A Thought for the Critics of New Calvinist Winsomeness


I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about the amount of airtime “winsomeness” gets today in preaching and evangelizing methodology. It sounds sometimes like we are being told “Just be winsome and SHAZAM! salvation shall occur.”

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Reformed Exegesis and the Quadriga

[Edited: June 14, 2010]

A really interesting passage from Francis Turretin on, what we perhaps could call, a right use of the four-fold interpretation of Scripture (i.e. the quadriga).

“Distinguish the sense of the Scriptures from the application– the sense is only one, whether simple (in the histories, precepts and prophecies openly proposed) or composite (in the typical); whether proper (enunciated in proper words) or figurative (in figurative words). But the application can be diverse, both for instruction (didaskalian), reproof (elenchon), correction (epanorthosin), etc. which are the theoretical and practical uses of the Scriptures. Thus allegory, anagogy and tropology are not so much diverse senses as applications of one literal sense. Allegory and anagogy refer to instruction (didaskalian), but tropology to correction (epanorthosin)” (Turretin, Institutes, 2. XIX. VI.).

Turretin’s Institutes can be purchased here.

Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, Chapter 2 “Holy Scripture”

1. The Definition of Holy Scripture (Scripture as norm/canonical authority, inspiration of Scripture, infallibility of Scripture) [Heidegger, Vermigli, Aretius, Wendelin, Riissen, Mastricht].

2. The extent of the canon (extent of the canon) [Wendelin].

3. The Church’s testimony to the extent of the canon (the extent of the canon, substance and historical dispensation) [Cocceius, Riissen, Gallican Confession].

4. The Apocrypha (OT and NT apochryphal books, inspiration of Scripture, Scripture as autopistos, extent of the canon, Scripture as norm/canonical authority, testimony of the Church) [Wendelin, Musculus, Hyperius, Zanchius, Cocceius, Bucanus].

5. The relationship of the Word of God to Holy Scripture (unwritten word, written word, internal word, external word) [Calvin, Hyperius, Helvetic Confession, Wollebius, Voetius, Heidegger, Riissen].

6. The inspiration of Holy Scripture (revelation, authority of Scripture, illumination, amanuensis, dictation, testimony of the Holy Spirit, the divinity of Scripture, divine mandate, ‘organic’ inspiration, divine authorship, the “presidency” of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points, the charism of infallibility, the inspiration of the book titles, the authenticity of the Greek and Hebrew accent marks, divine canonization) [Calvin, Hyperius, Cocceius, Heidegger, Leiden Synopsis, Academy of Samur, Formula Consensus Helvetica, Voetius, Mastricht].

7. The relationship of the inspiration of Holy Scripture to its attributes (authority of Scripture, certitude of Scripture, sufficiency of Scripture, perfection of Scripture, necessity of Scripture, perspicuity of Scripture, the authority of Scripture in itself and with us) [L. Crocius, Riissen].

8. The authority of Holy Scripture (authenticity, certitude, infallibility, divine authorship, Scripture as  norm/canonical authority, principia theologiae) [Polanus, Leiden Synopsis].

9. The attributes/affections of Holy Scripture (authority, perfection, perspicuity, effectiveness, power, historical authenticity, normative authenticity, integrity, holiness, and necessity) [Crocius, Mastricht].

10. Proofs of the Divinity of Holy Scripture (testimony of the Holy Spirit, external evidences, Scripture as autopistos, testimony of the Church, certitude of Scripture, illumination, authority of Scripture) [Calvin, Musculus, Ursinus, Bullinger, Piscator, Heidegger, Wollebius, Voetius, Alsted].

11. The Authority/Authenticity of Holy Scripture (historical authenticity of Scripture, normative authority of Scripture, divine inspiration) [Voetius, Turretin].

12. The Perfection of Holy Scripture (unwritten word, good and necessary consequence, normative authority of Scripture, transmission of the text) [Burmann, Turretin, Riissen].

13. The Essential and Integral Perfection of Holy Scripture (articles of faith, formation of the canon, providence) [Heidegger, Peter Martyr, Riissen (2x), Leiden Synopsis, Marck, Alting).

14. The Role of Tradition (historical tradition, dogmatic tradition) [Riissen, Wyttenbach].

15. The Necessity of Holy Scripture (Scripture as norm/canonical authority, esse and bene esse of the Church, necessitas ex hypothesi dispositionis) [Calvin, Musculus, Turretin, Cocceius, Polanus, Heidegger].

16. The Perspicuity of Holy Scripture (illumination, single passages and single heads of doctrine) [Wendelin, Leiden Synopsis, Polanus].

17. The Reception of Holy Scripture (regeneration, general grace and illumination) [Polanus, Bucanus, Voetius].

18. The Supreme Interpreter of Holy Scripture (analogy of faith, rule of faith and love, the Holy Spirit, authority of the Church, interpretation of Scripture, exegesis, use of Scripture, power of interpretation and judgment, true and false sense of of Scripture, gift of distinguishing, vocation) [Chamier, Turretin, Voetius, Heidegger].

19. The Legitimacy of Inferences from Holy Scripture (analogy of faith, according to understanding/according to speech, sufficiency of Scripture, perspicuity of Scripture) [Chamier, Turretin, Voetius, Heidegger].

20. The Proper and Improper Exposition of Holy Scripture (quadriga, literal sense, sense of the text, application) [Polanus, Turretin, Danaeus].

20b. The True Sense of Holy Scripture (literal sense, allegory, typology, articles of faith).

21. Tools for the Proper Interpretation of Holy Scripture (analogy of faith) [Second Helvetic Confession, Wollebius].

22. Contradictions in Holy Scripture (real contradictions/apparent contradictions) [Wendelin, Heidegger].

23. The role of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of Holy Scripture (supreme judge of the Church, analogy of faith, agreement of the catholic Church, perspicuity of Scripture) [Ursinus, Leiden Synopsis, Cocceius, Riissen, General German-Reformed Confession].

“Helps for Studying Heppe” (Introduction)          Chapter 1, “Natural and Revealed Theology”          Chapter 3, “The Foundation of Holy Scripture”