Calvin & the man with one Talent


“But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. And being afraid, I went and hid thy talent in the earth. Behold here thou hast that which is thine.” Matthew 25:24-25

“For our nature is not only utterly devoid of goodness, but so prolific in all kinds of evil, that it can never be idle. Those who term it concupiscence use a word not very inappropriate, provided it were added, (this, however, many will by no means concede,) that everything which is in man, from the intellect to the will, from the soul even to the flesh, is defiled and pervaded with this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that the whole man is in himself nothing else than concupiscence” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk.2, Ch.1, Sec.8

Calvin sounds a lot like the man with one coin, saying to himself, “whatever I do with this coin won’t be good enough, so I won’t do anything at all!” Indeed, the Lord deserves an infinite payback for His goodness to us, but He’d rather have us do something however small, than nothing at all. Even if all we do is ask for and receive the deposit of His grace, He will work in us to produce a few pennies of interest on that coin, which is still better than nothing.


I’m so glad I grew up Catholic and that my knowledge of Jesus and of the Catholic view of grace and redemption came through that lens. If I had been born into a Calvinist household and been taught that view of religion I probably would have stepped in front of a train long before now.


It’s incredible how the lens you see Scriptures with determines how you interpret those Scriptures. A Calvinist on another thread tells me the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats simply shows that the Sheep are the “Elect” and the Goats are the “damned”.

The Prodigal Son shows how you can live the wretched life, but if you are “Pre-Destined” for heaven, you’ve still got your golden ticket.

This is mind-blowing. It’s a good thing I wasn’t introduced to this theology when I was younger and more mindful of today’s offerings. I could have partied like it was 1999 and be assured of going to heaven. That would have produced catastrophic results.


I was brought up in the Church of Scotland, which is nominally Calvinist in its’ teachings, but had a Minister and sunday school teacher who were so liberal that for the first 17 years of my life all I understood about Christianity was that Jesus was a good man and we should try to be good like Him. :shrug:


While I am not a Calvinist, you seem to be doing what Catholics accuse Protestants of doing with the Church Fathers; taking a quote out of context.

Calvin believed in total depravity so that all the work of salvation came from God’s Grace and all glory was due to God alone. If man contributed to his own salvation it would take away some of God’s glory. But Calvin and all Calvinists have always stressed that good works must always follow regeneration and are the evidence of that regeneration.


I was an evangelical Christian all my life, but the big question I had was “Why do some really strong Christians fall away?”

I studied my Bible and on my own, deduced that God has chosen some and not others, and those who fall away aren’t “chosen.”

I didn’t realize for several years that this was “Calvinism.” I was grateful for this teaching, because it at least explained why some faithful Christians leave the faith. Evangelicalism didn’t (they said that the person was never really a Christian to begin with).

I spent a few years in a Calvinist church (Reformed Church in America) and my daughter graduated from Calvin College.

When I became Catholic, I could see that Calvinism DOES contain part of the fullness of truth, as do all the Protestant sects. St. Augustine taught the idea of “predestination,” and the mural at Calvin College actually begins with a picture of St. Augustine, which is where Calvin derived his ideas. As Catholics, we believe that everyone’s salvation is ultimately determined by GOD.


As I understand it, that’s exactly what Calvinism says. What else can the Perseverance of the Saints (the “P” in “TULIP”) mean? Any Calvinist would say of someone who fell away, “It’s clear that this person wasn’t a saint, because if he were, he would have persevered unto salvation.”



Back to the OP: Is Calvin the man who hid the talent?


No, not exactly.

In reformed theology, those who are justified will also be sanctified. The perseverance of the saints is not a license to sin.


Great, Calvinator! Now where were you when this was being debated?!?!?


I agree, Calvinator, Depravity can only really be understood in the fullness of the rest of Calvinism. In order for someone to understand how this plays out, ULIP at bare minimum must be explained…and we still aren’t at the entirety of Calvinist thinking…


As theology goes, that’s not such a bad thing. Better by far than Luther’s “sin boldly!”.



The perseverance of the saints has been discussed in this forum, and yet the objections to this teaching were not properly addressed.

God Bless,


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