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Contrary to many popular (and some academic) presentations, Reformed theology did not begin nor did it end with John Calvin. Indeed, Calvin was part of a broader tradition that existed before him, that drew heavily and directly from Luther and was influenced directly and indirectly by the Zürich theologians (e.g., Zwingli, Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli). The tradition was much broader than Calvin. It also continued after Calvin. Reformed theology spread into the German Palatinate, France, (briefly) into Italy, and the Netherlands. It continued to develop after Calvin. That is not to say that there was a great discontinuity between Calvin and the later Reformed theologians. It is to say that they faced issues he did not. They had decades to reflect on issues and come to different conclusions. They sometimes dissented from his biblical exegesis. Contra the now discredited “Calvin v. the Calvinists” thesis, the application of Reformed theology to the challenges of the late 16th century through the 17th century in the church and academy did not “corrupt” Reformed theology (e.g., make it “rationalist”).
Hostility - Reformed - Calvin - Scholars - Pastors
Because of the long-standing hostility, however, to Reformed orthodoxy as it developed after Calvin, scholars, pastors, and laity have too often been reluctant to study the Reformed orthodox and to learn from them. That is too bad and a significant mistake. There is much to be learned about Reformed theology, piety, and practice from Calvin’s orthodox successors. One of them was Francis Turretin (1623–87), the leading seventeenth-century theologian in Geneva, whose family fled Italy to Geneva because of Romanist persecution of Protestants.
Like Calvin, Turretin wrote an Institutes, a book of basic Christian instruction. Unlike Calvin’s’ Institutes Turretin’s was aimed at responding to specific challenges to the Reformed faith and practice in the 17th century. It is less a comprehensive survey and more targeted. He did,...
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