August 15, 2007

Calvin on Head and Heart Knowledge

"The next thing necessary is, that what the mind has imbibed be transferred into the heart. The word is not received in faith when it merely flutters in the brain, but when it has taken deep root in the heart, and become an invincible bulwark to withstand and repel all the assaults of temptation. But if the illumination of the Spirit is the true source of understanding in the intellect, much more manifest is his agency in the confirmation of the heart; inasmuch as there is more distrust in the heart than blindness in the mind; and it is more difficult to inspire the soul with security than to imbue it with knowledge. Hence the Spirit performs the part of a seal, sealing upon our hearts the very promises, the certainty of which was previously impressed upon our minds."

The other day in a chat room, I watched and listened to some "Calvinists" (who have been soo exceedingly humbled by the "doctrines of grace" of course--NOT!) mock another chatter for making a distinction between head and heart knowledge. I mentioned how the distinction can be seen in Jonathan Edwards and in Blaise Pascal. It just means that someone can have a mere intellectual apprehension of some truth without it impacting their affections and lives. This is why some speak of a "dead orthodoxy." So, while the distinction between head and heart knowledge can be abused by some, that does not negate the truthfulness of it. Moreover, Calvin himself makes the distinction as seen in the quote above.


Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with your assessments. I want to say that your blog has been a tremendous help. My doctrinal views are for the most identical to your own.

God Bless.

I'd love to link your blog to mine.

Tony Byrne said...

Hi Donald,

I'm glad that the content of my blog is helping you. One can never tell the impact this material is making in the lives of people, so occassional comments like yours can be very encouraging. Feel free to link to my blog, if you want to. Also, feel free to ask questions if anything is unclear.

Grace to you,

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the correspondence. With every good wish.