This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. Calvin was French by birth and came to Christ in 1529. He came eventually to Geneva, Switzerland and there his ministry blossomed. 500 years later, we still see his influences. He wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was a pastoral systematic theology that summarized Christian theology. Many men and women around the world would call themselves “Calvinists” without realizing what they say. Calvin did not call his ideas “Calvinism”, we have termed it that ourselves. Rather, Calvin’s writings in the Institutes are Reformed Christian dogma. They are from the Bible not Calvin’s own imagination.
When everyone thinks of Calvinism, they think of the “Five Points of Calvinism” as opposed to the “Five Points of Arminianism.” The “Five Points of Calvinism” are taken right from the Bible and have been a major battlefield since the days of Augustine and Pelagius. In that day, Pelagius denied that human nature had been corrupted by sin and that man’s will is absolutely free. Augustine dueled with this by saying that human nature had been corrupted by sin that no one could obey the law or the gospel. He also said that divine grace is essential for salvation and it is only given to those whom God had predestined before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:5). Augustine said that the act of faith comes from God’s free grace, which is given to the elect only. Pelagius’ heresy was condemned by the church but as we see, it didn’t die. Pelagianism gave birth to semi-Pelagianism where man with own natural powers is able to take the first step toward his conversion, and that he obtains the Sprit’s assistance.
This gave birth to Arminianism, which has grown like a cancer all over the world. Later I will deal with this subject as it is not easy to fight and I have many friends who believe this. As Gandalf (actually in the book another character says this line) says, “The board is set, the pieces are moving” and “We come to it at last, the great battle of our time.”