Calvin climbs up on “the shoulders of Luther and Zwingli”. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 29A, Chapter 25 “Zwingli and Calvin Organize Protestant Thought” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson
1. What is “reformed theology”? How would you distinguish reformed theology from Lutheran theology so a Sunday School class could grasp its meaning? Who would you identify as the important contributors and how would you briefly describe their distinctive ideas as you defined reformed theology?
2. Olson asserts Calvin “stood firmly on the shoulders of Luther and Zwingli”. How does he justify this judgment from the historical evidence?
3. Lutheran reforms in Germany differed from those Zwingli and his followers accomplished in Switzerland. Identify some of the most important differences.
4. Zwingli had many similarities to Luther, as you have learned from Olson. (See Colloquy of Marburg.) But Olson indicates, when it came to salvation there were “two important differences”. What were they? Can you suggest why Zwingli’s theology differed on these issues?
5. What role, according to Olson, does “contingency” play in Calvin’s theology? In light of the response you have formulated, how do Calvinists therefore explain the Fall?
6. The Doctrine of Double Predestination was the focus of intense 16th century debates. What does the Doctrine declare and how did Calvin deal with it?
7. Some Christians opposed to the monergism of the reformers objected that “if God has foreordained and brought about humanity’s Fall and an individual’s reprobation (sin and eternal damnation), how can the reprobate be held responsible and God not responsible for sin”? What was Calvin’s response to these opponents?
8. How would you compare Calvin’s theology of baptism to Luther’s?
See Lesson 29B for correlated readings
Dr. Norman Geisler “Why I Am Not a Five-Point Calvinist”
Bible Verses for Reflection
Bonus Lesson: The Calvin Library