The pneumatic charismata in the theology of John Calvin : a study of Calvin's pneumatology, focusing on his concepts and interpretation of the pneumatic charismata in his life and works
This thesis attempts to disclose Calvin’s understanding of the person and work of the Holy spirit and his concept and interpretation of the pneumatic charismata. It is argued that Calvin does indeed write extensively on the charismata and that his concepts on and his interpretation of the pneumatic charismata are developed in his thoughts and theology no later than 1539. Within this thesis, we offer a clear and succinct overview of Calvin’s pneumatology and that his perspective on the charismata is historically conditioned. Chapter One provides an overview of his ministries and the challenges he faces both in Geneva and Strasbourg, forcing him to develop his pneumatology, especially the doctrine of the Trinity. It also reveals how Calvin conceptualises the person and work of the Holy Spirit and his role in the life of the believer. Chapter Two demonstrates how Calvin’s humanistic training and the tradition of cessationism represented by one Church Father helps him defend his position on the pneumatic charismata. There is evidence that the early Church Fathers write about the continuation of the charismata; however, Calvin tends to overlook this fact. John Chrysostom’s and Augustine’s vies on the gifts are compared, and it is suggested that Calvin uses Chrysostom over Augustine when he discusses this topic. Additionally, we consider Calvin’s cessationist position in light of the positions and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and the Radical Reformers. It is in Chapters Three and Four that we demonstrate how Calvin approaches his opponents’ positions on the charismata. It is suggested that the teachings and practises of the Roman Catholics, especially the sacraments of confirmation and extreme unction reinforce Calvin’s position on the function of the gifts. Also Calvin’s opposition to the teachings and practices of the Anabaptists and the libertines reinforces his particular cessationist position.