22 November 2011

Bavinck on the Conversions of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin

Calvin came to the Reformation along similar paths as Luther and Zwingli—a deep religious-moral experience also characterized his conversion.

Yet, amidst the similarity there was also distinction. Luther experienced deep guilt and discovered the joy of God’s forgiving grace in Christ. Zwingli experienced the gospel as a liberation from legal bondage toward the glorious joy of adoption as God’s child. Calvin experienced a deliverance from error to truth, from doubt to certainty.

The German Reformer held on for dear life to the Scriptural word: “The just shall live by faith.” The Swiss Reformer’s favorite verse was the invitation from Jesus: “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” The Reformer who was born in France found his strength in Paul’s boast: “If God is for us, who can be against us.”
--Herman Bavinck, "John Calvin: A Lecture on the Occasion of His 400th Birthday," trans. John Bolt, The Bavinck Review 1 (2010): 62

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