Anko Scholtens: Lay Leader of Reformational Movement (12)

Continuation of my translation of Scholtens' Verbond en Kenmerken Prediking.

. . . .Of Galatians 6:3, 5, he writes, "This therefore proves that self-examination must also occur with respect to the question, do I indeed do "the work of God" in my work" (John 6:29). The intention of the writer seems to be that self-examination of one’s condition is aroused here in the way of marks. I cannot read that there. And there are a number of other Scripture passages, identified by Dr. Impeta, which on this matter seem to me to be of some significance—namely 2 Cor.13:5; John 3:14; 2 Pet.1:10, 1 Cor.11:28. The discussion of these texts repeatedly demonstrates how significant the starting-point from which one proceeds is.

This also influences the manner in which one interprets the statements of others. When I read Calvin on these texts, for example, I come to the conclusion that he doesn’t address self-examination that leads to assurance concerning the question whether one belongs. I also then don’t believe that this notion ever existed with Calvin. This also explains why Calvin could speak more unreservedly about the connection between faith and works than is presently possible. Today people easily search for something sinister. And Calvin would probably be really surprised to note in which corner some would want to place him. One must, in fact, take "Calvin" here in his entirety and not one single citation.

Nevertheless, again and again, when Calvin talks about the fruit of faith with which the believer is confirmed in assurance that he is God’s child, he makes it very clear that this is primarily a matter of resting in the grace of God, revealed in Christ. Likewise, our fathers who penned the confession write in this vein and therefore we must read these confession from this starting-point. The notion of discriminatory preaching designed to produce assurance of one’s spiritual state is found neither in Calvin, nor in the confessions. And I see it as greater insight given by God that one begins to see these things, no less in the covenant, more clearly than before.

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