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Published in the Scottish Journal of Theology, 45 no 4 1992, p 465-486.


The late medieval synthesis established an understanding of the nature of the church and authority that was varied in its effects. In this context of strong ecclesiological authority, God was reckoned primarily as immanent and immediate through the papal head. Calvin asserted that Christ, as center of all true Christian reality, is the necessary focus and the preeminent authority in and to the church through the Word of God, the Scriptures. Sets forth the context of ecclesiological authority in which Calvin found himself and examine's Calvin's own response and reckoning of scriptural authority in the context of Christ's church. But for Calvin, Word authority is not some abstract principle but the means to living in and under the exalted Lord Jesus Christ. His characteristic emphasis on transcendent authority by means of the Word is set against the Catholic emphasis on a more immanent authority. Analyzes critically Calvin's reaction to Catholic authority and reflects on the two-fold issue of divine authority in the church and a real Christocentric expression of that authority. By way of correction suggests the God-and-man relation in covenant.