Perichoresis 10.2

Perichoresis 10.2 (2012)


Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper

Wim Janse


In order to pinpoint its proprium, it is necessary to understand John Calvin’s Eucharistic theology within the wider context of the intra-Protestant debates of his time. As a second- generation Reformer, Calvin developed his ideas explicitly in reaction to and as a middle way between the Lutheran and Swiss Reformed discussions of the 1520’s. To that end this essay first focuses on the main developments from the Middle Ages onwards, and then presents Calvin from the perspective of the positions taken up by some of his contemporaries, in particular Philipp Melanchthon. Next, some representative texts written by Calvin himself are analysed. Although Calvin’s Eucharistic views were not from the beginning a coherent and unified doctrine but developed only gradually, they may be described in a systematic-synthetic way. With respect to the matter of closed, open, and frequent communion, it is observed that for Calvin a regular celebration is essential to the deepening of the believer’s union with Christ. PDF

A Calvinist and Anabaptist Understanding of the Ban

Matthew Scott Harding


Amidst a growing renewal of interest in Calvinism and Calvin scholarship throughout the globe in the wake of John Calvin’s 500th anniversary of his birth (1509-2009), this article focuses on John Calvin’s early ecclesiological development. In contrast to advancing theories that Calvin developed his ecclesiological understanding of church discipline from earlier Anabaptist doctrines and leaders which he would have been exposed to intimately during his exile in Strasbourg (1538-1541), this article argues that Calvin had already determined and articulated a well-balanced and detailed understanding of the ban (church discipline) before his arrival in the protestant refuge city of Strasbourg. Further, this article argues that Calvin’s sojourn and interaction with Anabaptists in Strasbourg cannot adequately explain Calvin’s ecclesiological understanding or increasing practice of Church discipline in Strasbourg or Geneva, but rather displays a vivid disparity between Calvin and the Anabaptist position on the ban which Calvin denounces as false perfectionism. PDF

John Hales (1582-1656). A Tolerant Man Living in an Intolerant Age

Lee W. Gibbs


This article focuses upon the seventeenth-century English philosophical theologian, John Hales, who is all too often overlooked or forgotten at the present time. The thought of Hales on the relation of human reason to God’s revelation in Holy Scripture is shown to be remarkably modern in many ways. The article also concludes that Hales’s “Middle Way” of thinking and acting continues to be relevant to Christian churches throughout the world torn as they presently are with discord and dissention. PDF

Psalms 16, 22, and 110. Historically Interpreted as Referring to Jesus

John E. McKinley


Three Christological Psalms, 16, 22, and 110 are troublesome to modern interpreters as they are used by New Testament writers. Scholars in earlier centuries had little difficulty following the ways these psalms seemed to be counted in the New Testament as predictions of Jesus. This interpretation was continued in the Reformation but is strongly questioned by conservative and critical scholars today. The argument reviews the contextual commentary for important quotations of these psalms in the New Testament, and examines the special content of the psalms to conclude that the earlier interpreters are more trustworthy guides. The unusual New Testament usage and strange content of the psalms warrants the application of exceptional hermeneutical principles to read them properly in the biblical canon. The implications for a Christological reading of these psalms are explored for theological and practical value. PDF

The Plight of Humanity in Paul

Sang Boo


In Paul and Palestinian Judaism, E. P. Sanders argues that, for Paul, humanity’s plight was not the condition that necessitated the solution of Jesus Christ. Instead, the solution was presented to Paul first on the Damascus road, and humanity’s plight was simply the logical corollary to the solution. This study will critically examine the particulars of Sanders’s argument— particularly with regard to Romans 7, Philippians 3, and Galatians 3—and offer some alternative exegetical analyses. This essay will argue that, while the development of Paul’s thinking may indeed have run from solution to plight, the exposition of Paul’s thinking goes from plight to solution. The movement of Paul’s exposition may suggest that his conception of the plight of humanity was born out of his ideational milieu, which must have been fed, at least, by the Old Testament and evidenced, at least, by literature such as 4 Ezra. PDF

A Transformed Beholder. Objective Beauty as the Impetus for Sanctification in the Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Sam Wellbaum


Here in the early 21st century, beauty is not what it once was. The Enlightenment has left beauty a subjective and inconsequential shade, barely resembling its former existence as a transcendental on par with goodness and truth. Can beauty be restored to what it once was? And if it can, should it? This article argues that 20th century theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar not only answers these two questions with a resounding “Yes!” but also gives the church the tools needed to restore beauty to a place of honor in Christian theology. For von Balthasar, beauty and glory are one in the same. Further, beauty/glory and love are irrevocably connected. When we restore beauty to its proper place, we experience God’s love in a proper way, which in turn leads to sanctification. PDF