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The duplex gratia Dei and the Organization of Calvin’s Institutes: ordo docendi or ordo salutis?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a small contribution to and illustration of the need to interpret the history and organization of John Calvin's Institutes in its sixteenth-century context. Interpreters of Calvin's Institutes have often commented on his unusual ordering of the two benefits that believers receive when they are united by faith to Christ-regeneration or repentance and justification. In Book III of the Institutes, Calvin provides an account of the work of the Holy Spirit in uniting believers to Christ, and of the two benefits of this union, which Calvin terms the duplex gratia Dei. The chapter reviews the way Calvin orders the topics of justification and sanctification in successive editions of the Institutes. It identifies and evaluates several theological explanations of Calvin's unusual order, some of which betray a reading of Calvin's theology that is unduly abstracted from his historical context.

Keywords: Calvin's theology; duplex gratia Dei; John Calvin's Institutes



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