Friday, March 13, 2015

John Calvin and the Parable of the Net

John Calvin (see below)

Similar to the parable of the Wheat and Tares, Calvin argues, the parable of the Net confirms that the Church of God will have a mixture of the righteous and the unrighteous within it until the Last Judgment. The design of this parable is different, however, possibly because Jesus wants to explain further to those Christians still troubled by the existence of impurity within the Church “that a mixture of the good and the bad must be patiently endured till the end of the word; because, till that time, a true and perfect restoration of the Church will not take place”:

The preaching of the Gospel is justly compared to a net sunk beneath the water, to inform us that the present state of the Church is confused . . . and, therefore, recommends to us discipline; but he permits hypocrites to remain for a time among believers, till the last day, when he will bring his kingdom to a state of perfection. So far as lies in our power, let us endeavor to correct vices, and let us exercise severity in removing pollutions; but the Church will not be free from every spot and blemish, until Christ shall have separated the sheep from the goats, (Matthew 25:32.)
The above photo of Calvin comes from the Reformation Wall (Mur de la Réformation or Monument International de la Réformation) in Geneva, which I first saw in 1987. The people included are, from left to right: William Farel (1489–1565); John Calvin (1509–1564); Theodore Beza (1519–1605) and John Knox (c.1513–1572). As I recall Roger Williams (champion of religious liberty; 1603-1683) is among those on the right. I just finished a section of the book on Williams--also on the Wheat and Tares parable.

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