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Perichoresis

The Theological Journal of Emanuel University

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Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper

Wim Janse
Published Online: 2012-09-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10297-012-0007-3

Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper

In order to pinpoint its proprium, it is necessary to understand John Calvin’s Eucharistic theology within the wider context of the intra-Protestant debates of his time. As a second- generation Reformer, Calvin developed his ideas explicitly in reaction to and as a middle way between the Lutheran and Swiss Reformed discussions of the 1520’s. To that end this essay first focuses on the main developments from the Middle Ages onwards, and then presents Calvin from the perspective of the positions taken up by some of his contemporaries, in particular Philipp Melanchthon. Next, some representative texts written by Calvin himself are analysed. Although Calvin’s Eucharistic views were not from the beginning a coherent and unified doctrine but developed only gradually, they may be described in a systematic-synthetic way. With respect to the matter of closed, open, and frequent communion, it is observed that for Calvin a regular celebration is essential to the deepening of the believer’s union with Christ.

Keywords: John Calvin; the Lord’s Supper; Eucharistic theology; Reformed sacramentology; communion

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About the article


Published Online: 2012-09-20

Published in Print: 2012-06-01


Citation Information: Perichoresis, ISSN (Print) 2284-7308, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10297-012-0007-3.

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