Original Research

Gewetebinding, Calvyn en die viering van die Nagmaal

B.J. de Klerk
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 34, No 3 | a600 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v34i3.600 | © 2000 B.J. de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 August 2000 | Published: 15 August 2000

About the author(s)

B.J. de Klerk, Skool vir Kerkwetenskappe, Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir CHO, South Africa

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Binding of the conscience, Calvin and the celebration of Holy Communion

The context in which Scripture uses “conscience” determines the underlying relation of binding the conscience, freedom in Christ and essential and moderate matters. The Holy Spirit enables the conscience to discern which matters are essential and the believer receives the freedom (authority) in Christ not to be bound by moderate matters. Instances in which Scripture does not present a direct opinion and where it is doubtful whether a matter would indeed be essential or moderate, the conscience must not be bound, and the believer must be allowed to make a judgement of conscience by virtue of the gift of freedom in Christ, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For Calvin essential things are the dual unity of the Word and Holy Communion, the presence of Christ in Holy Communion, the sursum corda, and eating and drinking Christ with the Spirit through faith (cf. Confessio Belgica, art. 35). Moderate matters are external procedures, traditions elevated to principles, but even many more important aspects, such as the frequency of partaking of Holy Communion. Although Calvin provides Scriptural evidence for these aspects, he does not bind the conscience of others, as other conclusions could also be made from Scripture. Moderate matters are not of less importance and therefore Calvin leaves it to believers themselves to make their decisions on this matter by virtue of the freedom in Christ before God.


Calvin; Conscience; Essential Matters; Freedom In Christ; Holy Communion; Moderate Matters


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