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John Calvin: A Pilgrim's Life [Paperback]

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Item Number 391886  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   287
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 5.9" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Academic
ISBN  0830829210  
EAN  9780830829217  

Availability  3 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 09:23.
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Item Description...
Selderhuis draws on Calvin's own publications and commentary on the biblical figures with whom he strongly identified to describe his theology in the context of his personal development. Throughout we see a person who found himself alone at many of the decisive moments of his life--a fact that echoed through Calvin's subsequent sermons and commentaries. Selderhuis's unique and compelling look at John Calvin, with all of his merits and foibles, ultimately discloses a man who could not find himself at homein the world in which he lived. --from publisher description

Publishers Description
There are many biographies of John Calvin, the theologian--some villifying him and others extolling his virtues--but few that reveal John Calvin, the man. Professor and renowned Reformation historian Herman Selderhuis has written this book to bring Calvin near to the reader, showing him as a man who had an impressive impact on the development of the Western world, but who was first of all a believer struggling with God and with the way God governed both the world and his own life. Selderhuis draws on Calvin's own publications and commentary on the biblical figures with whom he strongly identified to describe his theology in the context of his personal development. Throughout we see a person who found himself alone at many of the decisive moments of his life--a fact that echoed through Calvin's subsequent sermons and commentaries. Selderhuis's unique and compelling look at John Calvin, with all of his merits and foibles, ultimately discloses a man who could not find himself at home in the world in which he lived.

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More About Herman J. Selderhuis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Herman Selderhuis (Dr.Theol., Apeldoorn) is professor of church history and church polity at the Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. The author of several articles and books on the Reformation, he is also director of the Institute for Reformation Research (Apeldoorn) and is general secretary of the International Calvin Congress.

Herman J. Selderhuis has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Reformation Commentary on Scripture

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General   [38596  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious   [5128  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good Info!  Feb 6, 2010
I guess I was looking for more of a narrative, so the book didn't really resonate with me. Thought the author did a good job of presenting Calvin's faults, but could have heard a few more praises.
Calvanism Apologia!  Oct 18, 2009
In this apologia of Calvin, Calvin could do no wrong. The author can't hide the facts about Calvin's life so he softens Calvin's brutalities with insufficient justification. To make a long story short I think the author had a strong bias toward Calvin and his doctrines! I wanted to give it a one star rating for the sheer fact that the author seemed to be blinded with zeal for Calvin, however, I gave it two stars for the sheer sake of the material. There are still some good historical points here that can be used for a deeper understanding of this very controversial figure in Reformation church history.
not enough superlatives to describe this book.  Aug 3, 2009
First of all, I must say that I generally enjoy books that are published by IVP. This one is among the few exceptions. I did not enjoy it, but I greatly enjoyed it. There are not enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe the pleasure I took in reading this book.

Selderhuis is certainly a good historian. He is also a good writer. History can be dry and dull. This one is not. The writing is well done. The author holds the reader's attention. The research is well done, too.

In the book's 259 pages there is an abundance of material about Calvin. This is a biography of Calvin, so it covers all of his life and all of his ministry.

Honestly, Selderhuis takes a positive look at Calvin, but still shows us his not so good points as well. In fact, at one point, the author speaks of Calvin as petty. He is sometimes described as impatient. I can see no place where Calvin is painted to be better than he actually was. At the same time, Calvin has been absolved of some of the popular charges against him.

Calvin has been accused of many different things. Among those things were charges that he had Servetus burned, sought a theocracy in Geneva, and ruled Geneva as a sort of iron-fisted tyrant. Selderhuis shows that these charges are not true. In the case of Servetus, Calvin had to obey the law in turning him over to the authorities. Calvin did not call for his death, however. In fact, Calvin sought for Servetus to not go to Geneva in the first place. Neither did he rule in Geneva in any fashion other than as pastor. Calvin was not even granted the status of citizen until just a while before he died.

Throughout the book we find the thing that drove Calvin: a passion for truth. Calvin loved God's Word. We may disagree with many things about him, but that is the one thing that was characteristic of his life. After having been exiled for three years and returning, Calvin began his preaching by expounding the passage immediately following the one he had expounded three years before, continuing his expository sermons and demonstrating his respect for Scripture.

The subtitle of the book is A Pilgrim's Life. Calvin lived his life as a pilgrim in two respects: 1. He was a Christian pilgrim who was on his way to his heavenly home. 2. He was a man who had no home country. He was an exile from France and was no citizen of any other country or city. Calvin is accurately portrayed as a man with no home. Thankfully, he has arrived at his home. Let us hope that Calvin will also find a friendly home in more hearts due to this book.

My only regret is that a five star rating system does not allow me to give ten stars for an exceptional book.
Neither friend nor foe  Jun 29, 2009
With Calvin I have found that it is a bit difficult to encounter the man behind the theology, because so many biographies either lionize or demonize him that few if any are worth reading. Enter Herman J. Selderhuis's new biography John Calvin: A Pilgrim's Life whose book is neither laudatory nor disparaging and very, very well-written.

"Life is a steeplechase," begins Selderhuis, "there are dangers everywhere, and God himself, who has put most of the obstacles in our way, watches to see whether we make it over them. Such is John Calvin's view of life." From there Selderhuis exposits the life of Calvin from ten angles:

1. Orphan (1509-1533)
2. Pilgrim (1533-1536)
3. Stranger (1536-1538)
4. Refugee (1538-1541)
5. Preacher (1541-1546)
6. Victim (1546-1549)
7. Widower (1549-1551)
8. Patient (1551-1554)
9. Sailor (1555-1559)
10. Soldier (1559-1564)

Selderhuis's biography brings the stoic looking, long-bearded figure to life in numerous ways. Calvin was emotional and susceptible to anger and grief, but made strenuous efforts to deal patiently with his critics. He labored arduously to have unity with co-leaders, yet would not compromise if he felt the truth was in question. After reading about Calvin's temperament, it is not surprising to see why his Reformed forebearers have embodied many of his personal traits. There is much to revere in Calvin's character as their is much to be repelled by. His passion for God's glory was fanatical, and his dedication to service unimpeachable. Calvin had a great heart for the poor that prophetically called upon the rich to sacrifice for their less fortunate brethren. All in all Calvin was a mover and a shaker in Christian history that defies simple categories and makes reverent adulation or supercilious attacks on his character seem silly. John Calvin was all too human, and would find such praise embarrassing, though he would not be surprised by his critics, if he were alive today.

Much of what we believe and learn in the Protestant church today owes a debt to Calvin, even if one is not a Calvinist. We have much to be thankful for in Herman Selderhuis's fantastic biography, because it successfully approaches the great Reformer as neither a friend nor an enemy. Calvin is fascinating for having the lasting worldwide effect that he has, and he is a testimony to Christ's grace working itself out in the most fallible of human beings. For that, this book greatly helps us crawl into his skin.

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