I'm behind on Calvin, but read this today:
"Here we must more carefully attend to those subtleties with which superstition disports itself. Indeed, it does not so decline to other gods as seemingly to desert the highest God, or to reduce him to the level of the rest. But while it concedes to him the supreme place, it surrounds him with a throng of lesser gods, among whom it parcels out his functions. The glory of his divinity is so rent asunder (although stealthily and craftily) that his whole glory does not remain with him alone. Thus, in the past, men, Jews as well as heathen, put a vast throng of gods under the father and ruler of the gods. Each of these gods according to his rank held in common with the highest god the government of heaven and earth."
"the distinction between latria and dulia, as they called them, was invented in order that divine honors might seem to be transferred with impunity to angels and the dead. For it is obvious that the honor the papists give to the saints really does not differ from the honoring of God."
P.S. The distinction between latria and dulia has to do with the Catholic distinction between the worship appropriate to God alone and the kind of lower reverence appropriate saints and such.
This discussion really reminded me of Bauckham and the sharp divide he places between God and other heavenly beings. The religious traditions of scholars do affect their biblical interpretation. So I wondered if Bauckham was much of an Anglican and if this section of the Institutes has had any significant impact on him.
I know he did use to teach theology and now that he's emeritus at St. Andrews he's at Ridley at Cambridge, an Anglican theological training college.
That of course made me think of how Calvinist the 39 articles are and the strange fact that the Westminster Confession is Anglican, that John Knox took it back to Scotland where it became ground zero for Presbyterianism.
Then I thought of N. T. Wright's strange view of faith as a "badge of covenant membership," not as what gets you in or justifies you. Sure seems Calvinist to me--faith does not get you in but is a sign that you're in.
So then there's a discussion I had with Bounds yesterday I think. Apparently Anglicanism was heavily Calvinist at the beginning until some Arminian influence came in the mid-1600's. Wesley came at the right time for this trend to influence him. Unfortunately, that trajectory apparently went heavily Deist, to where those Anglicans who take doctrine seriously today tend to be the Calvinist trajectory.
I'm sure I'm perverting the Bound discussion... I take responsibility. Is this right?
There, now free to carry the spiraling stream of consciousness where you will...