John Calvin on Truth


Terribly disconcerting quote this is:

If we believe that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we shall neither reject nor despise the truth itself, wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to insult the Spirit of God…All truth is from God, and consequently if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it, for it has come from God.”The Institutes II, ii, 15 translated by John Allen. 2 Vols. Philadelphia Presbyterian Board of Publications, 1909 and Commentary on Titus, 1:12; as quoted by David Seamands, Healing Grace, 187)

Now I am really, really afraid.

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “John Calvin on Truth

  1. I came across your site for the first time today. I’ve not read enough of you material here to understand where you are coming from with regard to your comments about John Calvin on Truth. Help me understand were you are coming from here.

  2. David,

    Thanks for stopping by. I think a better question to ask, since I posted it with relatively no comment, is this: What did Calvin mean by it, and where was he coming from?

    My point is exactly what I said: If Calvin, staunch defender of truth and Scripture that he was, believed truth is truth regardless of the mouthpiece God uses to voice it, then what of the rest of us? What of those who reject some truth precisely because of the mouth that speaks it? That’s all.


  3. I thought that might be where you were coming from but wasn’t sure. Calvin’s quote sounded very much like the something C. S. Lewis also believed and taught which seems to be related to Platonic realism – the theory that the physical reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth; that there is an absolute truth and that this truth is knowable. Because of my own spiritual upbringing I was blind to this insight for many years. Truth is truth regardless of the source and we can recognize it when we test it against the Scriptures. Thanks for the clarification.

  4. David,

    You are welcome. I hope you enjoy the rest of the blog. I don’t always agree with everything Calvin says, which is part of the irony of the post. I even found in Calvin a truth I could agree with. I am a big fan of irony so when it comes back to haunt me, I get a bit squeemish. Nevertheless, here Calvin had a important truth to note for us and for that I am thankful–even though he was a Calvinist. 🙂


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