Calvin and his puritan heirs on Christ’s humanity in Hebrews

  • M Jones
Keywords: John Calvin, John Owen, Puritans, Humanity of Christ, Post-reformation theology, Hebrews


John Calvin was a highly influential second-generation Reformer whose commentaries on most of the books of the Bible shaped the theology and piety of Reformed churches in successive centuries. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Calvin sets forth a Christology that often focuses on how Christ’s humanity has practical benefits for the Christian believer. With that in mind, however, his comments on Christ’s humanity lack the sophistication found in the writings of several noted Puritan theologians, such as John Owen, Tomas Goodwin, and Stephen Charnock. These Puritan theologians address questions that Calvin was either apparently unwilling to entertain in any detail or unable to give the type of rigorous analysis that we find among his Post-reformation heirs. This article will demonstrate that Calvin’s Christology paves the way for more intricate discussions of the person of Christ, and for this reason scholars should acknowledge that later Reformed theologians did not in fact jettison the so-called “Christocentricity” of Calvin, but in fact developed his Christology in ways that were more positive in order to meet the needs of emerging heresies as well as foster a more robust Christian spirituality that focuses on the benefits of Christ’s human nature for the Christian believer.