Category Archives: John Calvin

Jesus Christ: Sinless Man/Eternal God

Get this on a t-shirt from!

Get this on a t-shirt from!

Here’s a follow-up on my series of posts on “Compromising the Full Humanity of Christ” which dealt with the “heavenly flesh of Christ” heresy. In my reading through Calvin’s Institutes in commemoration of his quincentenary, I recently got to a passage in which he deals with this very issue, which he indicates that it predates Anabaptism, tying it to Manichaeism. Let’s read Calvin himself on this . . .

Indeed, the genuineness of his human nature was impugned long ago by both the Manichees and the Marcionites. The Marcionites fancied Christ’s body a mere appearance, while the Manichees dreamed that he was endowed with heavenly flesh. But many strong testimonies of Scripture stand against both (Book 2, chapter 13, section 1)…Marcion imagines that Christ put on a phantasm instead of a body because Paul elsewhere says that Christ was “made in the likeness of man . . . . being found in fashion as a man” (Phil. 2:7-8)…Mani forged him a body of air, because Christ is called “the Second Adam of heaven, heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:47) (Book 2, chapter 13, section 2).

You can read summaries of both of these sections at “Blogging the Institutes” from, just follow the links in the two parenthetical references in the excerpt above.

Finally, in section 4, Calvin concludes his defense of the biblically orthodox view of Christ’s full humanity (which accords with the Definition of Chalcedon), explaining how it is that Christ’s human nature could be identical to our human nature without original sin–for Calvin, it’s simple, the Holy Spirit sanctified his human nature:

The absurdities with which they wish to weigh us down are stuffed with childish calumnies. They consider it shameful and dishonorable to Christ if he were to derive his origin from men, for he could not be exempted from the common rule, which includes under sin all of Adam’s offspring without exception. But the comparison that we read in Paul readily disposes of this difficulty: “As sin came in . . . through one man, and death through sin . . . so through the righteousness of one man grace abounded” (Rom. 5:12, 18). Another comparison of Paul’s agrees with this: “The first Adam was of the earth, and earthly and natural man, the Second of the heaven, heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:47). The apostle teaches the same thing in another passage, that Christ was sent “in the likeness of sinful flesh” to satisfy the law (Rom. 8:3-4). Thus, so skillfully does he distinguish Christ from the common lot that he is true man but without fault and corruption. But they babble childishly: if Christ is free from all spot, and through the secret working of the Spirit was begotten of the seed of Mary, then woman’s seed is not unclean, but only man’s (you can hear that from many independent Baptist fundamentalists in the 21st century–I heard it all my life.) For we make Christ free of all stain not just because he was begotten of his mother without copulation with man, but because he was sanctified by the Spirit that the generation might be pure and undefiled as would have been true before Adam’s fall. And this remains for us an established fact: whenever Scripture calls our attention to the purity of Christ, it is to be understood of his true human nature, for it would have been superfluous to say that God is pure. Also, the sanctification of which John, ch. 17, speaks would have no place in divine nature (John 17:19). Nor do we imagine that Adam’s seed is twofold, even though no infection came to Christ. For the generation of man is not unclean and vicious of itself, but is so as an accidental quality arising from the Fall. No wonder, then, that Christ, through whom integrity was to be restored, was exempted from common corruption! They thrust upon us as something absurd the fact that if the Word of God became flesh, then he was confined within the narrow prison of an earthly body. This is mere impudence! For even if the Word in his immeasurable essence united with the nature of man into one person, we do not imagine that he was confined therein. Here is something marvelous:  the Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, he willed to be borne in the virgin’s womb, to go about the earth, and to hang upon the cross; yet he continuously filled the world even as he had done from the beginning!

That Christ’s human nature is equally sinless and at the same time the product of Mary’s reproductive system is easily seen in Scripture. The Spirit illumined this to my understanding by a simple reading of Luke 1:35 once I came to realize the modern fundamentalist heavenly flesh view with which I was raised had to be wrong:

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

See the word “therefore” in this verse? The former activity is the reason for the latter condition; the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing Mary in Jesus’ conception is the reason for his holiness. It’s as simple as that! Long ago, I got a grasp of the fact that names in Scripture usually reflect something of the nature or behavior of the people who bear them. In this case, the Spirit’s name is “Holy Spirit.” In short, he’s the Spirit who makes people holy. The human nature of Jesus was holy because of his conception via the Holy Spirit. And believers today are being sanctified (being made holy) by the Holy Spirit through the ordinary means of the preaching of Law and Gospel, signified and sealed to them in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.


Persecution and Slander: Both Inexcusable

One of the most effective ploys to scare Arminians and moderate Calvinists away from Calvinism is to paint John Calvin as some evil, persecuting tyrant who reigned over a theocracy of his own making in Geneva, Switzerland–twisting the facts, and omitting many other facts relevant to the unfortunate episode that was the burning of anti-trinitarian heretic, Miguel Servetus. In the following video, Reformed apologist James White sets the historical record straight by simply listing  related facts that Calvin’s critics never get around to presenting which sheds a whole new light on the incident.

Yes, Calvin was a man of his times, and the part he played in the execution of Servetus is not to be excused, however, Calvin’s 21st century critics are also men of their time, and it’s equally inexcusable to slander dead Reformers (or anyone else, for that matter).

The Devil is a Degenerate Creation of God

The following is from Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, published in its final form in 1559 (for more on Calvin and the Institutes, read this). In his summary of the originSt. Michael Expelling Lucifer and the Rebellious Angels from Heaven, c. 1622 of Satan, see if you can tell what’s conspicuous by its absence, and what Calvin writes that has some bearing on what 21st century Christians generally would expect to see here. This passage is from Book 1, chapter 14, section 16.

