Thursday, March 05, 2009

Trinity, Incarnation...Meaning

Should Christians use all of those terms, or is that bringing in Greek philosophical language and non-biblical baggage to complicate what would be much easier without them?

Well, Calvin says we can use them. He says, “We need not confine ourselves to the exact words of the Bible.” As Warfield puts it, “For Calvin,

the sense of Scripture, and not the words of Scripture, is Scripture.”

That might seem heretical at first. Calvin holds to plenary verbal inspiration as I said earlier. However, you can take the words of Scripture and develop all kinds of heresies like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. They quote Scripture. They use the words of Scripture. But, it is the sense of Scripture that is Scripture, not the isolated words of Scripture. Another way to say it is that it is all of Scripture that is Scripture, not one text alone. So, Calvin comes to embrace the use of these technical terms. He says, “Avoidance of this traditional language may indicate a secret poison.”

Calvin’s Institutes Lesson 4, Page 7 © Fall 2005, David Calhoun & Covenant Theological Seminary