‘Sermons on Genesis’ – A Review by Brian Garrard
This is a modern English translation by Dr Rob Roy McGregor from the French text and first published by Banner in 2009.There are 49 sermons in all on chapters 1 to 11:4 and they were preached in Geneva between September 1th 1559 and January 23rd 1560. The words of Calvin come fresh and clear even after 450 years and are powerful exhortations to godly living in the midst of an ungodly world.
Perhaps the thing that impresses the reader most of all is the relevance of these sermons to the present generation. They seem as if they were preached yesterday. But be warned! The Reformer has a way of applying Scripture to the heart and conscience that can leave readers feeling uncomfortable about their own state.This can only be a good thing because it is an aid to holy living.
A typical example can be seen in sermon 7 on Gen 1:29-31 and the truth that everything God had made was ‘very good:’ ‘But because God found his works good, nothing remains except for us to consider them quite humbly, knowing that He did everything with such wisdom that, if we did not understand it, it is because our senses are dazzled,indeed completely blind … So let us learn not to be judges of God’s works, but to yield to the judgment He has given concerning them, and let us find everything good since He has declared it so, and let us know that to battle against Him is like butting our heads against a wall with impetuous and enraged fury, and that we are leveling our horns against God when we grumble about one thing or another and things do not come to us the way we wish … It is a very great and intolerable vice for us to be bold to rise up against our God that way. All the more, then, must we remember this lesson of Moses and confess with all humility that everything goes well the way our God made it.Afterwards, when things befall us in spite of ourselves and we are angry about something or other, let us nonetheless yield to God’s will and not act like wild animals, but let us remember what is said: ‘God found everything to be good.’ Therefore, that must also be our perspective’ (See pages 118 and 9).
Keep in mind that these sermons are not like the author’s commentaries but are quite different. In the sermons, technical and complex points are kept to the minimum and the ordinary men and women in the congregation are in view.In reading them it is not hard to see why Calvin’s preaching was so popular in his day and helped to set Europe spiritually ablaze. May preachers and people be affected and blessed by them once again through this vibrant translation. Indeed, in the opinion of this reviewer,Calvin’s sermons should be compulsory reading for all ministerial students!
Chapters 1 - 11
This is a modern English translation by Dr Rob Roy McGregor from the French text and first published by Banner in 2009.There are 49 sermons in all on chapters 1 to 11:4 and they were preached in Geneva between September […]
Taken with permission from the Bible League Quarterly, Jan-Mar. 2016 Issue No. 464