Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Calvin for Kids 01

I'm just back from an afternoon in the local school. I took three different classes of year 6 pupils. They are doing a series on Heroes of the Faith and so I talked to them about Calvin. After introducing myself as a preacher I said something of this sort:

I want to introduce you today to one of my heroes. His name is John Calvin (or Jean Calvin as he would have said) and he too was a preacher.
What I want you to get from this talk is at least 3 things:
1. Calvin is an important man in history and it's good for you to know about him. He has had great influence especially in countries like Wales, Scotland, Holland, USA and even in South Korea.
2. I want to get you thinking about who your heroes might be. I want you to be willing to think a bit differently. My hero is not a likely one in some ways. Born 500 years ago, he didn't live in London. He was a rather thin, weak man who was often ill. He wasn't a Baptist. But he's still one of my heroes. May be your heroes won't be obvious ones.
3. Calvin's motto was coram deo which means “in the presence of God” and I want you to think about God and about the idea of living every moment aware of him.
Calvin was born in Noyon in France a little way north of Paris (it was the same year as Henry VIII became King of England). Calvin's father's name was Gerard and his mother name was Jeanne. When Calvin was only 4 his mother died and his father remarried so he and his two brothers grew up with only a memory of their real mother.
From the beginning Calvin was a bright boy and at first his father wanted him to do something in the church but then decided he wanted him to be a lawyer. Calvin went away to study in Paris when he was 14 then went on when he was a bit older to study elsewhere. He began to train as a lawyer as his father wanted but when he was about 22 his father died and he was free to do what he wanted. First he published a book and seemed to be heading for a career as a university professor but then something happened to change all that.
At this time a great movement was taking place called the Reformation. This movement was concerned with getting back to the Bible and rediscovering what it really said. They didn't just want to follow what the Pope and other religious leaders said but what the Bible said. These people were called Protestants (protesters against the old ways). Calvin was one of the people caught up in this movement.
He had a friend in Paris called Nicolas Cop. Cop made a speech in the university about getting back to the Bible. People didn't like it and Calvin and Cop had to run away. Calvin decided he wanted to spend his life writing books to help people study the Bible. In 1536 he brought out a little book designed to help people understand the Bible better. He wanted to spend all his time quietly somewhere out of the way writing books but God had other plans.
In 1536 he was travelling through what we now call Switzerland and had to stay overnight in a place called Geneva. In Geneva the people had decided that they wanted to follow the Reformation but not everyone was happy with this and so it was a difficult time. When one of the ministers, a man called William Farel heard that Calvin was staying there he immediately went to see him and told him that he had to come to Geneva and help them. Calvin explained that he just wanted to study quietly and write books but Farel told him that if he didn't come to Geneva he was really being selfish and disobeying God. So Calvin decided to become one of the ministers there.
So that's what happened Calvin, even though still only quite a young man (27), became one of the ministers there in Geneva.
(to be continued)

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