on Shunning The Unlawful Rites Of The Ungodly Book Review-www.b aidu.com

Spirituality .www.puritandownloads.com/swrb/ "On Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly," John Calvin, Dallas: Protestant Heritage Press, 1996. 64 pages. Softcover. Book Review by Wes Bredenhof Occasionally one hears comments among Reformed church members which lead us to question whether the Roman Catholic Church is really as bad as our confessions make it out to be, or at least, whether the Roman Catholic Church has changed for the better since the time of the Great Reformation. Some university students may take ethics courses from Romanist priests or nuns where their knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church from the confessions and church history is put into question. Others may come into contact with Roman Catholic Church members in their daily work or through involvement with pro-life organizations. Here too conversations may reveal that our knowledge and criticisms of Rome are not as strong as we once thought they were. We therefore become softer in our attitude towards the Papal Church. Besides all this, aren’t "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" overcoming their differences and working side-by-side now? I dare say that we have been gravely deceived if we think that the Roman Catholic Church as an institution has changed substantially since the 16th century. Recently I had the opportunity to observe a Roman Catholic mass on television and what I saw taking place there was the very same accursed idolatry spoken of in our Heidelberg Catechism. Moreover, as I read John Calvin’s little booklet, it was as if I was reading a commentary and description of what I had observed. The false Roman Church of Calvin’s day is the false Roman Church of our day. Though written so many hundreds of years ago, this small work by the powerful Geneva Reformer contains much of value for us. Calvin wrote it to persuade a friend to leave the Roman Catholic fold. His friend had written to him and asked whether it was possible to remain a member of the false church while inwardly being of Reformed convictions. At that time, there was a large group of people in Reformation Europe, referred to as Nicodemites (after the Pharisee Nicodemus of John 3), who were in prestigious positions, and for whom conversion to the Reformed faith would mean disaster in terms of social consequences. Such people could lose their family, their incomes, and even possibly their lives. It was one of these Nicodemites who had written to Calvin wondering what he should do. The question is phrased this way in the Translator’s Introduction: "Is it lawful for a person who has renounced Popery in his heart to conform outwardly to its rites, for the purpose of avoiding persecution, or for any other imaginable cause?" In the 64 pages of this minute tome, Calvin gives his reasons why his correspondent should remove himself immediately from fellowship with the Roman Church. Calvin’s arguments are completely founded on Scriptural grounds, as we would expect. He outlines why the Roman Catholic Church is a false church and why true Christians can have nothing to do with the blasphemies and idolatries found within. Even being in the presence of the mass can give the appearance to others of conformity to sin against the second commandment. Calvin describes Roman Catholic worship and the Mass and argues "that those only preserve the holy religion of God who profane it by no defilements of unhallowed superstitions, and that those violate, pollute, and lacerate it, who mix it up with impure and impious rites" (pp.17-18). Readers at this point may be wondering to themselves if such a book is valuable only as an historical artifact or of interest only to theologians. Certainly there is meat here for historians and theologians, but also others may benefit from this work. This book is immensely relevant for our modern times and two factors in particular impel my hearty recommendation. First, Calvin lays out quite clearly the Reformation principle of worship (cf. Heidelberg Catechism QA 96). In a time when so many do not understand worship and the Biblical principles which should guide it, Calvin is calling us back home. Second, the old Genevan applies the Reformation principle of worship to the Roman Catholic Church and shows us clearly why we can have no fellowship with a false church which has not repented of its blasphemy and idolatry in the last 500 years. Calvin is sometimes known as a fiery polemicist whose wrath often overtook his reason. However, this little booklet, like all of Calvin’s letters, reflects Calvin’s pastoral spirit. Certainly one can detect Calvin’s animosity towards the Godless foolishness of Romanism, but fondness for his correspondent shines through clearly. Modern-day readers will learn to appreciate the gentler, human side of John Calvin. Protestant Heritage Press deserves our commendation for their reprint of this booklet. It is printed attractively and has been edited for easier reading. Comparing with the edition found in Volume 3 of Calvin’s "Tracts and Treatises" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958), this booklet has headings, subheadings, improved punctuation and grammar, and an informative Translator’s Introduction. An improvement has definitely been made which ensures that Calvin will not wither away under the pretext of unintelligibility. Even three years short of a new millennium, Calvin’s voice can be heard loud and clear. We can only be enriched if we strive to listen closer to the words of this saint. For information about the Puritans, including free and discounted Puritan books, Puritan MP3s, Puritan digital downloads, and Puritan videos, as well as the Puritan Hard Drive, please visit Still Waters Revival Books at ..puritandownloads../swrb/. About the Author: 相关的主题文章:

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