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Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (The Library of Christian… (edition 1960)

by John T. McNeill

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4,048201,257 (4.51)1 / 23
Member:Admiralcreedy
Title:Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (The Library of Christian Classics)
Authors:John T. McNeill
Info:Westminster John Knox Press (1960), Paperback, 1822 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Calvin, theology, systematic theology, reformation, reformed

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Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

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A devotional quality pervades this book. One can hardly come away from reading Calvin without knowing God's abundant grace as the sole means of a relationship with Him. His section on prayer is particularly encouraging and challenging. His final section on the role of civil government should be required reading for all those on both sides of the political aisle who relinquish civility for their "rights." ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
A devotional quality pervades this book. One can hardly come away from reading Calvin without knowing God's abundant grace as the sole means of a relationship with Him. His section on prayer is particularly encouraging and challenging. His final section on the role of civil government should be required reading for all those on both sides of the political aisle who relinquish civility for their "rights." ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Brilliant. ( )
  cemontijo | Jan 18, 2016 |
This is Calvin's benchmark text of Reformed theology. Calvin is one of the magisterial giants on which the Reformation of the Christian church stands, and this work makes the reasons for his stature abundantly clear. Trained as a lawyer before becoming a pastor and theologian Calvin is logical, thorough and relentless in pressing his viewpoints on every aspect of faith addressed in this volume. And it should be added that Calvin is relentlessly biblical. There is no point in his theology that is not thoroughly grounded in scripture. He writes as one who is also well-acquainted with the church fathers as well as the theologians of his day, drawing deeply from that well of knowledge in both building up his position and refuting the positions that he believes are held in error. I read the Battles translation and the style of Calvin's writing comes across as very readable and accessible not just to pastors, theologians and educated lay persons, but to anyone who wants to understand Christian doctrine that is firmly Biblical, which, in a nutshell, is what Reformed theology is all about. I highly commend this enduring work. It is truly a timeless gift to the church. ( )
1 vote BradKautz | Dec 16, 2015 |
Finishing Calvin's Institutes felt like eating Bran Flakes. You know it's supposed to be good for you, but when given the option to have Lucky Charms, you'll choose the Leprechaun every time.

When I started reading the Institutes I was fresh out of Seminary. I didn't have the opportunity to take a course on Calvin, so I thought that this would round out my education. Another reason I tackled Calvin was my (former) love for systematic theology. I thought that there was nothing more sublime than a cohesive logical understanding of scripture.

The more I pastored and studied scripture for myself, the more I became disillusioned with systematic theology. No matter whose system you chose, the emphasizing of some passages over others always felt arbitrary.

Take the Calvinist/Arminianist debate with respect to Philippians 2:12-13. It's all a matter of which side you emphasize: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Calvinism) "for it is God who works in you" (Arminianism) (ESV).

Systematic theology is like a bit-mapped picture. If you have a sufficiently detailed resolution (or nuanced systematic method), you can reproduce a pretty accurate picture of the original. But why not just enjoy the original? Scripture is the story of God's relationship with his people. There is a reason love letters don't look like bullet lists in a PowerPoint presentation. Narrative trumps systems. Every time.

The logic of Calvin's systematic theology is highly nuanced and quite brilliant. I learned a tremendous amount from his encyclopedic knowledge of scripture. (This 1,700 page edition of the Institutes is rather small compared to his Commentary on the entire Bible!) When he speaks about the role of faith in the believer's life and the nature of prayer, his work is inspiring. The problem comes when he follows the logic of his system to the end and is left with with double predestination, for example. (If scripture says that God predestined believers for glory, then logically, He must have predestined souls for hell, right?)

Here is where systems fail and narrative comes to our rescue. The Bible is more of a library than a book. Each author has his own understanding of scripture, as inspired by the Spirit of God. True, the books and stories fit together in amazing ways, but that doesn't take away from their own character. Read Ecclesiastes beside Song of Songs and you'll see what I mean.

I started the Institutes as a systematist. While I still appreciate and respect this discipline, I am now wholeheartedly a Biblical theologian. For example, I would much rather work at bringing out what John meant in his Gospel than spend my time trying to reconcile the date of the crucifixion with Mark's account.

Let scripture speak in all of its sundry glory. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Oct 21, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Calvinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McNeill, John T.Editormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allen, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Battles, Ford LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beveridge, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niet, C.A. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0664220282, Hardcover)

This is the definitive English-language edition of one of the monumental works of the Christian church. All previous editions--in Latin, French, German, and English--have been collated; references and notes have been verified, corrected, and expanded; and new bibliographies have been added.The translation preserves the rugged strength and vividness of Calvin's writing, but also conforms to modern English and renders heavy theological terms in simple language. The result is a translation that achieves a high degree of accuracy and at the same time is eminently readable.

Long recognized for the quality of its translations, introductions, explanatory notes, and indexes, the Library of Christian Classics provides scholars and students with modern English translations of some of the most significant Christian theological texts in history. Through these works--each written prior to the end of the sixteenth century--contemporary readers are able to engage the ideas that have shaped Christian theology and the church through the centuries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:41 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Long regarded as the central theologian of the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin changed the course of the Christian church through one book: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Hendrickson Publishers here offers the classic English translation of this masterpiece, newly typeset and freshly designed for the modern reader, with all the citatioins, indexes, and other other helps updated."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

2 editions of this book were published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..

Editions: 0802881661, 0802807747

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