Yet, since the devil was created by God, let us remember that this malice, which we attribute to his nature, came not from his creation but from his perversion. For, whatever he has that is to be condemned he has derived from his revolt and fall. For this reason, Scripture warns us lest, believing that he has come forth in his present condition from God, we should ascribe to God himself what is utterly alien to him. For this reason, Christ declares that “when Satan lies, he speaks according to his own nature” and states the reason, because “he abode not in the truth” [John 8:44 p.]. Indeed, when Christ states that Satan “abode not in the truth,” he hints that he was once in it, and when he makes him “the father of lies,” he deprives him of imputing to God the fault which he brought upon himself.

But although these things are briefly and not very clearly stated, they are more than enough to clear God’s majesty of all slander. And what concern is it to us to know anything more about devils or to know it for another purpose? Some persons grumble that Scripture does not in numerous passages set forth systematically and clearly that fall of the devils, its cause, manner, time, and charater. But because this has nothing to do with us, it was better not to say anything, or at least to touch upon it lightly, because it did not befit the Holy Spirit to feed our curiosity with empty histories to no effect. And we see that the Lord’s purpose was to teach nothing in his sacred oracles except what we should learn to our edification. Therefore, lest we ourselves linger over superfluous matters, let us be content with this brief summary of the nature of devils: they were when first created angels of God, but by degeneration they ruined themselves, and became the instruments of ruin for others. Because this is profitable to know, it is plainly taught in Peter and Jude. God did not spare those angels who sinned [2 Peter 2:4] and kept not their original nature, but left their abode [Jude 6]. And Paul, in speaking of the “elect angels” [1 Timothy 5:21], is no doubt tacitly contrasting them with the reprobate angels.

Give up? Calvin didn’t identify the pre-fallen Satan as bearing the name Lucifer, based on Isaiah 14:12! That would be because the word Lucifer is used to translate the Hebrew word for “morning star” or “day star” in the King James Version. This was carried over from the Latin Vulgate by the King James translators. “Lucifer” was historically a name for the planet Venus, which happens to be the morning star. Besides, the passage in Isaiah is a prophecy of judgment against the King of Babylon. It’s use in reference to the chief fallen angel is allegorical at best and simply out of context at worst. Before he fell, the Lord and his angels up in heaven did not call him Lucifer as if it were his name. This was popularized in Dante’s Inferno, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. See this Wikipedia article on Lucifer, and this one on Venus for more information.

Furthermore, our eagerness to derive a portrayal of the fall of Satan in Isaiah’s passage is just the kind of  “lingering over superfluous matters” that “feed our curiosity with empty histories to no effect.” Calvin writes that things like this have “nothing to do with us” and that “the Lord’s purpose was to teach nothing in his sacred oracles except what we should learn to our edification.” Justin Taylor’s post at “Blogging the Institutes” summarizes Calvin’s remarks well (read Justin’s post here).

Therefore, class, your homework assignment is to memorize what the Bible explicitly (and actually), albeit sketchily, teaches about the fall of Satan and his angels–Jude 6. “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—”

Class dismissed.

Dad Rod on Repentance

Lutheran professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, co-host of The White Horse Inn radio show, was interviewed yesterday,

Rod is rad, he's our dad!

Rod is rad, he's our dad!

 Thursday, February 4th, on “Lutheran Public Radio,” a show called Issues, Etc. on the topic of repentance. Dr. Rosenbladt’s WHI co-hosts, Mike Horton and Kim Riddlebarger, began calling him “Dad Rod,” chiefly, I think, because it was his sense of urgency that American Evangelicalism needs to be reintroduced to the gospel, that drives the vision of their show. Among other things, revivalism has transformed American Protestant Christianity into something more akin to the medieval Roman Catholic spirituality and Anabaptistic enthusiasm  (don’t ignore this link!) than anything produced by the Protestant Reformation of the Magisterial Reformers, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli. One of the things that revivalism has “De-formed” in America is the doctrine of repentance.

The revivalist version of the doctrine of repentance is one which puts all the emphasis on the work of the believer to be sorry or contrite enough, really mean it when he repents, and shows that he’s really repented because he has actually ceased and desisted of any recurrence of the particular sinful behavior repented of. “Dad Rod” clearly and simply summarized the Reformation view of repentance from the believer’s perspective when he said . . .

“Our repentance is always imperfect and always half-hearted. . . This is preparation for believing the gospel promise (of forgiveness). . . and we do that half-heartedly, too. But God saves us in Jesus anyway.”

If you didn’t just breathe a sigh of relief, watch out! You may just be one of those dishonest people who thinks they’ve got this obedience to the Law thing down.

By the way, you can learn more pearls of wisdom from our Lutheran Dad Rod at his very own website, New Reformation Press.

Misadventures in Dutch

Shortly after Angel Contrares finished drawing the new and improved Captain Headknowledge portrait, featuring John Calvin

The "Calvijn Glossy"

The "Calvijn Glossy"

wearing Superman’s colors (see this post), and he posted it on his Facebook page, and I copied it with his permission and uploaded it to my Facebook page as well as adding it to the sidebar here, I got a surprising Facebook message from a lady in the Netherlands saying she works for a “glossy” (that’s apparently Dutch for magazine) that is planning to celebrate John Calvin’s 500th birthday (see this, that and the other post), featuring, in part, ways that Calvin is being celebrated around the world. Now, I may be mistaken, but I thought the glossy lady said she’d mail me a copy of the magazine, but I’ve yet to see it; however, I just peeked at the “Calvijnglossy” website and noticed that they’ve posted their collection of “Calvijn” images on the site. You can check it out here. Then you can click on the Captain’s image and see a full-size copy of it here.

Kinda fun, huh? I’ve never been published overseas before. Or is that Angel? Anyway, happy birthday to John “Calvijn”!

Labels, Labels, Labels!

evangelical-labelMany Christians decry the use of “labels” to identify one’s distinctive beliefs and/or practices. I find this attitude intellectually reformed-labeldishonest. Everyone’s belief and practice, or approach to determining his own autonomous belief and practice, is learned either consciously or unconciously from some prior group’s or individual’s belief and practice. Being able to identify these is not some attack on the unity we have in Christ, but when used with a good and accepting attitude, it’s a way to know your brother or sister in Christ. And if you know your friend, you can love him better.

