A life cultivated by righteousness: Calvin’s exposition of the eighth Commandment in teaching children Dolf Britz

A life cultivated by righteousness: Calvin’s exposition of the eighth Commandment in teaching children

Dolf Britz

Abstract


Abstract

This article profiles Calvin’s elucidation of the eighth Commandment (‘You shall not steal’) in his catechetical works, thus linked to a setting determined by instruction and tuition of children. The 1537/8, the 1542/5 Catechisms as well as l’Institution puerile de la doctrine Chrestienne (1538-41) and La maniere d’interroguer les enfans (1551) are considered and related to his great pedagogical works the Institutes. In teaching children, Calvin keeps the theological framework, in which he deals with the Law in his Institutes, intact. The trajectories that he follows in his explication of the Commandment in the Institutes, also surface in his catechetical education. The emphasis shifts from the ‘fear and love of God’ (1536) to ‘God’s righteousness’ (injustice-justice) (1539) as a determining theological motive in the interpretation of the Commandment, and can also be traced in his catechetical work. Calvin, therefore, explains to children that our lives in Christ, in the righteousness of Christ, are shaped by what is prohibited and demanded by the Commandment. Because: The more clearly God’s Law reveals his righteousness, the more it unmasks our ingenuity and condemnation. And this is in his Christ. In Christ God’s countenance shines full of grace and kindness even toward poor and unworthy sinners. It is by faith that Christ is embraced and enjoyed only by believers, the children are assured, who receive Him, sent to them, who do not reject Him, given to them, who follow Him, who is calling them.

Opsomming

Hierdie artikel skets die uitleg van die agste gebod in die kategetiese werk van Calvyn, dit wil sê, hoe hy hierdie gebod (‘Jy mag nie steel nie’) binne ‘n konteks waarin kinders onderrig ontvang het, verduidelik het. Vir hierdie doeleindes is die 1537/8, die 1542/5 kategismusse asook l’Institution puerile de la doctrine Chrestienne (1538-41) enLa maniere d’interroguer les enfans (1551) oorweeg en in verband met sy groot pedagogiese werk, die Institusie, gebring. In die onderrig aan kinders hou Calvyn hom by die teologiese raamwerk waarin hy die wet in sy Institusies behandel. Die trajekte wat hy in sy verduideliking van die agste gebod volg, duik ook op in die kategetiese onderwys. Die klemverskuiwing van die ‘vrees en liefde vir God’ (1536) na die ‘geregtigheid van God’ (onreg/reg) (1539) as bepalende teologiese motief by die uitleg van die gebod, kan eweneens in sy kategetiese werk opgespoor word. Calvyn verduidelik dus vir kinders dat ons lewe in Christus, in die geregtigheid van Christus, gestalte kry in wat die gebod verbied en gebied. En die rede? Hoe helderder God se wet sy geregtigheid aan die lig bring, des te helderder ontmasker dit ons ongeregtigheid en verdoemenis. En, dit gebeur insy Christus. In Christus straal God se aangesig vol genade en ontferming uit tot selfs arme en onwaardige sondaars. Deur geloof word Christus omhels en geniet slegs deur gelowiges, verseker Calvyn die kinders, wat Hom, gestuur na hulle, ontvang, wat Hom, gegee vir hulle, nie verwerp nie, wat Hom, terwyl Hy hulle roep, volg.

 https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.82.2.2347


Keywords


Calvin, Ten Commandments, Catechetical instruction, Eighth Commandment, Theft, Social justice, Tien Gebooie, Kategetiese onderrig, Agste Gebod, Diefstal, Sosiale geregtigheid

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