Friday, April 10, 2009

A Pure and Simple Order of Worship

A selection from a letter by John Calvin to John Knox, the Scottish Presbyterian in exile at Frankford. The English church there was divided over what forms were acceptable in worship. Calvin declared his opinion in writing to Knox, who like Calvin, desired that the public worship of God be according to strict simplicity. The letter was written from Geneva on June 12, 1555.

Certainly no one I think who is possessed of a sound judgment will deny that lighted tapers, and crucifixes, and other trumpery of the same description, flow from superstition. Whence I lay it down for certain, that those who from free choice retain these things, are but too eager to drink from polluted dregs. Nor do I see for what reason a church should be burdened with these frivolous and useless, not to call them by their real name, pernicious ceremonies, when a pure and simple order of worship is in our power.

John Calvin: Tracts and Letters, edited by Jules Bonnet and translated by David Constable, first published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1858, republished by The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009, vol. 6, pp. 190-191.

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