Calvin on Luther’s “Trumpet Blast” (Gerrish)

 Albert Pighius, a student of Pope Adrian VI,  lived during the Reformation and opposed both Luther and Calvin on their views of the bondage of the will.  Pighius wrote ten books against the slavery of the unregenerate will and strongly defended the freedom of the will in a semi-Pelagian manner.  Of course, this is one of those areas where Calvin and Luther agreed.  B. A. Garrish has a fascinating note about this topic – I like Calvin’s quote defending Luther:

On the problem of the enslaved will Calvin steps forward as Luther’s champion, except that he thinks it necessary to tone down some unguarded and exaggerated language. And he insists that, understood within their historical context, even Luther’s extravagant expressions were justified. Pighius deplored, for instance, the fact that Luther was obliged, as a corollary of his views on the bondage of the will, to regard all human works as sins, and that he pressed this theme with gross exaggeration. Calvin replies:

“I grant it, but still say that there was good reason that drove him to such exaggeration. He saw the world stupefied by a false and pernicious confidence in works, as if by a fatal lethargy. What was needed to awaken it was not voice and words, but the trumpet blast, thunder, and lightning.”

 B. A. Gerrish, The Old Protestantism and the New: Essays on the Reformation Heritage (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 37–38.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015