Archive Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Calvin: Pastors Are Like Blind Isaac

Calvin’s commentary on Genesis 27 is full of intriguing observations, and I would like to give a more full treatment of them at a later time. But for now, this part was too good to pass up. Explaining how it is that God would use Isaac’s blindness and ignorance to transmit the blessing of the covenant, Calvin likens it to the present-day situation in the Christian Church. Pastors, it seems, are very much like Isaac!

But it thus pleased God so to perform his work by the hand of Isaac, as not to make him, who was the instrument, a willing furtherer of his design. Nor is it absurd that Isaac, like a blind man, should ignorantly transfer the blessing to a different person from him whom he intended. The ordinary function of pastors has something of a similar kind; for since by the command of God, they reconcile men to him, yet they do not discern to whom this reconciliation comes; thus they cast abroad the seed, but are uncertain respecting the fruit. Wherefore God does not place the office and power with which he has invested them, under the control of their own judgment.

So, I’ve got that going for me.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the Rector of Christ Church Anglican in South Bend, Indiana. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a founding member of the Davenant Institute.