John Calvin at 500: A Good Resource

The 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin has prompted numerous conferences, special observances, and books — and rightly so.  For some, the anniversary offers a first opportunity for an introduction to the great Genevan Reformer and his legacy.

Among the books released in honor of the Calvin anniversary is John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology, edited by Burk Parsons [Reformation Trust].  The book is a compilation of essays by well-known pastors and theologians.  Contributors include Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur, Philip Ryken, Steven Lawson, Jerry Bridges, and Eric Alexander, among others.  The essays are insightful, and will be particularly helpful to those who need a good introduction to Calvin the man, the preacher, the Reformer, the theologian, and the follower of Christ.

This is among the best introductory volumes on Calvin yet released for the 500th anniversary celebration. Multi-author works can be ungainly, but this work allows each of the contributors to write with his own style and on a subject that makes sense for his expertise.  John Calvin:  A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology is a good place to start an anniversary reading project.

An exerpt:

On September 16, 1541, Calvin returned to the pulpit of St. Peter’s after his three-year exile in Strasbourg.  An expectant and overflowing congregation assembled.  What would he say?  How would he address through this first sermon the injustices that had been perpetrated upon him, the lessons God had taught him, and the contemporary issues of Geneva?  Ascending the newly constructed high pulpit, he opened the Word of God and began expounding the next verse in the text he had been preaching prior to his banishment.  This extraordinary action clearly announced to all assembled that the church was to forget what lay in the past and press ahead.  But it simultaneously affirmed Calvin’s pastoral commitment to the primacy of preaching in general and the importance of expository preaching in particular.

From “The Churchman of the Reformation” by Harry L. Reeder.