According to Calvin when human beings follow their own opinions they cast themselves away from the “one and only God”. Calvin uses several examples from both the Old and New Testaments to support his case – the Ephesians who were without God until they learned the Gospel and worship of the true God (Ephesians 2:12-13) and the Samaritans who approached piety only in certain circumstances (John 4:22).
Calvin is concerned that both the “illustrious” and the “common” fall into this error concluding that the Holy Spirit “rejects as base all cults contrived by the will of men”. The people who constructed society and were in Calvin’s eyes “the best legislators” founded their religion upon public agreement. In support of this Calvin explains that Socrates praised the oracle of Apollo and that each man could worship in the way of his ancestors or in the style of the city in which he resides. Yet for Calvin these are poor reasons for worship – tradition and location do not make for worthy worship. It is God himself who bears witness and makes our worship worthwhile.
Is your worship moribund through tradition? Do you feel that God can only be worshipped in the style of your location?