Today, the Roman Catholic Church is making saints of two popes. What better day to read one of the church’s greatest sons, second, arguably, to Augustine of Hippo: Calvin’s Institutes. I’m not being perverse, for I’ve been reading Calvin for the past few days already. I explain what the “for” is there for:
From the Institutes:
Peter says that believers are “elect” “through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 1:2). By these words he reminds us, that if the shedding of his sacred blood is not to be in vain, our souls must be washed in it by the secret cleansing of the Holy Spirit. For which reason, also, Paul, speaking of cleansing and purification, says, “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,” (1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 4:15; Rom. 6:5; 11:17; 8:29; Gal. 3:27).
This does not mean that a Christian does not grow in holiness (sanctification). Nor does it mean that there are special human beings whose good works are of such a high quality that they should be made “saints” – to which, furthermore, Christians can pray (as a mediator between Christians and Christ). The Roman Catholic view of sanctification is far removed from the Bible.
Time to bake some biscuits while listening to the Institutes on my iPad app “Voicedream.”
I also dream dreams.
12 hours later. On CNN, the interviewer asked the Dean of the Catholic Westminster Cathedral of London – one of my favourite haunts when I was just out of my teens – whether Catholics pray to saints. He said no; they serve as an example. Tosh about the not-praying-to bit. For starters:
The prayer cards for the two new saints were probably printed a long way back. They must be selling well already.