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Calvin and the Sabbath: The Controversy of Applying the Fourth Commandment
Calvin's views on the Sabbath are the subject of claim and counterclaim. This book brings together two controversial themes: Calvin's ideas on Church/state relationships, and on the sabbath. Richard Gaffin traces the development of the beliefs of Calvin through his comments and writings, and also helps us to understand the relationship between the ten commandments and the ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 20th 2008 by Mentor
(first published October 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 62)
This is the doctoral dissertation of perhaps my favorite living theologian, on a topic that is vastly under-appreciated by today's church. He exhaustively studies Calvin's writings concerning the sabbath in his institutes, sermons, and commentaries. Calvin understands Christians, strictly speaking, to no longer be obligated to keep a weekly day of rest. However, this does not abrogate the fourth commandment, but rather intensifies and elevates it, as in one sense the sabbath is fulfilled as we r ...more
Gaffin's treatment of Calvin was very thorough (maybe at times too thorough!), quite fair, and incredibly detailed. But the best part of the book for me wasn't that. It was, rather, Gaffin's own presentation of the significance of the Sabbath institution for believers today. What was wspecially helpful was understanding the Sabbath not just as a post-fall type given to Israel (which has now been abrogated by the coming of Christ), but also more fundamentally as a creation ordinance, and therefor ...more
"The point to be drawn from Calvin's view of the Decalogue pertinent to our study is this: any remarks he makes regarding the meaning and present obligation of the Sabbath can be understood and properly evaluated only within the scope of his firm conviction that the fourth commandment, as an element of the Decalogue, applies to all people in every age. There is not the slightest indication that he had the remotest sympathy for the view, though subsequently it has often appealed to him in support ...more
This was the first book I ever read on the Sabbath that made me want to delight in the Sabbath. Gaffin does a great job of laying out Calvin's views on the Sabbath. I think the only downfall to his treatment of Calvin is that he tends to overspiritualize both Calvin and the Sabbath. At the same time he does a good job of explaining the eternal nature of our Sabbath rest in Christ. I recommend it highly.
Very helpful in looking at Calvin's perspective on the Sabbath from his "Institutes",Creedal statement, catechism, teaching commentaries,and sermons; and also other reformers and reformation creeds. For my limited knowledge though, the last chapter, "Summary and Evaluation" provided the most benefit.
I still have to think about this. Gaffin didn't appeal to the Scriptures routinely, as Calvin obviously did; so it's possible for me to say that Calvin works harder to follow the Scriptures than does Gaffin. Gaffin has important systematic thoughts to consider, of course.