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John Calvin's American Legacy$
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Thomas Davis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.001.0001

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Practical Ecclesiology in John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards

Practical Ecclesiology in John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards

(p.91) 4 Practical Ecclesiology in John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards
John Calvin's American Legacy

Amy Plantinga Pauw

Oxford University Press

Calvin’s ecclesiology is a site of creative theological construction, drawing together the insights of the gathered church of the radical Reformation and the Catholic notion of the church as a sacrament of grace. Calvin’s pastoral practice acknowledged the peccability of the church while energetically pursuing visible holiness. He argued for particular reforms but also believed that the building up of the church is God’s work: the church for Calvin is at once a community of gift and a community of argument. Edwards inherited the theological tensions and the dynamism of Calvin’s ecclesiology, and his own pastorate provided ample opportunities for ecclesial reflection. This chapter compares Calvin’s arguments against requiring ministerial celibacy with Edwards’s arguments in support of revivals, making clear that both saw the central pastoral task not as the maintenance of a historic tradition but as the prayerful, communal discernment of the present form of ecclesial faithfulness.

Keywords:   John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, ecclesiology, ministerial celibacy, revivalism

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