Pastor's Blog

Amazing Grace: How God used error for my good

May 8, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

I have a confession to make. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Auricular Confession has recently been a great help to me. Well, ok. Not the Roman Catholic doctrine itself, but rather Calvin’s refutation of that doctrine in Book 3, Chapter 4 of his Institutes. I have recently found myself, once again, in one of those prolonged “Dark nights of the soul”. The fact that this phrase originates with the 16th century Roman Catholic mystic, St. John of the Cross, is an irony not lost on me. Nevertheless, could any phrase better describe that experience...

Why Must We Complicate Things?

April 23, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

Love him or hate him, John Calvin was undeniably a genius. The breadth of his knowledge, the focus of his insight, and the agility of his mind in the synthesis of truth is truly astounding. Few there were in Calvin’s day who could approach his knowledge both of Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. Yet, he was no ivory tower theologian. He was a Pastor-Theologian. His life was spent not only in the realm of the mind, but in the nitty-gritty, week in, week out, work of the church. He not only wrote for the highest echelon of...

“If We Seek Salvation…”

April 22, 2019 | by John Calvin

“The Institutes of the Christian Religion”, Book 2, Chapter 16, Section 19

Hebrews 11: What Kind of Heroes are These?

April 10, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

I’d never seen it before. I’ve puzzled over it. I’ve questioned it. I’ve wondered how such fallible men, who sinned so much and failed so often, could nevertheless be considered to be great men and women of faith. Drunkards. Cowards. Those who tested God, made foolish vows, and who seemingly lived life with little if any concern for obedience to God’s law. And then, in my reading of Calvin’s Institutes, I came to Book 2, and chapter 10. In sections 11 and 12 of that chapter, entitled, “The Similarity of the Old and New Testaments”, Calvin...

Calvin and Augustine in the Arena?

March 22, 2019 | by James M. Harrison

When one reads a great deal, one can sometimes be surprised by way the same subject, idea, or even quotation, may appear in the writings of different authors. Perhaps I ought not be surprised given the fact that there is a finite deposit of source material available in any given field of study, though that deposit may be quite vast. My own reading has recently taken me from the Confessions of Augustine, to the Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin. When one’s reading sets these two giants in proximity to one another there is...