John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology. Ed. Burk Parsons. Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2008.
Unfortunately, many people who have heard the name John Calvin have only one thought attached to this giant historical figure: Calvinism. Adding to that misfortune is the thread of negative reaction that exists in some circles toward calvinism and a common misperception that all calvinists are rigid, uncaring, and not evangelistic.
Was Calvin just Calvinism? Certainly he illuminated what has come to be known as the doctrines of grace by lifting those doctrines from Scripture and giving them clear description, but John Calvin was much more than the theological 5-point system that carries his name.
He was, more than anything, a pastor and a committed expositor of Scripture. His pastoral ministry was dominated by the daily teaching of Scripture in the pulpit, in the letter, and in the home. He clarified truth, proclaimed it, counseled with it, and confronted error with it. He gave himself to the church by foremost giving himself to the Word.
Most people do not know his energetic, consistent commitment to God's Word was extremely costly for him. Calvin faced much opposition within and without the church. His pastoral ministry was often more painful than joyful. Yet he persevered, teaching and calling people to the Word while suffering great physical anguish as well.
When you begin to put all the pieces of his life together, it is truly remarkable that he persevered, that he remained faithful to Scripture, and that he was able to be so productive in his lifetime. It is indeed a testament to grace. A fitting illustration of the name of the very doctrines he scripturally defended and for which he is most known. An even more fitting illustration of another little known fact about Calvin that he taught and believed so much in prayer.
Was Calvin just Calvinism? Well he certainly was the voice for clarifying the doctrines that would later be termed calvinism, but he was much, much more.
I don't know of any other volume that allows the reader to obtain such a full-orbed view of Calvin than John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology. If you are interested or open to getting to know the man behind the TULIP, then read this one.
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