Sunday, July 12, 2009

Calvin at 500 tour ends

After a last stroll through the village of Noyon, everyone in a bustle to set up for market day, John Schrupp and I went to the grammar school where Calvin studied in his youth, and, no doubt, where jealous classmates (Jean-Louis) came up with the taunt Accusative Case for the brilliant young man. The village is decorated with the French Tri-color, reminiscent of the bloody French Revolution and the virulent de-Christianizing of a culture. Granted, the French Catholic Church was profoundly corrupt in the 18th century, but it was a massive step in the wrong direction to expunge all Christian symbols from churches, cemeteries, even adornment and jewelry (no cross necklaces), and to rechristen Notre Dame Paris (and Reims and many other major churches throughout the country) Temple of Reason. France also revoked the Edict of Nantes (1598) that had granted toleration of Huguenots, Calvin's spiritual successors. Louis XIV reinstated official state persecution of French Calvinists in 1685, and thereby the country hemoraged its moral and spiritual backbone, seemingly never recoverying it.

It does make one reflect on the polarization of John Calvin’s biblical world view, philosophy of life, and theology versus that of the Enlightenment (Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Jean Jacques Rousseau—all French men) and particularly that of Charles Darwin, the master craftsman of the modern world and the 20th century.
Calvin believed that God was the supreme Creator of the earth, the sky, the sea and all that in them is, and that he is the Sovereign Lord of everything he has made, of all the universe, that he guides and governs the minutest details of his world, and as gracious heavenly father, he pours out his electing love for the eternal blessing and redemption of his chosen children. Calvin’s teaching brought the greatest blessing to Western Civilization: a vibrant church, republican government, free market economics, judicial order, respect for marriage, family, women, the aged, children, born and unborn.
Charles Darwin, whose 200th birthday is celebrated by elitists here in Europe and in America (I saw this poster of Darwin in Paris, but none of Calvin), Darwin has given the world modern totalitarianism, communism, the gulags of Stalin, the eugenics of Hitler, abortion, euthanasia, child abuse, battered women, moral and civil chaos, and a world of human beings who live not for God’s glory but for self-gratification, a purposeless existence.

On the coach to CDG. I read Calvin’s final words, prayers, and from Psalm 93, his favorite Psalm. Eunice, then, bustled to the microphone and led everyone in “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” (I've always wondered what a Beyonder is), and other gospel songs from the Revivalist Era. I don’t think Calvin would have approved.
Unloaded, said good bye to Bert and to all, then dispersed, our tour group to their flights and home, and Cheryl and I to collapse and rest in Chartres for a couple of days. A blessed trip, with daily evidences of the Lord’s kind Providence having gone before us in it all. I was told by many that the trip far and away exceeded their expectations. May it bear enduring fruit in each of our hearts, and may God graciously grant that all of us will be, like Calvin, consumed with zeal for the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria!

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