My personal attitude about labels can be likened to the way all you sports fans out there view your teams. Sure, there’s a little competition between teams, and maybe an animated discussion about your team’s strengths and the other teams’ weaknesses, but it’s all in fun. That’s the attitude I like to retain about our various distinctives. Everyone should just relax, and have a good time in the Lord, for cryin’ out loud!

Anyway, I bring all of this up simply to introduce one of R. Scott Clark’s entries in his live blogging of the Calvin’s Legacy Conference from Westminster Seminary California. Dr. Clark answers a question about the difference between the labels “Calvinist” and “Reformed.” You can read his interesting answer here. ” But in the meantime, he shares some history that reveals the origin and significance of other labels like “Lutheran,” “Evangelical,” and “Protestant.” It’s a good, short read.

calvinist-label1Now all you guys who admit to your own labels, remember to play fair! 🙂 If you like what you read, there’s plenty more where that came from. You can subscribe to the Calvin’s Legacy Conference RSS Feed and it’ll come to you, you won’t have to go get it!

You Have Not Because You Ask Not!

Introducing the All-New Captain Headknowledge!
Introducing the All-New Captain Headknowledge!

Professional Clown Caricaturist, Angel Contreras is from Chicago, and he’s here to help! The beautiful new portrait of Captain Headknowledge you see to the right was a gift from the immensely talented artist whose artwork some of you may have noticed enhancing James White’s Alpha & Omega Ministries website ( Well, you know, email is indeed one of God’s good gifts in this new electronic media! Need I say more?

The reason I asked in the first place was because the picture I’ve been using is not my own creation. I found it somewhere on the web and saved it, once upon a time. For a while I tried to design my own Captain Headknowledge character, but never could come up with anything original, so I broke down and added that picture to my sidebar, to give the character a face. It was a perfect fit, but I didn’t quite feel right using someone else’s art without their knowledge or permission. That’s why I recently asked Angel to come up with a version that I could truly claim as the real Captain Headknowledge. I actually did originally offer to pay, but he replied that if I let him do it on the side on his own timetable, he would do it for free. I didn’t argue with his wisdom for long, as you can tell.
Now, this is not a suggestion that you should inundate my friend with requests for free art! He is a professional, after all. But I did want to display his generosity and thank him publicly for being willing to be such a blessing to a poor, little blogger in the shallow end of the blogosphere! I have to run off to church, now, but soon, you will not only see this picture in a post, but it will be replacing the old Captain Headknowledge portrait in the sidebar, until I learn how to do more creative things with the banner atop my blog.
Thanks again, Angel! You’re my artistic HERO!!!

Calvinism, Coming to a Young Christian Near You!

Click image to purchase at WTS Books

There’s a book out chronicling the resurgence of Calvinism among the, pardon the expression (keep in mind, I’m using it correctly), emerging generation of teens, twenty-, and thirty-somethings (including myself) who are disillusioned with the shallow theology and over-emphasis on you name it, revivalism, pietism, experientialism, commercialism of the twentieth century. As you know, the list of misguided varieties could go on.

So many of us who’ve grown up as a either a fundamentalist or evangelical Christian have come to the conclusion that what is needed is for the church to get back to the basics of what it means to be a Christian. The basics of Christianity as understood in a broader way than just re-examining my Bible and reconstructing my own version of what I think is the clear teaching of Scripture regarding faith and practice (which is what most of the previous generation think it means to get back to the basics).

Such a tactic is part of the problem–it’s too self-centered and individualistic and often far too reductionistic. It’s not a matter of just throwing out current traditions and starting over with a clean slate. It’s not about reinventing the wheel–those are the kinds that never turn out round. What I’m talking about is getting on the right track–yes, the most biblical track, the most Christian track, the most Protestant track, the most truly evangelical track–a track I didn’t lay myself, but was laid by the faithful followers of Christ who genuinely changed the world in their generation as did the first century apostolic generation.

What generation am I talking about? I’m talking about the generation that laid the tracks of conservative evangelical, confessionally Reformed, Christ-centered Protestant theology. The generation identified in the history books as the Reformers.

I read once that Socrates is known for saying, “Sometimes regress is progress.” The bill of goods that we were sold in the 20th century told us that what’s happening now is better than what happened back then. The present is always preferable to the past. The new is more relevant than the old. Well, some of us have learned that sticking “new and improved” on something doesn’t mean a thing. Some of us have learned that if conservative evangelical, or fundamentalist Christianity is going to make any progress, we’re going to have to regress back to a time when things were genuinely being done right and learn from both their successes and mistakes, receiving the faith in tact as handed down by them and not as re-imagined by modern philosophical influences, be they pragmatism, modernism or post-modernism. Progress will only come through this kind of regress.

Second Timothy 2:2 puts it best: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” But lots of people are entrusting lots of things to lots of “faithful men.” Which version of Christianity is best? There’s a number of us in this new generation who are firmly convinced that what the apostolic churches passed on to faithful men who led the post-apostolic generation, got deformed in the medieval era and was reformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is the “basics” to which the 21st Century generation of Christians needs to get back to. So much that has transpired since the Reformation era leaves so much to be desired that we don’t trust much of it at all. That’s why we’re turning to Calvinism, also known as Reformed theology.

Journalist Collin Hansen has written Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists. It tells our story. Martin Downes has reviewed the book over at Read all about it, then find your place in the 21st Century Reformation.

Righteousness Apart From Law

The Righteousness From God Apart From Law 

John Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 3:21-22

21. But now without the law, etc. It is not certain for what distinct reason he calls that the righteousness of God, which we obtain by faith; whether it be, because it can alone stand before God, or because the Lord in his mercy confers it on us. As both interpretations are suitable, we contend for neither. This righteousness then, which God communicates to man, and accepts alone, and owns as righteousness, has been revealed, he says, without the law, that is without the aid of the law; and the law is to be understood as meaning works; for it is not proper to refer this to its teaching, which he immediately adduces as bearing witness to the gratuitous righteousness of faith. Some confine it to ceremonies; but this view I shall presently show to be unsound and frigid. We ought then to know, that the merits of works are excluded. We also see that he blends not works with the mercy of God; but having taken away and wholly removed all confidence in works, he sets up mercy alone.

