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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Abstract

VAN ALTEN, Erik. "... they had all things in common": Calvin's exposition of the community of goods in some key texts in Acts. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.2, pp.181-196. ISSN 2412-4265.

In an interesting text that has survived as the result of one of their regular Friday meetings (congrégations), the pastors of Geneva officially declared their position on the sensitive issue of the community of goods. After close examination it is clear that Calvin's own position on this matter is completely in line with the pastors' declaration. In this article Calvin's commentary and sermons on Acts 2:43-45, 4:32-37 and 5:1-6, in which he elaborates on his position, are investigated. During the Reformation these passages were deemed key texts regarding this issue. In his discussion of these passages, Calvin positions himself against the attitudes and actions of four groups, namely the Anabaptists, the rich (of Geneva), the poor, and the monks. These four groups, drawn from his own context, represent the extreme positions which Calvin seeks to avoid. In order to find the via media between these extremes, Calvin identifies four important concepts in Scripture that shape his own view on this matter. These are love, order, ability and need. They are intricately connected and give Calvin's position the balance he strived for.

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