen for a purpose, a reason. When Christ was raised, He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus was crowed King of kings; He is the “prince of the kings of the earth.” This makes Christianity a necessarily public faith, and it also directly opposes the idea of secular pluralism. There are not a bunch of kings, or gods, with equal say in society. The Christian only knows one, the Lord Jesus. This reality, to most folks, is an offensive and audacious claim.

It, however, is the claim of all history for history only knows one Lord. In the words of Spurgeon:

“Empires have risen up, and have been the gods of the era; their kings and princes have take to themselves high titles, and have been worshipped by the multitudes. But ask the empires whether there is any besides God? Do you not think you hear the boasting soliloquy of Babylon–‘I sit as a queen, and am no widow; I shall see no sorrow; I am god, and there is none beside me?” And think ye not now, if ye walk over ruined Babylon, that ye will meet aught save the solemn spirit of the Bible, standing like a prophet gray with age, and telling you that there is one God, and beside him there is none else? Go ye to Babylon, covered with its sand, the sand of its own ruins; stand ye up on the mounds of Nineveh, and let the voice come up–‘There is one God, and empires sink before him; there is only one Potentate, and the princes and kings of the earth, with their dynasties and thrones, are shaken by the trampling of his foot.’ Go, seat yourself in the temples of Greece; mark ye there what proud words Alexander once did speak; but now, where is he, and where his empire too? Sit on the ruined arches of the bridges of Carthage, or walk ye through the desolate theaters of Rome, and ye will hear a voice in the wild wind amid those ruins–‘I am God, and there is none else.’ ‘O city, thou didst call thyself eternal; I have made thee melt away like dew. Thou saidst ‘I sit on seven hills, I shall last forever;’ I have made thee crumble, and now thou art a miserable and contemptible place, compared with what thou wast. Thou was once stone, thou madest thy thyself; I have made thee stone again, and brought thee low.’ O! how has God taught monarchies and empires that have set themselves up like new kingdoms of heaven, that he is God, and that there is none else!”[1]

Easter is not just about individual Christian’s hearts, though it is certainly not less than that. It is about far more.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Spurgeon’s Sermons, Volume 1, page 6. (Baker 1999)
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Chickens, Eggs, and Calvinism

The question of Calvinism, in a narrow regard, can be boiled down to a question of order. Which comes first? This time, however, the question is not about chickens and eggs, but rather faith and new birth. The reality of the new birth in the life of the Christian is held dear by those who are, historically, evangelical. To be evangelical may mean many things to some, or nothing to others, but at the very least it means belief in new birth. Belief in new birth, however, does not seem to answer the question of Calvinism in the minds of many.


So, which comes first? Faith or new birth? Some folks postulate faith as a means of new birth, whilst others in the traditional Calvinistic view see faith as a result of new birth. It seems strange to me that faith could possibly proceed new birth because of one basic question: if a person has faith, why is new birth necessary? The Christian life, as Luther so aptly put it, is all of repentance.[1] Repentance is the other side of faith; faith is turning to Christ, whilst repentance is turning away from sin. If a fellow, beit that very bad fellow or the very self-righteous one, is able to turn away from sin and toward the Savior, why does he need a new heart? His old heart has done the trick, so to speak. His old heart could do everything the new heart does.

A Living Thumper

The glorious Gospel of God’s sovereign grace is an upside down sort of thing. The Gospel is glorious because it raises the dead. It is prophesying to dead bones. It is an, “Oh Lord, You know” sort of thing. Dead bones, lying in a valley, can never conjure up enough faith for their own resurrection. Dead bones don’t have faith at all. God, however, is the God of the living, not the dead. His people have faith on Him, precisely because they have been resurrected first. Regeneration is not a tack on doctrine of the Christian life, but rather it is the very beginning. Regeneration is God giving new thumpers to dead sacks of bones. Those new thumpers pump faith, like the physical thumpers pump blood. It’s just what they do.  

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. See the first of the 95 Thesis.
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Infant Baptism: William Ames

As I was researching for my work on infant baptism, I came across this gem by William Ames (1576-1633).

12. The infants of believers are not to be forbidden this sacrament. First, because, if they are partakers of any grace, it is by virtue of the covenant of grace and so both the covenant and the first seal of the covenant belong to them. Second, the covenant in which the faithful are now included is clearly the same as the covenant made with Abraham, Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:7-9 — and this expressly applied to infants. Third, the covenant as now administered to believers brings greater and fuller consolation than it once could, before the coming of Christ. But if it pertained only to them and not to their infants, the grace of God and their consolation would be narrower and more contracted after Christ’s appearing than before. Fourth, baptism supplants circumcision, Col. 2:11, 12; it belongs as much to the children of believers as circumcision once did. Fifth, in the very beginning of regeneration, whereof baptism is a seal, man is merely passive. Therefore, no outward action is required of a when he is baptized or circumcised (unlike other sacraments); but only a passive receiving. Infants are, therefore, as capable of participating in this sacrament, so far as its chief benefit is concerned, as adults.

