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Sola Dei Gloria

The Glory of God in the Thought of John Calvin


Billy Kristanto

The study examines the understanding of the glory of God in the thought of John Calvin. The examination is carried out from the historical observation in the first part and the systematic evaluation in the second part. The author describes the development of the concept of gloria Dei in Calvin’s Institutes as well as its significant role as a counterpart to the major Christian doctrines. Following a survey of the historical background, the presence of gloria Dei in the first, second, and last editions of the Institutes is discussed. In the systematic part, the concept of gloria Dei is analyzed in the context of its dynamic presence throughout the central doctrines such as the doctrine of creation, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology. The systematic evaluation shows that gloria Dei is one of the loudest cantus firmi in Calvin’s theological composition.


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Writing another Calvin study after the flood of publications on Calvin in 2009 seems to be unwise decision. Yet, I take the risk to present a work on Calvin even from the perspective of an old theme: the gloria Dei. As the above quota- tions already showed, understanding Calvin’s theology from the point of view of gloria Dei is not new at all. However, the thesis that the idea of gloria Dei has played a significant role in Calvin’s theological thought should be examined both in chronological and systematic-theological approach. Far from trying to be the comprehensive study on the subject, this work will humbly track the develop- ment of the idea of gloria Dei from three important editions of the Institutes while examining how deep gloria Dei has infused Calvin’s theological thought. This present study was accepted as a dissertation in the winter semester 2010/11 of the Theological Faculty of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidel- berg. It could not have been written without various supports by numerous insti- tutions and individuals, which I owe debt of thanks here. I would like to especially thank Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Welker for his patient, encouraging, and critical trust in the gradual making of this work. For the second examiner I thank Prof. Dr. Christoph Strohm, who has inspired me to further deepen my knowledge on reformational theologies. Special gratitude are also due to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong and the congregation of the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia for supporting and patiently waiting...

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