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Blog Archives: August 2017

A First Step to Reading Calvin

August 31, 2017
Chris Castaldo
Let’s face it, John Calvin’s Institutes is intimidating to many people, certainly to the uninitiated layperson. I suspect that there are also many of us in ministry who find it easier to quote Calvin than it is to actually read him. For instance, here is a little test: How many books are there in the Institutes? Can you summarize the gist of each one? What’s the big deal that Calvin puts justification after sanctification in book three?  It’s remarkable how easy it is for us to talk about a book for successive years without truly ...

The Reformation’s Legacy of Small Groups

August 24, 2017
Chris Castaldo
It may come as a surprise to learn that small groups, that is, men and women gathering to study Scripture and fellowship together, were a significant part of the Reformation. This was true in places like Italy, as it was for nations north of the Alps. Most people are unaware that southern Europe witnessed such a movement of gospel renewal (at least until the Inquisition in 1542). This was stimulated by numerous factors, including an abysmal standard of morality by Pope Alexander VI and his Borgia family, the Medici papacies which had made ...

Was Luther Guilty?

August 17, 2017
Chris Castaldo
It is common to hear Martin Luther pegged as the man who divided Western Christianity. For example, in speaking to this question, Bishop Bob Barron recently asserted, “I think Luther was too polemical, and I think he fell into opposition [too] quickly with the Catholic Church.”[1] Barron proceeded to say that if Luther were only more patient and cooperative, his Reformation might have been avoided and a Lutheran order of monks may have found a place in the Roman Church. Say what? A Coin in the Coffer Rings In late 1517, Albert of ...

On Protestants and Protestantism

August 10, 2017
Chris Castaldo
In this 500th year anniversary of the Reformation, there is much discussion concerning the enduring significance of Protestant identity. A perusal of new titles hitting bookshelves illustrates the point. In the recent past, I’ve enjoyed reviewing a couple of these books, both of which are meaningful contributions to the conversation. The first one is titled Protestants by Alec Ryrie, a reflection of 500 years of Protestant history in the West. You may access the review here. The second book is by Peter Leithart, with whom I enjoyed ...

Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Henry Newman on Justification

August 03, 2017
Chris Castaldo
To evaluate commonalities and differences on the doctrine of justification among Roman Catholics and Reformed Protestants, we would do well to consider two figures in whose writings the subject features prominently: the Protestant, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and the Catholic, John Henry Newman (1801–1890). Despite the gulf in time separating Vermigli and Newman, there are several similarities in their personal and theological development. We observe, for example, that their years of study and ministry formation occurred in monastic ...