Ecumenical Activities of John Calvin

in Journal of Reformed Theology
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When Calvin appeared as one of the reformers of his time, he was accused of being a schismatic and destroyer of the unity of the church that was ruled by the pope. This article intends to demonstrate that Calvin made the greatest effort to participate in several ecumenical meetings between 1540 and 1556 and played a role in resolving the conflicts that threatened church unity and caused separation. Calvin and all the reformers sincerely believed in the existence of one church. He matched word with action and geared his idealism to the situation as it existed. Therefore, it is true to claim that Calvin had a strong ecumenical spirit.

Ecumenical Activities of John Calvin

in Journal of Reformed Theology

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References

1

Vinzenz Pfnür“Colloquies Hagenau, Worms and Regensburg,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation 1 (New York: Oxford University Press 1996) 377–380; cf. James Bratt “John Calvin and Ecumenicity” The Reformed Journal (1959) 18; Willem Fredrik Dankbaar Calvin: Djalan Hidup dan Karjanja (Calvin His Life and Work) (Jakarta: BPK Gunung Mulia 1967) 55; a translation of Willem Fredrik Dankbaar Calvin: Sein Leben und (Hamburg: Siebenstern 1976).

5

Hastings EellsMartin Bucer (London: Oxford University Press1931) 271–272. Dankbaar noted that according to Calvin the failure was caused by the change of opinion of the pope who liked war and even offered 300000 ducats to the emperor for that purpose. Meanwhile according to Eck the discussion had simply strained the relationship among the reformers; see Dankbaar Calvin 56.

6

Pfnür“Colloquies” 377.

7

Nauta“Te Hagenau” 342.

8

Pfnür“Colloquies” 377.

11

Nauta“Te Worms” 653.

14

Nauta“Te Regensburg” 598.

15

Nauta“Te Regensburg” 598.

16

Bratt“Ecumenicity”18.

17

DankbaarCalvin185; cf. Thomas Henry Louis Parker Calvin: An Introduction to His Thought (Westminster: John Knox Press 1995) 79.

18

Hesselink“Calvinus” 105; McNeill expressed the same opinion namely that “[Calvin] took a minor part with these men at the Colloquies of Worms Hagenau and Ratisbon (1540–1541)”; see John Thomas McNeill “The Ecumenical Idea and the Efforts to Realize It 1517–1618” in Ruth Rouse and Stephen Charles Neill eds. A History of the Ecumenical Movement 1517–1948 (London: S.P.C.K 1967) 49.

20

Hesselink“Calvinus” 105.

21

Hesselink“Calvinus” 105; see also Cadier “Union” 122.

22

Cadier“Union” 122.

23

Hesselink“Calvinus” 106.

24

William Stanford Reid“The Ecumenicalism of John Calvin,” Westminster Theological Journal 11 (1948) 30–44.

25

Bratt“Ecumenicity” 18.

26

Reid“Ecumenicalism” 39.

27

Jasper RidleyThomas Cranmer (Oxford: Clarendon Press1962) 329–330; cf. John Thomas McNeill Unitive Protestantism: The Ecumenical Spirit and Its Persistent Expression (Richmond: John Knox Press 1964) 244–246.

29

Hesselink“Calvinus” 109.

30

John Thomas McNeill“Calvin’s Efforts Toward the Consolidation of Protestantism,” The Journal of Religion 8 (1928) 414–415; cf. Johannes Ludwig Chrisostomus Abineno Perjamuan Kudus Menurut Para Reformator (The Lord’s Supper According to the Reformers) (Jakarta: BPK Gunung Mulia 1990) 62–66.

31

Wulfert de GreefThe Writings of John Calvin (Grand Rapids: Baker1933) 184–185. It was noted that Luther wrote many treatises and sermons about the Lord’s Supper as reaction to various opinions that according to him were incorrect including Zwingli’s opinion; see Abineno Perjamuan 35–43.

34

AbinenoPerjamuan32–33.

35

De JongeCalvinisme217.

36

De JongeCalvinisme218.

37

AbinenoPerjamuan45; cf. Hermann Sasse This Is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House 2003).

39

De JongeCalvinisme218.

41

AbinenoPerjamuan67–69; cf. Harun Hadiwijono Iman Kristen (Christian Faith) (Jakarta: BPK Gunung Mulia 1973) 357–358.

43

De JongeCalvinisme221.

46

Cadier“Union” 124–125.

49

De GreefWritings185–186; In fact the tension was not only between Zurich and Wittenberg; the same tension also happened in Bern. Calvin saw the same reality during his trip and his concern was increasing. There was another letter he wrote to them. See CO 12 Letter 1006 Calvinus ministris Bernensibus (April 1548) 675–679 which explained about the Lord’s Supper and taught them so they could be reconciled. See De Greef Writings 186; Bonnet LettersII Letter 224 Calvin to Bullinger (26 June 1548) 168–173.

55

De GreefWritings188; cf. McNeill “Efforts” 423.

56

McNeill“Consolidation” 423–424.

58

De GreefWritings188–189.

59

De JongeCalvinisme225; cf. Willem Nijenhuis “Ecumenical Calvin; Calvin Luther and Lutheranism” Ecclesia Reformata: Studies on the Reformation (Leiden: Brill 1994) 2:48–72. It was said that all the cities all over Switzerland had accepted the Zurich Consensus except Bern.

61

Willem Nijenhuis“Church Unity in Luther and Calvin,” in Ecclesia Reformata: Studies on the Reformation (Leiden: Brill 1994) 2:24–47.

63

John Thomas McNeillThe History and Character of Calvinism (New York: Oxford University Press1957) 158.

64

Reid“Ecumenicalism” 38–39; Bonnet LettersI 287 there are two letters written one to Farel and the other to the Council of Neuchatel; see CO 11 Letter 362 (29 September 1541) 293–294 and CO 11 Letter 273 Calvinus Farello Genevae (29 November 1541) 321–322.

66

Bratt“Ecumenicity” 17.

68

Bratt“Ecumenicity” 17.

69

Bratt“Ecumenicity” 18.

70

Robinson“Tolerance” 41.

71

Willem Nijenhuis“Calvin’s Life and Work in the Light of the Idea of Tolerance,” in Ecclesia Reformata: Studies on the Reformation (Leiden: Brill 1972) 1:115–129.

72

Robinson“Tolerance” 39.

73

Cadier“Union” 127.

74

Cadier“Union” 127–128. Cadier quoted from Inst. IV. i. 12.

75

Cadier“Union” 128. Other subjects include church order and ecclesiastical offices.

76

Robinson“Tolerance” 39–40.

77

Robinson“Tolerance” 40.

79

Robinson“Tolerance” 41.

85

Bratt“Ecumenicity” 17.

86

Reid“Ecumenicalism” 42.

87

Cadier“Union” 128–129.

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