This post is in response to my Lutheran cyberfriend Dr Gregory Jackson at Ichabod and his readers.
Questions about who or what constitutes a Calvinist sometimes arise on Ichabod and, to date, I have been able to make only brief comments here and there because of time constraints.
So, I am making time this week to set the record straight. Those who read Ichabod will know that it deals with doctrinal controversies occurring within the various Lutheran synods in the United States. I would certainly not recommend unorthodox Lutheran clergy to my readers. Nor would I say that Father Pfleger from Chicago or the retired Cardinal Law represent the Catholic priesthood. So, I shall take the same approach here with Calvinists.
Bottom line: there are Lutherans and then there are Lutherans just as there are Catholics and Catholics; the same is true for every denomination. However, as Christians we put forward the best representatives to those who are curious about different confessions of faith.
I omitted Calvinists who aren’t full Calvinists either in belief (John MacArthur) or preaching style (Mark Driscoll) along with those who are somewhat too populist, too anti-intellectual or too much on the fringes (the heterodox Federal Vision and dominionist movements). Others might have started out as Calvinists (Robert Schuller) but lost their Reformed theology later on in life. The following list, short though it is, is theologically authentic.
For obvious reasons, I have left John Calvin off the list — as he started this branch of the Reformation.
I have also omitted John Knox — also Calvinist — because of the way he treated my fellow Anglicans. Even Calvin asked Knox to rein it in.
Those whose names are in bold and italics below are men whose works I read regularly. Others are studied by Reformed seminarians (e.g. Beza, Olevianus, Francis Turretin, Bavinck, Berkhof), are renowned seminary professors in the United States (Clark, Trueman, Horton) or serve as head pastors (Sproul, Riddlebarger). Others are held in great esteem by laymen searching for timeless daily devotions or classic commentary on the Bible and the Christian life (Bunyan, Edwards, Henry).
17th – 18th century Calvinists
19th – 20th century Calvinists
John Gresham Machen (more on my Christianity / Apologetics page)
Reformation Ink carries a selection of articles and essays from the earliest through to the 20th century Calvinists. It also has reference materials on Church history as viewed through the prism of the Reformation.
I hope this clears up some misunderstandings with my Lutheran friends and would welcome any comments or questions they — or you — might have.
Tomorrow: Error and the Marrowmen