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A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes: Essays and Analysis (Calvin 500) [Hardcover]

By David W. Hall (Editor) & Peter A. Lillback (Editor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   506
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 16, 2008
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  1596380918  
EAN  9781596380912  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Capturing both the best of elite scholarship, as well as exhibiting a firm understanding of and passion for Calvin's own work, these essays by 20 elite Calvin scholars who appreciate the abiding value of Calvin's Institutes provide definitive and section-by-section commentary on Calvin's magnum opus.

Publishers Description
Historical Context of the Institutes as a Work in Theology - The True and Triune God: Calvin's Doctrine of the Holy Trinity - Election and Predestination: The Sovereign Expressions of God - A Shattered Vase: The Tragedy of Sin in Calvin's Thought - Calvin's Interpretation of the History of Salvation: The Continuity and Discontinuity of the Covenant - Justification and Union with Christ - Appropriating Salvation: The Spirit, Faith and Assurance, and Repentance - Ethics: The Christian Life and Good Works according to Calvin - Calvin, Worship, and the Sacraments - Calvin's Doctrine of the Last Things: The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting

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A very helpful set of essays on the famous Reformer  Aug 26, 2009
The year 2009 has witnessed much of the double anniversary of Charles Darwin (the 200th anniversary of his birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his Origin of the Species). But the great Reformer John Calvin also has a double anniversary this year. Five hundred years ago he was born in France, and 450 years ago the fifth and final Latin edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion was published. Without question he has had a tremendous impact on the world.

A number of books have appeared just recently on the man and his legacy, and with good reason. If Luther is the ultimate expression of the Protestant Reformation, then Calvin would surely have to be the penultimate expression of it. Thus it is fitting that he be remembered and recognised during this anniversary year.

Of the many books which have appeared of late, one set of books is worth having a look at. "The Calvin 500 Series" is a very nice collection of volumes covering numerous aspects of the man and his thought. The general editor of the series is American Presbyterian pastor David Hall. He penned two of the volumes: The Legacy of John Calvin, and Calvin in the Public Square. This volume is edited by Hall and Peter Lillback. Taken together these three books offer a wide-ranging and detailed look at the life and impact of the Reformer.

Calvin's theology is nicely explored and expounded upon in this volume. Here a number of Calvin experts and scholars look at his theological position on a range of topics, ranging from his understanding of the Trinity to his views on worship,

Consider the chapter on election and predestination by R. Scott Clark. Many people wrongly assume that these theological distinctives are almost unique to Calvin, and constitute the primary focus of his thinking. Both assumptions are wrong, as Clark demonstrates.

He reminds us that most of the Christian church from at least the time of Augustine had strongly held to the doctrine of predestination. Indeed, the belief in double predestination (divine election and reprobation), which many assume to be a chief legacy of Calvin, was held by much of the Christian church. Aquinas, for example, taught it as clearly and unequivocally as anyone.

And these doctrines were not the central concern of Calvin's thought. Sure, the sovereignty and majesty of God are overriding themes in the theology of Calvin, but the issue of predestination does not fully appear in the Institutes until book III. And his stance on the issue was fully informed by what he found in the Word of God, such as Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and so on.

To be sure, many of these doctrines can be, and often are, controversial and subject to heated debate. Given the infinite and eternal God that we serve, things cannot be otherwise. Some will find themselves more at home with Calvin's theology than others.

But Calvin was not just some austere, cerebral theologian. He was also a pastor and a sincere disciple of Christ with a fervent faith. Consider his many writings on the topic of prayer. It might seem that a man who held such a high view of God's sovereignty would have little to say about prayer. Not so.

As David Calhoun writes in his chapter on Calvin and prayer, Calvin wrote and preached extensively on the topic. Indeed, he was a man of prayer, both privately and publically. As Calhoun reminds us, one of "the longest chapters in Calvin's 1559 Institutes is about prayer; it extends for seventy pages in the English translation".

As to prayer and the sovereignty of God, Calvin taught that "God, by means of our prayers, does what he planned all along to do". Indeed, prayer was ordained by God really more for our benefit than God's, said Calvin.

Calvin was not interested in offering a rational explanation as to what might be seen by some as a logical contradiction here. He knew that Scripture affirmed both the sovereignty of God, and the need for his people to pray. Indeed, he offers six reasons why we should pray, and discussed four rules of right prayer.

Yet Calvin will always be the subject of controversy. His experiment at Geneva for example has long been the subject of much discussion and disagreement. Some relish his work there while others abhor it. Nor has Calvin the man been found to be above reproach. His dealing with Servetus is certainly considered by many to be a blot on his otherwise good work and character.

But love him or loathe him - or remaining somewhere in between - no one can doubt the significant impact and legacy of this one man. If Darwin is going to receive so much attention this year, then it seems only proper to allow Calvin to also stand in the public spotlight. This volume, and the two others in the series, is a great place to start.
A superb overview of a monumental work  Jun 17, 2008
Having first read The Institutes in 1978, I always wanted to have something that would help me over the rough spots. This book does just that. Each essay covers a portion of The Institutes and has been written by leaders in the field of Calvinistic studies. These scholars are sympathetic to Calvin but don't follow him blindly. In a few places they mildly disagree with him (but in an agreeable manner). The essays are not difficult to read and offer much help in understanding the structure and reasons for Calvin's magnus opus. Dr. J. I. Packer's Introductory essay is worth its weight in gold. (I have read some descriptions of The Institutes by others who obviously have not read them through or don't understand them very well. It is a work that has been called, "one of the ten greatest books ever penned," and any Christian would profit immensely from reading them.)

Calvin is an extremely careful, Biblical scholar and the work is shot through with warmth and devotion to Christ and a desire to honor God and His sovereignty over His universe.

I think this is going to be a book that will be used in many schools, churches and seminaries and I know I will continue to study it and enjoy the essays many many times. This is a terrific book that should make you want to tackle The Institutes (I have never attended Bible school or seminary). They are well worth the effort.

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