The Extra Calvinisticum – some resources

image: A Scottish Sacrament, by Henry John Dobson (credit below)


What is the Extra Calvinisticum?


The Extra Calvinisticum is an expression which Luther used to describe (pejoratively) the Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper concerning the Real Presence. This doctrinal position affirms that resurrected body of Christ cannot be everywhere present, but in his divine spirit, in particular with the Holy Spirit is present with his people at the Supper. This view was, in fact, not new with John Calvin, but can be seen in various ways affirmed in the Early Church Fathers. The Extra is crucial not only for understanding a proper view on the Lord’s presence at the celebration of the Eucharist. It is also important in understanding the nature of who Christ is to us post-Resurrection and post-Ascension. Questions which are still discussed or debated in our times need the rich truths which are in the Extra if they would hope to be well informed. Some of these questions in addition to the Real Presence to which the Extra speaks to are…

  1. Is the Son eternally subordinate to the Father?
  2. How do we practically enjoy and grow in awareness of Christ’s promised presence?
  3. What is the significance of Christ being the Last Adam?
  4. Why is the Ascension of Christ to his throne in Heaven so integral to the Gospel?
  5. How is Two Kingdom theology informed by the Extra?
  6. What does the Scripture mean when it announces that in Christ, God is with us, Immanuel?


Wiki article on the Extra Calvinisticum


TGC blog post giving an overview of the Extra


Theological Meditations, quote from Richard Muller on the Extra


Peter Martyr Virmigli, Dialogue on the Two Natures of Christ (available at Davenant Institute bookshop)


David Willis, Calvin’s Catholic Christology This book is an excellent treatment of the topic.


Darren O. Sumner, “The Twofold Life of the Word: Karl Barth’s Critical Reception of the Extra Calvinisticum,” International Journal of Systematic Theology, Volume 15/1 (January 2013): 42-57.


James Gordon, The Holy One in Our Midst: An Essay on the Flesh of Christ


Andrew McGinnis, The Son of God Beyond the Flesh


Mark Jones, When Heaven Kissed Earth: The Christology of Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)


Brannon Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism and the Aseity of the Son


Extra Calvinisticum – Encyclopedia of Christianity Online


Ubiquity – Encyclopedia of Christianity Online


W. J. Torrance Kirby, Emidio Campi and Frank A James, A Companion to Peter Martyr VermigliLeiden, Brill, 2009. see page 342.


Stephen Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Foundations of Evangelical Theology)   especially chapter 9


Theodore Zachariades, The Omnipresence of Jesus Christ: A Neglected Aspect of Evangelical Christology (Paternoster Theological Monographs)  especially chapter 6


K. J. Drake, Etiam extra carnem: The Extra Calvinisticum in the Reformed Tradition from Zwingli to High Orthodoxy


blog post at Calvinist International, E. J. Hutchinson, The Extra Calvinisticum in Athanasius


blog post at Calvinist International, E. J. Hutchinson, The Real Absence


Stefan Lindhlom, Jerome Zanchi (1516-90) and the Analysis of Reformed Christology


Brad Littlejohn on Richard Hooker on the Lord’s Supper, chapter 3 in Beyond Calvin: Essays on the Diversity of the Reformed Tradition, also available at the Davenant Institute bookshop


Related Topics:
  • Views on the Eucharist
  • Hypostatic Union
  • Ubiquity of Christ (Lutheran theology)
  • The Symbol of Chalcedon
  • Autothean Controversies
  • Deity of Christ
  • Divine Presence
  • Work of the Holy Spirit in this age
  • Union with Christ


Note: If you come across more resources on this topic let me know and I can add them here if applicable.


image credit: Wikipedia article on the Real Presence. Artist, Henry John Dodson (1858–1928), oil on canvas, 85 x 127 cm, Bradford Museums and Galleries