It is not unknown to me, that Augustine gives a different explanation; for he thinks that the righteousness of God is the grace of regeneration; and this grace he allows to be free, because God renews us, when unworthy, by his Spirit; and from this he excludes the works of the law, that is, those works, by which men of themselves endeavor, without renovation, to render God indebted to them. (Deum promereri — to oblige God.) I also well know, that some new speculators proudly adduce this sentiment, as though it were at this day revealed to them. But that the Apostle includes all works without exception, even those which the Lord produces in his own people, is evident from the context.

For no doubt Abraham was regenerated and led by the Spirit of God at the time when he denied that he was justified by works. Hence he excluded from man’s justification not only works morally good, as they commonly call them, and such as are done by the impulse of nature, but also all those which even the faithful can perform.  Professor Hodge very justly observes, “It never was the doctrine of the Reformation, or of the Lutheran and Calvinistic divines, that the imputation of righteousness affected the moral character of those concerned. It is true,” he adds, “whom God justifies he also sanctifies; but justification is not sanctification, and the imputation of righteousness is not the infusion of righteousness.” — Ed. Again, since this is a definition of the righteousness of faith, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven,” there is no question to be made about this or that kind of work; but the merit of works being abolished, the remission of sins alone is set down as the cause of righteousness.

They think that these two things well agree, — that man is justified by faith through the grace of Christ, — and that he is yet justified by the works, which proceed from spiritual regeneration; for God gratuitously renews us, and we also receive his gift by faith. But Paul takes up a very different principle, — that the consciences of men will never be tranquillized until they recumb on the mercy of God alone.  “The foundation of your trust before God, must be either your own righteousness out and out, or the righteousness of Christ out and out. … If you are to lean upon your own merit, lean upon it wholly — if you are to lean upon Christ, lean upon him wholly. The two will not amalgamate together, and it is the attempt to do so, which keeps many a weary and heavy-laden inquirer at a distance from rest, and at a distance from the truth of the gospel. Maintain a clear and consistent posture. Stand not before God with one foot upon a rock and the other upon a treacherous quicksand…We call upon you not to lean so much as the weight of one grain or scruple of your confidence upon your own doings — to leave this ground entirely, and to come over entirely to the ground of a Redeemer’s blood and a Redeemer’s righteousness.” — Dr. Chalmers Hence, in another place, after having taught us that God is in Christ justifying men, he expresses the manner, — “by not imputing to them their sins.” In like manner, in his Epistle to the Galatians, he puts the law in opposition to faith with regard to justification; for the law promises life to those who do what it commands, (Galatians 3:12) and it requires not only the outward performance of works, but also sincere love to God. It hence follows, that in the righteousness of faith, no merit of works is allowed. It then appears evident, that it is but a frivolous sophistry to say, that we are justified in Christ, because we are renewed by the Spirit, inasmuch as we are the members of Christ, — that we are justified by faith, because we are united by faith to the body of Christ, — that we are justified freely, because God finds nothing in us but sin.

But we are in Christ because we are out of ourselves; and justified by faith, because we must recumb on the mercy of God alone, and on his gratuitous promises; and freely, because God reconciles us to himself by burying our sins. Nor can this indeed be confined to the commencement of justification, as they dream; for this definition — “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven” — was applicable to David, after he had long exercised himself in the service of God; and Abraham, thirty years after his call, though a remarkable example of holiness, had yet no works for which he could glory before God, and hence his faith in the promise was imputed to him for righteousness; and when Paul teaches us that God justifies men by not imputing their sins, he quotes a passage, which is daily repeated in the Church. Still more, the conscience, by which we are disturbed on the score of works, performs its office, not for one day only, but continues to do so through life. It hence follows that we cannot remain, even to death, in a justified state, except we look to Christ only, in whom God has adopted us, and regards us now as accepted. Hence also is their sophistry confuted, who falsely accuse us of asserting, that according to Scripture we are justified by faith only, while the exclusive word only, is nowhere to be found in Scripture. But if justification depends not either on the law, or on ourselves, why should it not be ascribed to mercy alone? and if it be from mercy only, it is then by faith only.

The particle now may be taken adversatively, and not with reference to time; as we often use now for but. “The words but now may be regarded merely as marking the transition from one paragraph to another, or as a designation of tense; now, i.e., under the gospel dispensation. In favor of this view is the phrase, “to declare at this time his righteousness (Romans 3:26) .” — Hodge But if you prefer to regard it as an adverb of time, I willingly admit it, so that there may be no room to suspect an evasion; yet the abrogation of ceremonies alone is not to be understood; for it was only the design of the Apostle to illustrate by a comparison the grace by which we excel the fathers. Then the meaning is, that by the preaching of the gospel, after the appearance of Christ in the flesh, the righteousness of faith was revealed. It does not, however, hence follow, that it was hid before the coming of Christ; for a twofold manifestation is to be here noticed: the first in the Old Testament, which was by the word and sacraments; the other in the New, which contains the completion of ceremonies and promises, as exhibited in Christ himself: and we may add, that by the gospel it has received a fuller brightness.

