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Title: In God's Custody: The Church, a History of Divine Protection: A Study of John Calvin's Ecclesiology based on his Commentary on the Minor Prophets
Author: Harms, Friedrich A V
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht; Publication Date: 2010
Hardcover; ISBN: 9783525569221
Volumes: 1; Pages: 248
List Price in Cloth: $112.00 Our price: $88.99
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Frederik A.V. Harms explores the ecclesiology of John Calvin based upon his commentary on the Minor Prophets (1557-1559). Harms takes a historical-systematic approach in presenting Calvin's view of the church. The systematic study of the reformer's ecclesiology in the Minor Prophets commentary (Part Two) is embedded between two historical sections. Part One offers Calvin's historical context when he lectured on the Minor Prophets between 1558-1559. Part Three surveys the history of exegesis on the Minor Prophets from the Early Church until the first generation of Reformed Orthodoxy. Included in this section are the relevant conclusions gleaned from this survey by comparing them with Calvin's ecclesiology. As for the thesis proper (Calvin's ecclesiology in the Minor Prophets > commentary), the author stresses Calvin's emphasis on the unity of scripture. This principle ties together the central message regarding God's protection of his one church throughout history. Consequently, this presupposition underpins Calvin's belief that the church of the era of the prophets is organically connected with the church in Calvin's day. Since Christ incarnate is central to both the Old and New Testament, Calvin is able to weave the situation of the church in his day into that of the church of the Minor Prophets era and vice versa. The time of the Minor Prophets (divided Kingdom before during and after the second exile) mirrors for Calvin the spiritually deplorable condition of the church in his own time period. This close proximity depicted by Calvin between these two historically distant times gives the reformer's exegesis the sense of relevance it evokes even to the reader today. Calvin shows that God uses discipline to preserve the church both in ancient time as well as in his day.