This section [John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.13.4-1.13.7] could hardly be more timely since false teachers today hate nothing more than the confessional theology of the church. Why? Because it requires them to state their teachings plainly, affirming or denying clear propositions. Despite the complaints that such an approach enshrines human formulas over God’s Word, the reality is that only by means of clear confessional theology is the church able to defend the truth of Scripture.
Calvin then cautions against becoming overly devoted to mere words when it is the truth of the ideas that really matters. Terminology must be a servant of truth, never the master. Thus, Calvin relates how numerous orthodox theologians of the early church wrestled with one another in their varied approaches to terminology but were able to come to eventual accord because of the orthodoxy of their ideas. What a wealth of wisdom Calvin offers to anyone who engages in theological dispute! – Richard Phillips