Calvin vs. the Calvinists

Twentieth century Calvin scholarship saw the rise of a theory that there was a stark theological divide between John Calvin and his later followers. Basil Hall, Karl Barth, R. T. Kendall and others have posited this view, and in a lot of circles it is bought into.

Richard Muller, historian at Calvin College, has written much to debunk this thesis. His works on Christ and the decree, Calvin and later Calvinists and his magisterial four volume Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics are just a smattering of ways in which he’s demolished the “Calvin vs. the Calvinists” school.

My friend David Daniels, who writes at Wise Reader, has a great review of the four volume set at the Christian Week website. Read the review and if you’re so inclined, buy Muller’s works. Here’s a quote:

Muller will require focused, disciplined reading. But those who invest the time will find rich reward. And the 123-page bibliography of primary and secondary sources will provide a lifetime of further research for those so inclined.



Filed under books, church history, friends, puritans, reformed theology, reviews

7 responses to “Calvin vs. the Calvinists

  1. I’m not an expert on Calvin or Arminius or anything else, but if I had to wager I would venture to suppose that there is probably more theological divergence between Arminius and his later followers than Calvin and his later followers. I don’t know if I could prove it, but its just a hunch based on what I’ve seen.

    • You’re definitely right. There was a big difference between the “English Arminianism” of Archbishop Laud and the Continental “Remonstrants.” A lot of the differences were for political reasons though. And of course, Wesley was quite different than the earlier Arminians. Today, I think people are Arminian not consciously, but because Evangelicalism is so biblically illiterate that they don’t know what to believe.

  2. I really like Calvin’s stuff and agree with it, even the parts about baptism!

  3. I always figured that his boils were really getting to him when he wrote that part of the Institutes.

  4. wisereader

    Hey! Thanks, Ian. And I didn’t even know you ready my blog. I guess I should look at my statistics page more often. :)

  5. wisereader

    And you even called me your “friend”. ;)

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