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The Mystical Presence [Paperback]

By John Williamson Nevin (Author)
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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: his doctrine is the truth, but, / am the truth, which is immediately referred again to this, that he is also the life. The next view places the distinctive character of Christianity mainly in its ethical force, its power as a Rule of life. This stands closely connected with Kant and Rationalism, as it proceeded from his school. It went along with the conviction, that the human mind can attain to no sure knowledge of the supernatural and divine in a theoretic way, but only as it may be necessary to assume it in obedience to the demands of our moral nature. What morality requires as a postulate for its own support, may be counted certainly true, though in other respects wholly unknown. The moral law became here the absolute measure of truth. Morality in man occupied the first and highest place. Religion was something secondary and subordinate, necessary only as required by the other for its own service. Christianity then was an ethical law ; starting in the form of positive divine precepts, but identical at last, in its true and proper substance, with the demands of the practical reason itself, by which accordingly it is to be tried and interpreted. Christ was the great lawgiver for humanity ; the Church a platform, for the grand contest of good and evil in the history of the race. Faith in God and the retributions of a future life, resolved itself into a firm persuasion that virtue must at last prevail. It was faith in the moral order of the world. We freely allow the great importance of this ethical conception of Christianity. It surpasses the doctrinal in this, that it brings into view more fully its proper dynamic nature, its teleo- logical character, the relation of the whole to a supreme moral end. It turns attention also more towards the author of the religion, as being...

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   244
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 5.93" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.78 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 30, 2000
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1579103480  
ISBN13  9781579103484  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Williamson Nevin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Phillip A. Ross has pastored churches in Berkeley, California; St. Louis, Missouri, Evansville, Indiana; Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; and Marietta, Ohio. Following his post-ordination conversion to biblical Christianity, he has labored for Gospel renewal through radio, music, counseling, and writing. Coming to see the counter productivity of his B.S in Philosophy, and his M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, California, he repudiated his formal education, and reeducated himself in the historic traditions of Protestant Christianity. With more than twenty-five years of ministry leadership, Phil has both an understanding of and experience with the unique circumstances involved in ministry. He has particular understanding of and commitment to historic Reformed Christianity, and is the author of many books on biblical exposition.

John Williamson Nevin was born in 1803 and died in 1886.

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Calvin's Other Calvinism  Dec 23, 2000
Here's the myth: Roman Catholicism invents the idea that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper actually conveys grace. This eventually becomes the superstition of Transubstantiation. Then Luther and Calvin rise up and liberate the masses from such belief in magic. Luther never quite liberates himself, but Calvin gives us Luther's justification by faith undergirded by nothing more than hard-core predestinarianism. The sacraments are simply symbols, pictures, and/or dramatizations of a spiritual truth designed to bring it into the participant's remembrance.

Nevin's _The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist_ was a reality check for American Evangelicalism. He demonstrated that the assumption of American "puritans" that their heritage came from sixteenth-century Geneva was purely a delusion. Calvin believed and taught repeatedly and emphatically that believers truly partook of Christ's flesh and blood in the Lord's Supper. The idea that the Eucharist was merely a symbol was a complete abomination in Calvin's eyes.

Nevin's makes his case masterfully. He quotes copiously from Calvin to show that His view of the real presence of Christ in the rite was not an obsure part of his teaching but an essential componant of his theology. He also explains how Calvin's view of the Eucharist was essential to his soteriology. For Calvin, a person is not saved from the wrath of God simply because God imputes "in a merely outward way" Christ's righteousness to him. A person is saved because he is incorporated into Christ's human body so that he is more intimately bound to Christ than a branch to a tree, a member of a body to his head, or a human to Adam. Only those united to Christ in this way by the power of the Holy Spirit can benefit from Christ's righteousness, having it imputed to them as His glorified human life is imparted to them.

The Lord's Supper, says Nevin, according to Calvin and the other sixteenth-century Reformers, renews and strengthens this union. We are truly given Christ's human body by the Holy Spirit when we partake of the Sacrament. Anything less would not be sufficient for our salvation and sanctification.

Nevin carefully distinguishes Calvin's view not only from the socinians and other rationalists, but from that of traditional Lutherans and Roman Catholics. Regarding the former, Nevin must have made his contemporary Evangelical readers wince when he pointed out that their view was identical to that of unitarians and other liberals of the day. On the other hand, unlike tran- and consubstantiation, Calvin's view did not allow for actual material particles to be locally present in the elements or to pass into the bodies of partakers.

Probably one of the most difficult aspects of Calvin's view was his insistence on a real participation in Christ's flesh and blood without any matter being transported into the participant. Thus, Nevin's attempt to formulate and improve on Calvin's explanation is perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the book. Nevin make the rather obvious but head-aching comment that a physical organism does not consist in particular physical particles! Living human beings pass out and ingest new particles all the time. Our human body is actually a "law" or "force" which must have matter to exist but is not identical with it. An acorn is considered identical to the oak tree which grows from it, but the oak tree is exponentially more massive and probably does not possess one material particle in common with the acorn from which it originated. By these analogies Nevin clears away the conceptual difficulties which make Calvin's view hard to believe. It would do no good if mere dead particles from Christ's flesh were transported into us. What we need is Christ's life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ's resurrected, glorified, human life is given to us so that we become sharers in it.

There is much else of value in Nevin's work, more than I can recite from memory as I punch out this brief review. Perhaps the most questionable portion of Nevin's work is his exegesis. There he makes statements about the incarnation which are hard to makes sense of. On the other hand, the texts he uses are very similar to those used by Richard Gaffin in _Resurrection & Redemption: A Study in Pauline Soteriology_. In other words, Nevin was a century ahead of the cutting edge of conservative Reformed scholarship. The difference is that Gaffin concentrates on the Resurrected humanity of Christ, instead of the "theanthropic person" which concerns Nevin almost exclusively and in my opinion leads to some difficulties.

Anyone claiming to be Evangelical and/or Reformed needs to read this book. There is simply nothing else like it. You will never be the same again. --Mark


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