I hope to blog more often this year. God willing, I hope to reread Calvin’s Institutes, this time in the Beveridge translation. Also, I plan to read the ESV Study Bible (I gave away my hard bound copy to my pastor and bought a leather bound copy instead) including the notes – hopefully!
Calvin still matters because the church still needs truth communicated effectively so that we might be sure that we know the truth, that we have been set free by the truth, and that we will live forever in Jesus who is the truth. John Calvin still matters because while he has many spiritual children, he remains in my judgment one of the greatest teachers the church has ever known in his balance, as well as in his insight and his passion. Time spent with John Calvin is time still well spent, and still a blessing for the church today.
Last night I attended a study group started by some friends who are members of a local Christian Reformed Church (Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church). Atty. Jerry Basiao was the study group leader. They were studying John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this something? Who would have thought that in such a small country as the Philippines, and in a relatively small city like Bacolod City, there would be a study group on John Calvin’s Institutes!” Someone stepped to the front and began reading a portion of ch. 1 of the Institutes on the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self. Then Atty. Basiao took over, explained a bit, and began addressing questions to the other members. Then came the fun part: We began sharing inputs, asking questions, offering our interpretations of what Calvin probably meant – it was fun! There were serious moments too, as when Elder Godfrey Serfino (an elder of Ebenezer) asked the group, How do we apply the things we’ve learned to the life of the church? (We were a mixed group actually: some Reformed, some Baptist; we even had a walk-in visitor from Pontevedra whose denominational affiliation we knew nothing about). The session lasted around 2 hours, after which we closed in prayer. Atty. Basiao encouraged each one of us to get our own copy of the Institutes. A couple of members began inspecting the books of John Calvin which the group reader (Bryan I think his name was) brought with him. We all had an enjoyable time. What a way to spend Phlippine Independence Day!