Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Calvin & Baptism of the Roman Church

In Peter Lillback's insightful and challenging book, The Binding of God: Calvin's Role in the Development of Covenant Theology, he notes a unique illustration which John Calvin used to connect the covenant-sign of baptism with "general election," along with it's consequential idea of falling away from such "general election" because of covenant-breaking. Calvin's illustration is of those baptized into the Roman Catholic church. He writes:
The same thing that the Prophet brought against the Israelites may be also brought against the Papists; for as soon as infants are born among them, the Lord signs them with the sacred symbol of baptism; they are therefore in some sense the people of God. We see, at the same time, how gross and abominable are the superstitions which prevail among them: there are none more stupid than they are. Even the Turks and the Saracenes are wise when compared with them. How great, then, and how shameful is this baseness, that the Papists, who boast themselves to be the people of God, should go astray after their own mad follies!1

1.  Peter A. Lillback, The Binding of God: Calvin's Role in the Development of Covenant Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001] p. 224, f.n. 53. Italics mine.

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