Being proved [or approved] by the testimony “Testimonio comprobata,” etc., so Beza and Pareus render μαρτυρουμένη; “Being attested,” Doddridge; “Being testified,” Macknight Schleusner gives a paraphrase, “Being predicted and promised;” and this no doubt is the full meaning. — Ed. etc. He adds this, lest in the conferring of free righteousness the gospel should seem to militate against the law. As then he has denied that the righteousness of faith needs the aid of the law, so now he asserts that it is confirmed by its testimony. If then the law affords its testimony to gratuitous righteousness, it is evident that the law was not given for this end, to teach men how to obtain righteousness by works. Hence they pervert it, who turn it to answer any purpose of this kind. And further, if you desire a proof of this truth, examine in order the chief things taught by Moses, and you will find that man, being cast from the kingdom of God, had no other restoration from the beginning than that contained in the evangelical promises through the blessed seed, by whom, as it had been foretold, the serpent’s head was to be bruised, and through whom a blessing to the nations had been promised: you will find in the commandments a demonstration of your iniquity, and from the sacrifices and oblations you may learn that satisfaction and cleansing are to be obtained in Christ alone.  Concurrent with what is said here is this striking and condensed passage from Scott, — “It has been witnessed by the law and the Prophets; the ceremonies typified it; the very strictness of the moral law and its awful curses, being compared with the promises of mercy to sinners, implied it; the promises and predictions of the Messiah bore witness to it; the faith and hope of ancient believers recognized it; and the whole Old Testament, rightly understood, taught men to expect and depend on it.” — Ed. When you come to the Prophets you will find the clearest promises of gratuitous mercy. On this subject see my Institutes.

22. Even the righteousness of God, etc.   The words which follow, “by or through the faith of Jesus Christ,” mean not the faith which is his, but the faith of which he is the object. They ought to be rendered “through faith in Jesus Christ.” The genitive case has often this meaning: “Εχετε πίστιν Θεοῦ — Have faith in (of) God,” (Mark 11:22); “Εν πίστει ζῶ τὟ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ — I live by the faith of the Son of God;” [Galatians 2:20;] it should be in our language, “I live by faith in the Son of God.” This genitive case of the object is an Hebraism, and is of frequent occurrence. — Ed. He shows in few words what this justification is, even that which is found in Christ and is apprehended by faith. At the same time, by introducing again the name of God, he seems to make God the founder, (autorem, the author,) and not only the approver of the righteousness of which he speaks; as though he had said, that it flows from him alone, or that its origin is from heaven, but that it is made manifest to us in Christ.

When therefore we discuss this subject, we ought to proceed in this way: First, the question respecting our justification is to be referred, not to the judgment of men, but to the judgment of God, before whom nothing is counted righteousness, but perfect and absolute obedience to the law; which appears clear from its promises and threatenings: if no one is found who has attained to such a perfect measure of holiness, it follows that all are in themselves destitute of righteousness. Secondly, it is necessary that Christ should come to our aid; who, being alone just, can render us just by transferring to us his own righteousness. You now see how the righteousness of faith is the righteousness of Christ. When therefore we are justified, the efficient cause is the mercy of God, the meritorious is Christ, the instrumental is the word in connection with faith.  The original is this, “Ut ergo justificemur, causa efficiens est misericordia Dei, Christus materia, verbum cum fide instrumentum — When therefore we are justified, the efficient cause is God’s mercy, Christ is the material, the word with faith is the instrument.” — Ed. Hence faith is said to justify, because it is the instrument by which we receive Christ, in whom righteousness is conveyed to us. Having been made partakers of Christ, we ourselves are not only just, but our works also are counted just before God, and for this reason, because whatever imperfections there may be in them, are obliterated by the blood of Christ; the promises, which are conditional, are also by the same grace fulfilled to us; for God rewards our works as perfect, inasmuch as their defects are covered by free pardon.

Unto all and upon all  Εἰς πάντας και ἐπι πάντας. He makes a similar difference in his expressions in verse 30. This righteousness, as some say, came to the Jews, as it had been promised to them, and upon the Gentiles, as a gift with which they were not acquainted, and it was conferred on them. But the possession was equal and belonged to all who believed, and to none else, whether Jews or Gentiles.
   Stuart connects these words with “manifested,” or revealed, in verse 21. It is manifested to all, and manifested for all; that is, for the real benefit of all who believe; in other words, it is offered to all, but becomes of real advantage only to those who believe. But the simpler mode is to consider the words, which is, as in our version, to be understood. ‘Ερχομένη is the word which Luther adopts. — Ed.
etc. For the sake of amplifying, he repeats the same thing in different forms; it was, that he might more fully express what we have already heard, that faith alone is required, that the faithful are not distinguished by external marks, and that hence it matters not whether they be Gentiles or Jews.

Objections to Wine Use Answered

The following is an excerpt from Keith A. Mathison’s book, Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, copyright 2002, P&R Publishing.

Because the substitution of grape juice for wine in the Lord’s Supper has now become the standard practice in many American evangelical churches, many theologians within those communions have found it necessary to justify the change. In this section, we shall address some of the specific objections offered by representative theologians, as well as some other potential objections to the use of wine.

The prominent Baptist theologian A. H. Strong expresses a common objection made by those who have substituted grape juice for wine. He writes, “Although the wine which Jesus poured out was doubtless the ordinary fermented juice of the grape, there is nothing in the symbolism of the ordinance which forbids the use of unfermented juice of the grape,–obedience to the command ‘This do in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19) requires only that we should use the ‘fruit of the vine.’ ” (Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1970), 960.) Several points may be raised in response to this argument. First, it should be noted that Strong himself admits that wine was “doubtless” the drink that Jesus used. Second, if we are required to use the “fruit of the vine,” we are required to use wine because, in the context of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, fruit of the vine was a synonym for wine.

Another Baptist theologian, William W. Stevens, presents a similar line of argument in his book Doctrines of the Christian Religion:

The bread used by Jesus was doubtless the unleavened bread of
the Passover meal, as the wine he used was doubtless the fermented
juice of the grape. But this does not mean that we must
of necessity use unleavened bread, nor does it mean that we cannot
use the unfermented juice of the grape. Unleavened bread
is what Jesus had at hand, and his phrase “fruit of the vine” in
Matthew 26:29 would include unfermented juice as well. The
bread and the cup are symbolical only. To insist on literalism
would be tantamount to legalism (William W. Stevens,
Doctrines of the Christian Religion (Nashville: Broadman, 1967), 344.)

