Calvin & monasticism

“…Calvin and the monastics generally agree that the Christian life is fundamentally paiduetic and ascetic, a life of formative education, practical training, and spiritual discipline. Moreover, as we will see, they largely agree on which early church disciplines constitute the proper paiduetic repertoire: scriptural study, daily prayer and worship, psalm singing, moral accountability, the Lord’s Supper and so on. Where they disagree is over precisely how–and by whom–this paideia is properly lived out. And so if Calvin’s preferred suite of formative practices bears a remarkable resemblance to certain monastic repertoires, this does not, Calvin would insist, indicate any direct dependence on monasticism. Rather, it indicates that both Calvin and the monastics are dependent on what they take to be the church’s ancient disciplinary treasury laid out in Scripture and other early Christian texts. To put the point briefly: Calvin is no son of monasticism, but is close kin, and the family resemblance is striking.”

Matthew Myer Bolton, Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology. (Eerdmans, 2011): 24.

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