Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Master Plan

Starting January 2nd I plan to blog through John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. The character of these blogs has yet to be determined. Some might be simply reviews of the material, others may be more in depth. I do have a life and time (and the subject matter) will determine what might go into the post each day.

If you don't own a copy yourself you can read the Institutes here. (There are probably some better resources to read the Institutes but I'll leave that search to you) You will find the five-day-a-week reading schedule I will use here. I will attempt to blog according to these sections.

Without giving my schedule away to 'would-be' petty criminals, let me say that I will be in and out of the internets magic communication waves during the first week. So I might be a bit spotty but I will do my best.

I hope some of you might join me on this journey. I believe this to be one of the most important books written in the last 500 years. Whatever one's conclusions might be at the end of the reading they should take the time to interact with Calvin's work. This blog might provide the impetus or encouragement for you to do this. As Treebeard once said, "We might do some things together. I don't know about sides. I go my own way; but your way may go along with mine for a while."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Genesis of a Blog (and more particularly, it's) Name

The reason for this blog is simple in origin. I'm going to attempt to blog through Calvin's Institutes in 2012. I'm not sure if one needs a reason to blog, but it seems like it might be a good idea for the audience (both of you) to know what to expect. Of course, the blog will expand in areas of discussion, but we'll talk about that later.

The hard part of blogging comes when you get to the page where they ask you for a name for this monster you might be creating. It's not an eternal choice, but it can make you feel like you are naming a baby. (I was thinking about FRED the Blog - I'll let you work through anacronyms)

The largest problem in selecting a blog name is that it cannot already be taken. All the best brainstorming in the world goes to waste as soon as you find out that every variation of your beloved name has already been claimed. So, obviously my first choice, "Taking Root" from Hosea 14:5, was going to be taken. Here is a sample of why I might have chosen that name (where John Gill refers to the translation of 'taking root' as 'cast forth his roots':

On Hosea 14:5, from John Gill’s “Exposition of the Bible” -
"and cast forth his roots as Lebanon;" as the tree, or trees, of Lebanon, as the Targum; and so Kimchi, who adds, which are large, and their roots many; or as the roots of the trees of Lebanon, so Jarchi; like the cedars there, which, as the word here used signifies, "struck" their roots firm in that mountain, and stood strong and stable, let what winds and tempests soever blow: thus, as in the following, what one metaphor is deficient in, another makes up. The lily has but a weak root, and is easily up; but the cedars in Lebanon had roots firm and strong, to which the saints are sometimes compared, as here; see ( Psalms 92:12 ) ; and this denotes their permanency and final perseverance; who are rooted in the love of God, which is like a root underground from all eternity, and sprouts forth in regeneration, and is the source of all grace; is itself immovable, and in it the people of God are secured, and can never be rooted out; and they may be said to "strike" their roots in it, as the phrase here, when they exercise: a strong faith in it, and are firmly persuaded of their interest in it; see ( Ephesians 3:17 Ephesians 3:18 ) ( Romans 8:38 Romans 8:39 ) ; they are also rooted in Christ, who is the root of Jesse, of David, and of all the saints; from whom they have their life, their nourishment and fruitfulness, and where they remain unmoved, and strike their roots in him, by renewed acts of faith on him, claiming their interest in him; and are herein so strongly rooted and grounded, that all the winds and storms of sin, Satan, and the world, cannot eradicate them; nay, as trees are more firmly rooted by being shaken, so are they; see ( Colossians 2:7 ) ( Isaiah 37:31 ) . The Targum is, 'they shall dwell in the strength of their land, as a tree of Lebanon, which sends forth its branch.'''

So, I flipped through some of the references, was most impressed with Colossians 2:6-7, and have chosen "Rooted and Built." Hopefully at some point I will be able to expound upon that. But let's stick with trying to work through Calvin for now.

Why to Read Calvin's Institutes

As I try to get this blog up and running - in preparation to blog through Calvin's Institutes here is a post from Justin Taylor about why you should read them.