Here again we observe that the author in question admits that it is “doubtless” that Jesus himself used wine instead of grape juice. If this is admitted to be the case, the real question is why the author would even desire to change it in the first place. Stevens is simply incorrect when he asserts that the phrase “fruit of the vine” in the context of Matthew 26:29 would include unfermented grape juice as well as wine. In the context of the Passover meal, the phrase “fruit of the vine” was a liturgical term used as a synonym for wine. Finally, the comparison that Stevens makes between leavened and unleavened bread and wine and grape juice overlooks one big difference between the two. Leavened bread is still bread, but grape juice is not wine.

The most influential evangelical Baptist theologian today is Millard Erickson. Like Strong and Stevens before him, he too attempts to justify the substitution of grape juice for wine:

What elements we decide to use in celebrating the Lord’s Supper
will depend, at least in part, upon whether our chief concern is
to duplicate the original conditions as closely as possible or to
capture the symbolism of the sacrament . . . . With respect to
the cup, duplication of the original event would call for wine. . . .
If, on the other hand, representation of the blood of Christ is the
primary consideration, then grape juice will suffice equally well . . . .
Suitability to convey the meaning, not similarity to the original
circumstances, is what is important as far as the elements are
concerned (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids:
Baker, 1985), 1125.)

This argument raises a number of important objections that must be noted. First, we are not arguing for duplication, but for obedience. If bread and wine were the elements that Christ ordained to be used, then we have no more right to change them than we have to use something instead of water in baptism. Second, the argument of Erickson (and of Strong and Stevens) changes when the subject is baptism. When discussing baptism, Baptists such as Erickson typically argue from the example of Christ. They insist that early baptism was administered only by means of immersion (This is a questionable assertion, but arguments about the meaning and mode of baptism are beyond the scope of this book. For a concise presentation of the arguments against the view that immersion was or is the only proper mode of baptism, see Jay Adams, The Meaning and Mode of Baptism (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R, 1992).) They argue that we must duplicate the baptismal mode that Jesus used. Yet in the case of the Lord’s Supper, they say that only the most basic symbolism need be preserved. But if basic symbolism is all that matters, then it would not matter whether Jesus and the apostles baptized only by means of immersion. Sprinkling and pouring would be acceptable because those modes of baptism convey the meaning of cleansing and purification just as well as immersion.

The dispensationalist Charles Ryrie takes a slightly different approach in his argument for the use of grape juice in the Lord’s Supper:

The Scriptures do not use the word “wine” in connection with
the Supper, only “the cup” or “the fruit of the vine.” Of course
it was juice from the grape, but whether fermented or not is not
stated . . . . For the sake of converted alcoholics or even to forestall
anyone beginning to drink, unfermented juice is preferable in light
of today’s worldwide problem with alcohol (Charles C. Ryrie,
Basic Theology (Wheaton: Victor, 1986), 425.)

There are a number of problems with Ryrie’s argument. First, the word wine does not need to be used when the phrase fruit of the vine is itself a Jewish liturgical term for wine. Second, Ryrie’s argument leave the impression that Jesus may have used grape juice. Since the Lord’s Supper was instituted during a normal Pasover meal in which wine was unquestionably used, such a suggestion is very misleading. As the Baptist theologians Strong and Stevens admit, there is not doubt that Jesus was using wine.

The argument that we should use grape juice instead of wine for the sake of converted alcoholics and because of today’s worldwide alcohol problem simply doesn’t follow. Drunkenness was as much of a problem in biblical times as it is today. Otherwise, why would there be so many biblical condemnations of this sin? Yet, in spite of the fact that drunkenness was a problem even in the first century, Jesus did not hesitate to institute the Lord’s Supper using wine. In addition, the apostle Paul encountered drunkenness in the observance of the Lord’s Supper at Corinth (1 Cor. 11:21). Aside from the fact that it would have been impossibel for the Corinthian Christians to get drunk if they were using grape juice, as some suggest they were, we must observe that Paul did not correct this abuse by advocating the nonuse of wine. Instead, he called for the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper. If alcoholism is a real problem today, it was a real problem in Jesus’ day. Human physiology has not changed drastically in two thousand years. But in spite of the fact that drunkenness was a problen, and in spite of the fact that human beings face the same kinds of temptations, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper with the elements of bread and wine. To suggest that the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper contributes to sinful behavior is to condemn Jesus himself.

The Pentecostal theologian J. Rodman Williams provides another faulty argument against the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper:

In the three synoptic accounts of the Lord’s Supper
the content of the cup is called “the fruit of the vine”
(Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). This doubtless
was wine; however, since wine is not directly mentioned
in any of these accounts, it is irrelevant to insist
(as some do) that wine must be used. Grape juice
equally comes from “fruit of the vine”
(J. Rodman Williams, Revewal Theology
(GrandRapids: Zondervan, 1992), 3:261, n. 178.)

This argument is similar to those made by Strong, Stevens, and Erickson. Unlike their arguments, however, it contains an obvious self-contradiction. Williams says that all three accounts of the Lord’s Supper call the content of the cup “the fruit of the vine.” Then he says that “the fruit of the vine” mentioned in these accounts was doubtlessly wine. Then he contradicts himself by saying that wine is not directly mentioned in any of these accounts. If “the fruit of the vine” is directly mentioned in all three accounts, then wine is directly mentioned in all three accounts. The specific word wine need not be used, so long as an acknowledged synonym for wine is used. It is not irrelevant, therefore, to argue that wine should be used in the Lord’s Supper.

