Calvin’s Institutes

I have always been interested in John Calvin. I don’t know exactly why, but I just have been. I think that it has to do with the role that he played in the Protestant Reformation. I also think that it has to do with the emphasis that Calvin places on the sovereignty of God.

I’ve read some of Calvin’s sermons and some biographical material on him. The book, Theology of the Reformers by Timothy George, mentioned in an earlier post, has a major section on John Calvin that has probably provided me with most of the information I know about the French reformer.

In December I received an email from the Reformation21 ministry that they were going to begin blogging through Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion in January. The study will take all of 2009. I know that the Institutes is a major work and that to commit to reading it and following the blog will be a major commitment of time, but I have decided to participate in the study.

The reading and blogging began on Monday. There is a reading guide with a reading assignment for each day. Thus far, the readings have been relatively short in length and easy to read through. Then, Reformation21 sends out a blog about that reading at the end of each day.

I have been doing my reading during the day at school as I have the opportunity. I then read the blog post in the evening after my family has had supper.

This week the readings include Calvin’s opening statement to the reader of the Institutes and the Prefatory Addressess to King Francis of France, explaining his reason for having written the Institutes.

Calvin tells the King in his opening Prefatory Address that his purpose for the Institutes “was solely to transmit certain rudiments by which those who are touched with any zeal for religion might be shaped to true godliness.” There were, and are, many more benfits to the Institutes than this, but this was Calvin’s thesis sentence, if you will, for what is considered to be the most important theological work to have been written in the last 500 years.

So, I am looking forward to reading through John Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion this year. I believe that it will be a tremendous supplement to my daily devotional study and quiet time and a powerful theological study that the Lord will use to help “shape me in true godliness.”

If you are interested in knowing more about reading and “blogging through the Institutes”, check out the Reformation21 website. Their left-hand side-bar has all the information. Copies of the Institutes can be easily found on the web simply by doing a Yahoo! or Google search for it.


“Reformed and Reforming”

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