Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Calvin on the man born blind, Luther, and being cast out of the Roman synagogue

Another gleaning from Calvin’s commentary on John 9:

Calvin reflects on the casting out of the healed man (v. 34: “and they cast him out”; v. 35: “Jesus heard that they had cast him out”) by the Pharisees and draws comparison to unjust excommunication of faithful men by Rome:

By this example, are we taught how trivial and how little to be dreaded are the excommunication of the enemies of Christ.

He adds:

But so far are we from having any reason to dread that tyrannical judgment by which wicked men insult the servants of Christ, that, even though no man should drive us out, we ought of our own accord to flee from that place where Christ does not preside by his word and Spirit.

He even reflects on how the casting of the man out from the synagogue worked for his good, for:

If he had been allowed to remain in the synagogue, he would have been in danger of becoming alienated from Christ, and plunged in the same destruction with wicked men.

He then draws a parallel to the experience of Martin Luther and other Reformation men:

We have known the same thing by experience in our own time; for when Dr. Martin Luther and other persons of the same class, were beginning to reprove the grosser abuses of the Pope, they scarcely had the slightest relish for pure Christianity; but after that the Pope had thundered against them and cast them out of the Roman synagogue by terrific bulls, Christ stretched out his hand, and made himself fully known to them. So there is nothing better for us than to be a very great distance from the enemies of the Gospel, that Christ may approach nearer to us.


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