While it is not irrelevant to argue that wine should be used, it is entirely irrelevant to point out, as Williams does, that grape juice comes from the fruit of the vine and is therefore also permissible. Many fruits and berries grow on vines. If Williams’ argument is valid, why limit ourselves to the juice of grapes? Williams himself does not reject the use of wine simply because he believes grape juice also falls under the biblical meaning of the phrase the fruit of the vine. This is evident when we see his suggestion that beverages such as milk and tea are also permissible (Ibid.). Milk and tea most certainly do not come from “the fruit of the vine.” Williams’ entire argument simply ignores the special Jewish liturgical usage of the phrase fruit of the vine. In the context of the Passover meal, the phrase meant “wine,” not any fruit that happened to grow on vines or the juice that could be derived from those fruits. To argue in the manner that Williams argues is to ignore the historical and grammatical context of Jesus’ words.

Not one of the theologians we have cited presents a cogent argument for the rejection of wine and the substitution of grape juice in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. The most that these authors have attempted to prove is that the use of wine is an indifferent matter, but the manner in which they have made this argument would work equally as well against the use of water in baptism. All but one of these authors readily admit that Jesus himself used wine at the first Lord’s Supper, yet their arguments assume that the church can reject its use without providing any biblical reason for doing so.

There are other arguments against the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper that these theologians do not pursue in any detail. For example, some argue that we should not use wine in the Lord’s Supper because any use of alcohol is a sin. As we have seen, this was one of the fundamental arguments of the temperance movement. But it is not based on a shred of biblical or historical evidence. More importantly, it directly contradicts the explicit teaching of the Bible. According to Scripture, wine is a good gift of God to be used in moderation. The abuse of this good gift, like the abuse of any gift from God, is condemned as sin, but the use of wine itself is not condemned as sin anywhere in Scripture.

Another argument against the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper is based on the idea that there are potential alcoholics who would be hurt by this practice. Those who make this argument say that some people are born with a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism. If they were to drink even a small amount of wine at the Lord’s Supper, it could lead them to become alcoholics. This argument, like the previous one, rests upon faulty presuppositions. In the first place, God has revealed in his Word that drunkenness is a sin, a moral and ethical failure, not a physiological or genetic defect. It is an act of disobedience to God.

Ironically, those evangelicals who use this argument have adopted some of the basic assumptions of liberal theology by taking something that God calls “sin” and implying that it is a “disease.” This removes the responsibility for the sin from the person involved. Secondly, this argument implies that Jesus did something wrong when he instituted the Lord’s Supper with wine. If there are people with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism now, there were people with the same disposition at the time of Jesus. Yet Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana and used wine at the first Lord’s Supper. Then he commanded that this sacrament be celebrated until he returns. If there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that is triggered by the use of even the smallest amount of wine, then Jesus is responsible for turning many people during the last two thousand years into alcoholics.

Other arguments against the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper are based on passages like Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 6:17, and 1 Thessalonians 5:22, where Christians are told to be separate from the world and to abstain from any appearance of evil. The use of such passages as an argument against the use of wine is based on the faulty premise that the use of alcohol is worldly or evil. If this were true, Jesus himself would be guilty of acting in a worldly manner. Jesus drank wine. He made wine. He gave wine to others. Any one of these activities would be labeled sinful by many modern American churches. But they are not sinful. To abstain from all appearance of evil means to abstain from every form and appearance of real sin, not the activity labeled “sin” by modern-day legalists. In any case, it is simply impossible to suggest that a sacrament of the church instituted by Christ himself has the appearance of evil.

Some argue that while wine is used regularly in many cultures, it should not be used in ours because in our culture the use of alcoholic beverages carries different connotations. Therefore, Christians who desire to maintain a credible witness to our culture should not use wine in the Lord’s Supper. However, our obedience to Christ cannot be compromised in order to conform the church to the standards of our culture. The culture is to be conformed to Christ, not the other way around. The problem at the heart of this argument can be readily seen if we examine its effect on areas not related to the Lord’s Supper. In our culture, for example, homosexuality has gradually become more and more acceptable. In order to “maintain a credible witness” to this culture, many Christian churches now ordain homosexuals to the ministry. In addition, many churches refuse to declare what the word of God says about this sin. Is this a credible witness to our culture?

The fact that many in our culture abuse God’s good gifts does not mean that the church must abstain from those things altogether. The church’s response should be to demonstrate the right use of God’s gifts. God’s good gift of sex is abused everywhere in our culture today. The church’s response should not be celibacy. The church maintains a credible witness to the culture by demonstrating the rightful use of that gift within the context of marriage. God’s gift of wine is everywhere abused by drunkards. The church maintains a credible witness by thankfully accepting this gift from God and using it moderately in the way that God intended it to be used. It does not glorify God to abstain from every gift of his that is abused by unbelievers in the culture around us. This would be impossible anyway, since unbelievers abuse everything that God has given us.

A final argument that has been made against the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper is based on the “weaker brother” principle found in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. According to this argument, it may be technically permissible to use wine, but since many Christians believe it to be a sin, we should abstain from using it in the Lord’s Supper lest we offend these “weaker brethren.” Several observations are in order. In the first place, Paul himself says in these passages that eating meat and drinking wine in and of themselves are indifferent matters (cf. Rom. 14:14, 20). They are sinful only when done in a specific religious context, namely idol worship. Second, if these passages imply that we should permanently abstain from drinking wine, they would equally imply that we should permanently abstain from eating meat (cf. Rom. 14:21). Yet very few strict prohibitionists are also vegetarians.

The primary teaching of these passages is that we should put love for our brothers in Christ ahead of any concern for our “rights.” However, the elders of the church have a responsibility to help “weaker brothers” grow to maturity. They are not to allow “weaker brothers” to remain weak indefinitely. Most importantly for our purposes, it must be observed that nothing in these passages has any bearing on the observance of the Lord’s Supper. However else these passages are used, they cannot be used to negate or change the sacraments instituted by Christ. Even if every other use of alcohol is voluntarily given up for the sake of weak consciences, the church cannot allow this argument to be used as an excuse to change the Lord’s Supper.