13. Faith and repentance no more constitute the covenant of God now than in the time of Abraham, who was the father of the faithful. Therefore, the lack of these ought not to prevent infants from being baptized any more than it prevented them from being circumcised then.

These two theses were taken from his work The Marrow of Theology, published originally in Latin in 1629. Republished by Baker Books, in English, in 1997. Excerpt from page 211 of the latter edition.

The end of thesis 12 demonstrates the clear and logical connection between Calvinistic soteriology and infant baptism, and shows how, to one degree or another, credo-baptism could be tied to an Arminian view of salvation.

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The Future of the Nations

What will the future of the nations be? If you haven’t read my previous post, you ought to read that one before this one. The flip side of the question regarding the Church before Christ’s return, is essentially a question regarding the nations. What will happen to them? The premillennialists, and most amillennialists, assert that the nations will continue to grow and advance in godlessness until Christ returns in smashing judgement. Will Christ judge the nations in this way? He most certainly has done so before, i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah to Jerusalem. What does the Bible say about the future of the nations, however?

A Sword

The passage gone to by many is in Revelation the nineteenth chapter, which reads, “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”[1] The “he” in this passage is Christ, riding a white horse through the rend heavens. There are several references in this text, one significant one being Psalm 2. The question in my mind, however, was not whether or not Christ will rule the nations, but rather how and when.

The premillennial interpretation is that this passage teaches Christ returning, with a literal sword, to literally crush the nations with it. The saints being his army of white, swords in hand, bludgeoning their enemies until blood fills the streets. The literal interpretation of this raises a fairly obvious question, though. Why in the world would Jesus be holding His sword in His mouth? That seems ludicrous. So what is actually going on here? Here is my stab at an answer.

Gospel Proclamation

In Isaiah the eleventh chapter, we are given a prophetic word regarding the Messiah to come. The entire eleventh chapter is started with, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”[2] Who is this passage talking about, and when was it fulfilled? The New Testament witness is clearly that the shoot from the stump of Jesse was Jesus, who came two thousand years ago.[3] But then, Isaiah eleven goes on to say that this Messiah “shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.”[4] See the parallel to Revelation nineteen?

It is my contention that the sword referred to in Revelation is the Word of God going forth.[5] The nations will indeed be conquered, but they will not be conquered by a bloody sword; they will be conquered by the preached Word. They will be conquered by being discipled. [6] This is completely contrary to the often heralded accusation that postmillennialists are triumphalists, and that they think the Gospel should be spread by force. It is actually a bit of high irony, for it is the premillennialists that make that claim explicitly. Ryrie, while admitting that there might be some hyperbole, says that when Christ returns the “carnage will be unbelievable.”[7] On the other hand, the postmillennialist believes that the nations will be converted by the regenerating work of the Spirit, and not the sword. This is precisely why the sword in Revelation 19 is described as coming out of Christ’s mouth.[8]

Bringing it Home

What is the application for all of this? One particular application is that we, being in the Kingdom, are in the process of conquering the nations by the preached Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. I have heard many Christians say things like, “I can’t wait to ride a horse back with Christ to defeat the nations!” Well, this isn’t something we have to wait for. Christ has given us His word, and told us to disciple the nations; to bring the nations under His authority. We are in this battle now. The Gospel is spreading, the nations are being converted.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Rev. 19:15, quoted from the ESV.
  2. Isa. 11:1, quoted from the ESV.
  3. Cf. Isa. 53:2, Acts 13:23, Mat. 1:1, Rom. 1:3.
  4. Isa. 11:4, quoted from the ESV.
  5. Cf. Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12. The Scripture itself uses the imagery of a sword to speak of the Word of God.
  6. Cf. Matt. 28:19-20.
  7. The Final Countdown by Charles Ryrie, page 110. (Victor Books, 1982)
  8. It is worth noting as an aside that some postmillennialists do believe that Christ will put out a rebellion of apostates when He returns. This is not His judgement upon the nations, however, but rather His judgement upon many hypocrites within the Church. Greg Bahnsen in his book Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillenialism takes this view.
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A Fork of Three Roads

The whole discussion about the End Times (eschatology) seems to focus strictly on the events taking place when Jesus returns, or maybe seven years prior. The unsung, and equally (if not more) important question that we answer inadvertently with our eschatology is this: what in the world is going to happen to the Church in the meantime? In answering this question, there are really three roads taken by thoughtful Christians; times are going to get tougher for the Church as evil grows in the world, the Church is going to see massive growth and expansion over evil in the world, or a somewhere-in-the-middle, I-don’t-really-know view. In my mind, this is the more important question underlying the whole End Times discussion.

For Better or Worse? 

It is my view that the Bible teaches the Church age to be one of continual expansion, growth, and Gospel victory over lawlessness. One such passage that I believe describes such growth is Isaiah 2:2-5.

