Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'll take mine smothered, covered, peppered, and capped

Oh wait, the chapter title is "The Knowledge Is Either Smothered or Corrupted (not covered), Partly by Ignorance, Partly by Malice". Waffle House hash browns still sound good this morning with my Van Hautte's coffee (I never made it to BBBY).

Calvin opens the chapter by stating "As experience shows, God has sown a seed of religion in all men. But scarcely one man in a hundred is met with who fosters it, once received, in his heart, and none in whom it ripens - much less shows fruit in season." Calvin was looking at 16th century Switzerland and France. Here in the 21st century "Bible Belt" region of America the same could be said. Most people pay little to no attention to pleasing God through worship and study - even the ones who claim to be Christians.

It is human nature to corrupt the knowledge that God has given us of himself. Sometimes we do it because we are overly curious and begin fashioning idols - literal or figurative idols - which only distract us from the one true God.

Some men consciously turn away from God and deny his existence. Often those who fall into this category have greatly sinned or enjoy living in sin so much that they intentionally push God out of their minds and deny him. They think that if they can deny that God exists, there will be no punishment for their sin.

Superstition arises in the hearts of many who try to mold God into what they want him to be. False religion is born out of this. Not all religion is equal. No religion is real except for religion which is joined with truth.

Finally, hypocrisy is also a type of false religion. It is born out of an idea that God can be manipulated. Calvin writes, "Nay, more, with greater license they sluggishly lie in their own filth, because they are confident that they can perform their duty toward him by ridiculous acts of expiation."

Religion gets corrupted, either intentionally by those denying God or hypocrites, or through misunderstanding of God which leads to idol worship and superstitions. Man is to blame for all of these corruptions to true religion.

Here is a link to the edition of Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set) that I am using. Even if you don't intend to read the book cover-to-cover, it is still a wonderful reference for Reformed Christians.

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