Necessity of Reforming the Church
by John Calvin
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This book, written by John Calvin in 1543, succinctly states the
principal disputes of the Reformation. What were the central
grievances which caused Protestants to demand reform? What measures
were essential for genuine reformation?
Calvin declares the biblical doctrine of justification. The reformer
also unfolds the wider scope of the Reformation, as he states the need
to restore biblical doctrine and practice regarding the proper means
of worship, the correct administration of the sacraments and the
government of the church.
Calvin defends the Reformers against the charge of schism. He rebukes
the spirit of ungodly toleration which masquerades as "moderation."
The Necessity of Reforming the Church is more than just an
historic monument to the Reformation. It is a spiritual manifesto,
calling us to repentance in our own era of religious corruption.
Dr. W. Robert Godfry (President and Professor of Church
History at Westminster Seminary in California) on The
Necessity of Reforming the Church: "Martin Bucer, the
great reformer of Strasbourg, appealed to Calvin to draft a
statement of the doctrines of and necessity for the
Reformation. The result was remarkable Theodore Beza,
Calvin's friend and successor in Geneva, called it the most
powerful work of his time ... Calvin organizes the work into
three large sections. The first section is devoted to the
evils in the church that required reformation. The second
details the particular remedies to those evils adopted by
the reformed. The third shows why reform could not be
delayed, but rather how the situation demanded 'instant
amendment.' In each of these three sections Calvin focuses
on four topics, which he calls the soul and body of the
church. The soul of the church is worship and salvation. The
body is sacraments and church government. The great cause of
reform for Calvin centers in these topics." Henry Beveridge
on The Necessity of Reforming the Church: "The
Treatise ... embraces the great questions by which the
Church is agitated at the present day. Indeed, in reading
it, one is often led insensibly into the belief, that,
instead of being produced centuries ago, it is a powerful
protest written by some modern hand against the prevailing
errors and threatened dangers of our own times."
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