When will this glorious day take place? The text makes that clear, “in the last days”. So, the next question following is obviously, when are the “last days”? The New Testament witness is clear: the last days started with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.[1] We are in these latter days, and they are going to see the expansion of God’s Kingdom, the supremacy of God’s Law, and the healing of the nations. Or, to put it another way, the Great Commission is going to be fulfilled. [2]

Thy Kingdom Come

When Jesus came, the Kingdom was inaugurated on earth. [3] All authority on heaven and earth is His, He has been given dominion.[4] So, what then are the applications of all this for Christians? They are, at the least, threefold: trust in what Jesus has promised regarding His Kingdom, pray the way Jesus has taught concerning His Kingdom, and obey what Jesus has commanded concerning His Kingdom.

Jesus promised that His Kingdom would start like a mustard seed, and grow into a mustard plant, larger than all the others (so large, in fact, that the only place for evil to reside is within the Kingdom, in the form of hypocrites).[5]

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.[6]

Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize, and teach all things He commanded (including the Law), to the nations.[7]

Christians should expect glorious things for the Church which Christ is building in history.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Cf. Heb. 1:1-2, 1 Pet.1:20, Acts 2:17
  2. Cf. Mat. 28:18-20
  3. Cf. Mat. 12:28, Mark 1:25
  4. Cf. Dan 7:14
  5. Cf. Mark 4:30-32, Mat. 13:31-32
  6. Cf. Mat. 6:10
  7. Cf. Mat. 28:18-20
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The Clear What?

All of life has those things which look solid from afar, but when approached are nothing more than mist and air. There are always some apples which appear good, and turn out rotten the moment you slice into them; there are also apples that appear good and are good, even though the two may look identical at first. Biblical interpretation has a quality to it that works something like this.

From the Clear to the Unclear

A good method to remember in traditional biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics, is that we should seek to let the clear passages of Scripture help explain the unclear passages to us. I have heard the clear passages likened to the cream on the top of the milk; it’s hard to miss the good, clear, biblical directives. When making interpretive decisions on the difficult passages, we ought to compare our interpretation with the clear passages. We ought not make angels preach a false gospel, so to speak.[1]

The Mist and Air

The good method is applying the clear texts to the unclear, and interpreting them by it, but now we have to take note of the bad method. This one can sneak up on you, and all of us are often guilty of mistreating Scripture in this way. The bad method is when you apply your personal theological system to the text, and interpret the Bible on those grounds, even if the interpretation given by your system is in direct conflict with another clear teaching of Scripture. I came across a recent example of this in Renald Showers’ book, There Really is a Difference. Showers writes, “The tearing of the veil in the Temple in Jerusalem when Christ died indicated that the Law was terminated at that time.”[2] The clear problem with this interpretation is that it 1) does not say this in Matthew 27, and 2) Jesus just finished saying in Matthew 5:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Jesus says very clearly that He did not come to abolish the Law. He says it twice. How then can Showers say that, upon the death of Christ the Law was “terminated”? By applying a bad method of hermeneutics. We need, often times, to leave our preconceived systems at the Table of Contents.


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Cf. Gal. 1:8
  2. From There Really is a Difference, page 41.
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First Things

First things matter, first things are bread and butter. When Christians enter into what Bunyan called the “very miry Slough,” it is the first things that get them through to the other side. It was the recollection of the first things that separated Christian from Pliable; an eye on the narrow Gate, the Celestial City. [1]

This idea of returning to the first things is incredibly important, particularly in Bible college country. I am especially prone to getting caught up in debates over the millennium, baptism, the covenant, or whatever else. The problem is, though, that unless our eyes are constantly focused on the first things, all these other important issues will become last things. They will become in themselves a very miry Slough.[2]

So what are these first things? Those things which are proported clearly in the Creed. The Triune God: Father, Son, and Spirit. Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontus Pilate. Buried. Raised on the third day. Ascended to the right hand of the Father, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. The Church universal. These are the first things.

There is much we can learn from the sixteenth century Protestant Reformers. One thing is that they never forgot their roots in the first things. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that many Reformational creeds and confessions took their shape out of the Apostle’s Creed. The Reformers understood first things. They understood that the only thing that could get anyone, ultimately, through the very miry Slough was Christ crucified and raised. Calvin said of Christ,

He came to quicken the dead, to justify the guilty and condemned, to wash those who were polluted and full of uncleaness, to rescue the lost from hell, to clothe with his glory those who were covered with shame, to renew to a blessed immortality those who were debased by disgusting vices.[3]

First things are always Gospel things.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. The reference here is to The Pilgrims Progress, by John Bunyan.
  2. I have to be careful when making distinctions like these; the history of the Church is one in which all things matter. All things, in reality, are Gospel things. All of Scripture is a good and perfect gift. The Christian life is not about individual people getting everything right, but rather about God saving individual people through Christ. We can’t let our dogmas do the saving, Christ does that. Cf. John 5:39
  3. From Calvin’s Harmoney of the Evangelists, commenting on Matthew 9:12.
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