An Explorer’s Guide to John Calvin

IVP Academic. Jul. 2022. 235p. ISBN 9781514001264. pap. $22. REL
Calvin is one of the most important theologians in the history of Christianity. His ideas and influence are felt constantly in Christian churches of every denomination, whether as challenges to be argued or as institutes to be followed. In this college-level introduction to Calvin and his theology, Thianto (theology, Trinity Christian Coll.; The Way to Heaven: Catechisms and Sermons in the Establishment of Dutch Reformed Church in the East Indies) presents him as a beloved mentor. The books first half focuses on Calvin’s life, and the second half looks at his major theological work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. The writing is clear and informal, but often feels unfinished or incomplete, as if Thianto didn’t trust readers to stay the course when topics got challenging. At times the casual tone of the writing is off-putting; pondering such an important figure as Calvin, readers might long for a little bit of gravitas. Too often this book feels more like an extended pamphlet for a John Calvin fan club, rushing through historical and theological quandaries like the burning of Servetus or the complexities of predestination (complexities that perhaps Calvin also side-stepped). It might not satisfy college level readers, who could find themselves hungering for more depth.
VERDICT Seminaries looking for an easy introduction to Calvin may want to consider.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing