Friday, February 03, 2006
R.T. Kendall on John Calvin, (For Ray)
OK, so I’ve been trying to work through Ray’s comments in the blogback in order, but this one get thrust to the top of the line:
Ray Says: “Your claim that Olson & Geisler have fabricated a quote of Calvin seems a bit strong. If they both simply quoted Kendall, it's hard to fault them as Kendall is no slouch.”
Swan Replies: Ray is referring to the article I have over on James White’s AOMIN site found here. It is easy to fault Dr. Geisler and Mr. Olson here, because it appears they did not actually read the writings of John Calvin, but rather mis-copied down Kendall’s research. Ray, if one going to print a book and have an entire chapter on John Calvin, don’t you think Geisler should have at least read John Calvin? I don’t think either Olson or Geisler actually read any of the contexts of the quotes they utilized. Shame on them.
Do I value Kendall’s work? Absolutely not. One doesn’t have to read to far into the book to find glaring mistakes. For instance, on page 13 of his book Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 Kendall claims that Calvin held to unlimited atonement, and “this view of Calvin’s breaks with Luther’s. Luther holds that ‘Christ did not die for absolutely all.’” Now I know Luther’s writings, and Kendall’s claim is blatantly false. Luther repeatedly proclaimed an unlimited atonement.
Ray Says: “Further, as Olson has shown in Appendix E of C&A(Quotations of John Calvin on General Redemption)there are many instances where Calvin is very clear that the atonement is universal. I noticed that you haven't addressed any of these quotes. It would be helpful if you did provide some commentary on why so many quotes seem to support Olson's position."
Swan Replies: How fortunate you are! I have actually worked through almost the entirety of Calvin quotes used by Norman Geisler (most of which are used by Gordon Olson as well). Let me attempt to finish up some other things first. It would be really easy for me to post this information and bore every to tears. However, in the meantime, here is a basic introduction to the entire controversy on Calvin’s view of the atonement by Roger Nicole: John Calvin's View of Limited Atonement from the 1985 Westminster Theological Journal. Considered one of the quintessential treatments of this issue, it traces the history of those who hold Calvin believed in a universal atonement, and also provides a good overview of Calvin’s atonement doctrine.