Because of the irrefutable fact that wine was used by Jesus in the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and because the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper was an undisputed practice for the first 1,800 years of the church’s existence, a heavy burden of proof rests upon those who have substituted grape juice for wine. After reviewing some of the most commonly heard objections to the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper, we are forced to conclude that this burden of proof has not been met. In fact, there has never even been an attempt to meet this burden of proof in many of the churches that have made this change. There is simply no legitimate reason for replacing wine with grape juice in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The Church’s Witness to the Responsible Use of Wine

My last two posts dealt with Scripture’s testimony to the responsible use of wine, both socially and in the context of worship. Most nowadays would be satisfied to stop there and hear no more, but let us be reminded that Scripture does not speak to us in a vacuum. We receive its testimony through the teaching ministry of the church, and over the millennia, plenty has been said. Let’s consider that which Keith Mathison has brought together for us in this excerpt from his very informative book, Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.

The Testimony of the Church

We have already mentioned that wine was universally used by the entire church for the first 1,800 years of her existence. During those years, there was never any suggestion that another drink should be used. In the early church, for example, we find clear testimony to the use of wine by such men as Justin Martyr (The First Apology, 65) and Clement of Alexandria (The Instructor, 2.2). In the eighth century, the Synod of Constantinople bore witness to the continued use of wine in the Lord’s Super (See John H. Leith, ed., Creeds of the Churches, 3d ed. {Louisville: John Knox, 1982}, 55.).

At the time of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, there were disagreements over virtually every other issue related to the sacraments, but there was no disagreement over the use of wine. All of the churches continued to teach that bread and wine are the proper elements to be used in the Lord’s Supper. Martin Luther taught this in his Small Catechism of 1529, and the Lutheran church continued to teach it in the Augsburg Confession (art. 10). The Anglican Church taught the use of actual bread and wine in the Thirty-nine Articles (art. 28). Even the Anabaptists continued to teach this in the Dordrecht Confession of 1632 (art. 10).

In the Reformed branch of the church, the use of wine was taught and practiced by John Calvin (Calvin, Institutes, 4.17.1). It was also taught in the great sixteenth-century Reformed confessions, such as the Belgic Confession (art. 35), the Heidelberg Catechism (Q. 79), and the Second Helvetic Confession (chap. 19). The use of wine is also clearly taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. This Confession teaches that Jesus has appointed his ministers to “bless the elements of bread and wine” (29.3). The Larger Catechism repeatedly declares that the elements of the Lord’s Supper are bread and wine (Qq. 168-69, 177). Every Reformed theologian from the time of Calvin forward taught that bread and wine were the proper elements to be used in the Lord’s Supper. This teaching is found in the writings of

Robert Bruce (Robert Bruce, The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper, trans. Thomas F. Torrance {1590-91; reprint, London: James Clarke, 1958}, 43, 76.),

William Ames (William Ames, The Marrow of Theology, trans. John Dykstra Eusden {Durham, N. C.: Labyrinth Press, 1983}, 212),

Francis Turretin (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James t. Dennison Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R, 1992-97), 3:429),

Wilhelmus a Brakel (Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout {Morgan, Pa.: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1992-94}, 2:528),

Jonathan Edwards (Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards {Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1974}, 1:458),

Herman Witsius (Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man {Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R, 1990}, 2:449-50),

Charles Hodge (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology {Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989}, 3:616),

A. A. Hodge (A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology {1879; reprint, Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1972}, 633-34)

Robert L. Dabney (Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology {Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1985}, 801),

W. G. T. Shedd (W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology {Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d.}, 2:573),

B. B. Warfield (B. B. Warfield, “The Fundamental Significance of the Lord’s Supper,” in Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield–I, ed. John E. Meeter {Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970}, 333),

John Murray (John Murray, The Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 2 {Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1976}, 366, 369),

and Louis Berkhof (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th ed. {Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996}, 617), among many others.

The use of wine in the Lord’s Supper not only is unanimously taught by all the Reformed theologians and confessions from the sixteenth century forward, but also is explicitly taught in modern Presbyterian directories of worship. The Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America, for example, is clear in its teaching that the proper elements to be used in the Lord’s Supper are bread and wine:

The table, on which the elements are placed, being decently covered,
and furnished with bread and wine, and the communicants
orderly and gravely sitting around it (or in their seats before it),
the elders in a convenient place together, the minister should
then set the elements apart by prayer and thanksgiving. (58-5 [emphasis added])

The Presbyterian Church in America’s directory of worship is in perfect agreement with her doctrinal standards. Both the Confessions and The Book of Church Order clearly declare that the proper elements to be used in the Lord’s Supper are bread and wine, not bread and grape juice.

It may come as a surprise to some, but even the great theologians and confessions of faith in the historic Baptist church taught that bread and wine were the proper elements to be used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Great Baptist theologians such as

John Gill (John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity {reprint, Paris, Ariz.: Baptist Standard Bearer, 1987}, 918),

John L. Dagg (John L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order {reprint, Bridgewater, Va.: Sprinkle Publications, 1998}, 208-9),

and James Petigru Boyce (James Petigru Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology {Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R, 1996}, xxiii),

all taught that wine was to be used in the Lord’s Supper. The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 closely follows the wording of the Westminster Confession of Faith when it says, “The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine” (30.3). The Southern Baptist Abstract of Principles of 1859 says, “The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ to be administered with the elements of bread and wine . . . ” (art. 16). Even the Baptist Faith and Message, written in 1925, long after the beginning of the temperance movement, declares that bread and wine are to be used in the Lord’s Supper (art. 13) (cf. Leith, Creeds of the Churches, 348).

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the use of wine in the Lord’s supper was simply a nonissue for Christians. Agreement on the matter was so universal that most confessions and theologians in the history of the church mention the subject in passing, as if they are simply stating the obvious. They do not even bother to present arguments for the use of wine because no one had ever suggested that anything else be used. They consider the use of wine in the Lord’s Supper to be as biblically self-evident as the use of wate in baptism. The nineteenth-century theologians, such as the Presbyterian A. A. Hodge and the Baptist John L. Dagg, who were the first to be confronted with the question, were adamant in their refusal to change the elements of the Lord’s Supper in order to pacify the legalistice spirit of the age.

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