Friday, December 12, 2008

Calvin on Humility and Listening to Preaching

By Andrew Faris

In a week I graduate from Talbot School of Theology with my M. A. in the New Testament. Among other things, this means that I have a ridiculous amount of school work to get to in the next week (a large paper on the nature of Spiritual Gifts, which I plan on blogging about as soon as possible).

Last week I mentioned that I would be finishing my series on Biblical worship with a post on applying the theological principles to the corporate musical praise setting. And I really, honestly thought that I would be doing that this week. Unfortunately I just do not have time. So give me another week or so to finish school and I will get to it as soon as I can.

In the mean time my reading in Calvin (for the same class) yielded another gem I thought was well worth passing on, this one on our spiritual stance towards the preacher and the preached Word:
Again this is the best and most useful exercise in humility, when [God] accustoms us to obey his Word, even though it be preached through men like us and sometimes even by those of lower worth than we. If he spoke from heaven, it would not be surprising if his sacred oracles were to be reverently received without delay by the ears and minds of all. For who would not dread the presence of his power? Who would not be stricken down at the sight of such great majesty? Who would not be confounded at such boundless splendor? But when a puny man risen from the dust speaks in God's name, at this point we best evidence our piety and obedience toward God if we show ourselves teachable toward his minister, although he excels us in nothing. (Calvin, Institutes, IV.iii.1)
Don't get too hung up on the obvious counter-example of Israel, who did in fact see God speak in those majestic ways and did not respond. I'll fall back on the Holy Spirit's role in keeping us from doing the same thing.

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