There is probably no other theologian who is as loved and hated by so many as, John Calvin. To some, he has set forth the Biblical principles of Christianity with such clarity that they in fact call themselves Calvinists. To others he is a heretic, a cold hearted rebel, who has mislead many from the faith. With such differing points of view it can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. Robert Reymond has set out to share some of the life and history of John Calvin and his influence upon the Protestant church, government, and even the world, in his book, John Calvin: His Life and Influence.
Reymond's book began as four lectures on Calvin that he originally gave at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, wanting to take his "audience on a journey through Calvin's intellectual and spiritual developement, first from his youth, then through young manhood, then to the brilliant, energetic young Reformer that he became during his first Geneva period, and finally to the maturer Reformer into which he developed, first at Strasbourg, and then during his second Geneva period." (preface)
I have always found the history of the Reformation very interesting and this work explores the life and contributions of one of its most influential members. Reymond shows how God was providentially providing the education and experiences needed for transforming the young Calvin into the Theologian and Pastor he was to become. With so much of Calvin being thought of today simply in terms of TULIP, I was surprised to see his influence in so many other areas of Christianity. His role in founding and establishing the Protestant Church as we know it today, and our Western ideals of the distinct separation and individual freedom of Church and State are some of his greatest, and yet least known accomplishments.
It's sad that so much of Calvin's life and influence has been lost in the midst of the controversy of "Calvinism." Truly, the Christian Church owes a debt to this great Reformer.
John Calvin: His Life and Influence, is an easy read weighing in at a mere 133 pages, not counting the appendixes, yet gives a thorough overview for any who wish to learn more about this great man. I'd like to thank Christian Focus Publications for sending me this free copy for review.