This is the first monograph devoted to divine accommodation in the writings of John Calvin. The text offers careful analysis of the topic along several different lines: it analyzes the character of Calvin's thinking on accommodation; it reveals the ways in which accommodation expresses itself in his writings; it probes the question of the penetration of accommodation into Calvin's theology and particularly its implications for his doctrine of God.
Preface.- Introduction.- 1. Assessing the Progress of Research since 1952.- 2. The Contents of this Study.- Divine Accommodation in the Tradition and Calvin.- 1. Accommodation in Christian Tradition.- 2. Calvin and the Tradition; A Preliminary Sketch of Calvin's Thought on the Motif.- 2.1 Texts Touching on Contact between God and the world.- 2.1.1 Joel 3: 4-5.- 2.1.2 Shewbread.- 2.1.3 Zephaniah 3: 16-17.- 2.2 Angels: Psalm 91: 11, 12 and Psalm 34: 7.- 2.3 Divine Promises: Hosea 2: 19-22.- 2.4 OT case laws: Exodus 21: 7-11.- 2.5 Summary.- Human Captus.- 1. Human Nature in Calvin.- 1.1 Historical Background.- 1.2 Calvin Studies and Calvin.- 1.3 Sin and the 'totus homo'.- 2. Human Captus in Calvin's Thought in relation to Accommodation.- 2.1 Assessing Opinion on this issue.- 2.1.1 Edward Dowey's Contribution.- 2.1.2 E. David Willis' Contribution.- 2.1.3 David Wright's Contribution.- 2.1.4 Summary.- 2.2 Human Capacity: A Survey of its Various Senses.- 2.2.1 General References to Human Capacity.- 2.2.2 The Human Condition.- 2.2.3 The Question of Sin and its Relation to Human Capacity.- 2.2.4 Mental Weakness respecting the Knowledge of God and Spiritual Matters.- 2.2.5 Fear, Grief and Doubt.- 2.2.6 Lack of Restraint, Inappropriate Desires and Imperfection.- 2.2.7 Sluggishness, Willfulness, and Hypocrisy.- 2.2.8 Barbarity.- 2.3 The Various Senses Reviewed.- 3. Analyzing Calvin's Teaching on Human Captus: the Recipients of Accommodation.- 3.1 Human Beings as Creatures.- 3.2 Human Beings as Sinners.- 3.3 Israel as Primitive Nation.- 3.4 Human Beings as either the Wicked or the Godly.- 4. Conclusion.- God's Accommodating Responses to Human Captus.- 1. God's Accommodating according to Calvin.- 1.1 When God instructs.- 1.1.1 God Reveals Himself through his Works.- 1.1.2 God Speaks.- 1.1.3 God Discloses Himself in Christ 64.- 1.1.4 God's Unaccommodated Revelation to his Peoplein Glory.- 1.2 When God Legislates and Commands.- 1.2.1 God's Moral Law.- 1.2.2 God's Old Testament Case Laws.- 1.2.3 God's ad hoc Commands given to Israel.- 1.2.4 God's Rewarding of Obedience.- 1.2.5 The Duration of these forms of Accommodation.- 1.3 When God sanctions Religious Rites and Practices, and receives the Worship of his People.- 1.3.1 God's Accommodating of the practices sanctioned in worship.- 1.3.2 God's Accommodating of the Reception of Worship.- 1.3.3 The End of Accommodated Worship.- 1.4 When God pastors his Flock.- 1.4.1 God cares for, leads, and protects his people.- 1.4.2 God employs angels.- 1.4.3 God rouses, threatens, tests, and chastens.- 1.5 When God comes to Earth.- 1.6 When God Covenants.- 2. Conclusion.- 2.1 Reviewing the Chapter.- 2.2 Assessing findings up to this point.- God's Reasons for Accommodating-Images of God in Calvin's Handling of Accommodation.- 1. An Introduction to Calvin's Statements on God's Reasons for Accommodating.- 1.1 Reference to a Motive.- 1.2 Reference to a Cause.- 1.3 Reference to a Purpose.- 1.4 Reference to a Contingency with which God must Deal.- 2. Earlier Portraits of Calvin's Accommodating God.- 3. Images of Calvin's Accommodating God.- 3.1 Transcendent and incomprehensible; good and loving.- 3.2 Practical and productive.- 3.3 Expedient, pragmatic.- 3.4 Unprincipled, desperate.- 3.5 Anxious, obsessive.- 3.6 Tender, tolerant, enslaved.- 4. Conclusion.- Accommodation and Calvin's Thinking on the Power of God.- 1. Calvin and the potentia absoluta/ordinata Distinction.- 1.1 A Brief History of the Distinction.- 1.2 Calvin and the Distinction.- 1.2.1 Calvin and the Absolute Power of God-Traditional.- 1.2.2 Calvin and the Absolute Power of God-Scotistic.- 1.2.3 On the Joining of these Two Viewpoints.- 1.2.4 Summary.- 2. Accommodation and the Potentia Ordinata in Calvin.- 2.1 The Created Order.- 2.2 The Order of Salvation.- 2.2.1
From the reviews:
"Balserak's study is important because he gives, compared with what was written in the past, a clear image of the multiform importance of God's accommodation for Calvin." (Wulfert de Greef, calvijnstudie.nl)
"Ce livre solide, intelligent, clair est une contribution importante aux études sur Calvin, mais aussi à une réflexion sur la révélation. L'érudition qu'il déploie sans lourdeur rend service à la pensée théologique." (André Gounelle, in Études Théologiques et Réligieuses 2007/4)
"The present study is a revision of the author's doctoral thesis completed under David F. Wright (University of Edinburgh), and is the first monograph-length treatment of Calvin's understanding of divine accommodation. ... Balserak's analysis of Calvin's understanding of accommodation is an important contribution to Calvin studies. ... Balserak's work should prove of value to both students and scholars of Calvin who are seeking a clear and concise presentation of the topic." (John T. Slotemaker, Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXXIX (2), 2008)