Essay / Theology

A Reader's Guide to Calvin's Institutes

Anyone, regardless of denomination or Christian tradition, who fancies himself/herself a theologian or a student of Christian history should read the Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin in its entirety at least once in their lifetime. However, until you get around to that project or, for those who have already read the Institutes, need a reminder of what you read, there is now Anthony N. S. Lane’s A Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes. This small but significant book, just published by Baker Academic, is a 150 page tour of the Institutes. It is concise, yet thorough. Lane, professor of historical theology at the London School of Theology, is a well-qualified guide through Calvin’s thought given that he has also written John Calvin: Student of the Church Fathers (Continuum, 1999). His brief introduction to Calvin and the Institutes is spot on. His summaries are great. After reading this book anyone should be able to over a sufficient overview of Calvin’s theology, impressing family and friends alike at dinner parties. As well, this book is most timely given that 2009 marks the quincentenary of Calvin’s birth. Buy it through the Scriptorium Daily Store and we benefit too!

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