In this episode, Wyatt and Ian discuss John Calvin’s view of the conscience. In sum, Calvin argues that governments cannot bind our consciences because they do not require us to believe things that would prevent our salvation. On the other hand, religious tyranny can bind our consciences by adding requirements to the free Gospel. Calvin here balances Christian freedom, conscience, and tyranny within Scriptural teaching.
Religious tyranny binds the conscience by preventing or impeding salvation through its law. Christian freedom, however, means that despite what happens in our life, we remain free. We can be in prison and free. Governments simply do not have the tools to bind our consciences, but they only bind us to external works. To learn more, read Calvin himself and listen to this podcast! We cover Book 4 and Chapter 10 of Calvin’s Institutes.