Resources For Understanding Calvin

John Calvin (1509–64) was one of the most significant figures in the history of the West. He was among the major Protestant Reformers in the sixteenth century. He contributed significantly to the Reformed wing of the Reformation. He was an industrious Bible commentators (50 vols). His correspondence fills volumes. He is most famous for his introductory handbook to Christian theology, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, first published in 1536 and revised continually, in Latin and French editions, until the early 1560s. He was, however, also a preacher and a pastor. Early in his ministry, when his health permitted, he preached not only twice on Sundays but several times during the week. He also taught what we would call a weekly Bible study, catechized the youth, and attended meetings with other pastors and elders. He had a controversial career in Geneva. After being compelled to stay in Geneva in 1536 by Guillaume Farel (1489–1565), he was exiled in 1538 after seeking to move control of church discipline away from the the city council and place it under the control of the pastors and elders (consistory). In 1541, however, Geneva recalled him from Strasbourg, where he happily and quietly served a French-language congregation. He spent the rest of his life and ministry in Geneva, receiving refugees from across the British Isles and Europe, preaching the law and the gospel, teaching, counseling the troubled, advising churches across Europe and the British Isles, and writing. Tragically, for many, he is only known for the Servetus affair, in which he played an important but not decisive role. In the sixteenth century it was illegal and a capital crime in Europe and the British Isles to advocate religious heresy (e.g., publicly denying the Trinity, as Servetus did and for which he was jailed before Geneva). In those cases it was the civil magistrate, in Geneva as in most other places, who prosecuted, convicted, and executed the death penalty upon heretics. The attention paid to Calvin (while ignoring all the other similar cases, in other places) over Servetus is no more than an attempt to smear his reputation, something that began in a hostile biography written during his life.

Table Of Contents

Select Bibliography

  1. Balke, W. Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals. Trans. W. J. Heynen. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981.
  2. Clark. R. Scott. “‘Subtle Sacramentarian’ or Son? John Calvin’s Relationship to Martin Luther” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.4 (2018): 35–60.
  3. Clark, R. Scott. “Calvin’s Principle of Worship,” in ed. David Hall, Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of his Quincentenary (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 247–69.
  4. Clark, R. Scott. “Calvin as Negative Boundary Marker in American Lutheran Self-Identity 1871–1934” in Johan de Niet, Herman Paul, and Bart Wallet, ed., Sober, Strict, and Scriptural: Collective Memories of John Calvin, 1800–2000 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 245–66.
  5. Clark, R. Scott. “Election and Predestination: Sovereign Expressions of God,” in David Hall and Peter Lillback, ed. A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and Analysis (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008), 90–122
  6. Clark, R. Scott Clark. “Calvin and the Lex Naturalis,” Stulos Theological Journal 6 (1998): 1–22.
  7. DeGreef. W. The Writings of John Calvin (expanded)
  8. Ellis, Brannon. Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism and the Aseity of the Son. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  9. Eire, Carlos M. N. War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship From Erasmus to Calvin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
  10. Ganoczy, Alexandre. The Young Calvin. Trans. David Foxgrover and Wade Provo. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Ltd., 1987.
  11. Godfrey, W. Robert. John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009.
  12. Gordon, Bruce. Calvin. New Haven Conn.: Yale University Press, 2009.
  13. Gordon, Bruce, and Carl R. Trueman (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Calvin and Calvinism, Oxford Handbooks(2021; online edn, Oxford Academic, 14 July 2021).
  14. Kuiper, Herman. Calvin on Common Grace. 1928: Smitter Book Co, 1928.
  15. Manetsch, Scott M. Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  16. Monter, E. William. Calvin’s Geneva. New York: Wiley, 1967.
  17. Muller, Richard A. The Unaccommodated Calvin
  18. Muller, Richard A. Calvin and the Reformed Tradition
  19. Muller, Richard A. The Unaccommodated Calvin : Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition. Oxford Studies in Historical Theology. New York: Oxford University, 2000.
  20. Muller, Richard A. Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology From Calvin to Perkins. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986.
  21. Parker, T. H. L.  John Calvin: A Biography
  22. Quistorp, Heinrich. Calvin’s Doctrine of the Last Things. Translated by Harold Knight. London: Lutterworth Press, 1955.
  23. Selderhuis, Herman J., ed. The Calvin Handbook Grand Rapids: Eerdman, 2009.
  24. Selderhuis, Herman J. Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
  25. Steinmetz, David C. Calvin in Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  26. Warfield, B. B. Calvin and Calvinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1931.
  27. Wendel, François. Calvin: The Origins and Development of His Religious Thought. Trans. Philip Mairet. The Fontana Library, 1054 L. London: William Collins, Sons, 1965.
  28. Willis, E. David. Calvin’s Catholic Christology: The Function of the So-Called Extra Calvinisticum in Calvin’s Theology. E. J. Brill, 1966.

Popular Essays

  1. Reformed: More Than The Institutes and More Than Calvin
  2. Roman Catholic Scholar Converts To Evangelical Cause
  3. The Biography Channel Is Wrong About Calvin
  4. There Is More To Calvin Than The Institutes And More To Being Reformed Than Calvin
  5. Notes On Calvin’s Doctrine That Justification Sola Fide Is the “Principal Axis” Of The Christian Religion
  6. Scott Manetsch On Calvin’s Context And Ours
  7. Was Calvin A Homosexual Convict?
  8. Godfrey: Calvin On The Eucharist
  9. Of Calvin And Genevan Dogs
  10. The Calvin As Tyrant Meme
  11. Does Calvinism Lead To Domestic Violence?
  12. Muller On Calvin And the Reformed Tradition
  13. Tom Wenger, The New Perspective On Calvin
  14. Molly Worthen On Driscoll And Calvin
  15. A New Edition Of Two Important Treatises By Calvin (With A Video Series By Bob Godfrey)
  16. Calvin To The Evangelical Nicodemites
  17. Meet Calvin’s Wife: Idelette
  18. Of QAnon, Calvin, And the LA Times
  19. The New York Times, Sioux Center, And Calvinism
  20. The Gentle Genevans: Reversing The Myth Of The Persecution Of Witches In Calvin’s Geneva
  21. Does Calvinism Lead To Domestic Violence?
  22. Arminius Did Not Marry Calvin’s Daughter
  23. Of Calvin, Social Justice, And The Theology Of The Cross
  24. What Did Calvin Say? (re-post)
  25. Would Calvin Support the Occupy Movement?
  26. The Last Song Calvin Sang In His Last Public Worship Service
  27. Notes On Calvin’s Doctrine That Justification Sola Fide Is The Principal Axis Of The Christian Religion
  28. Even on His Birthday…
  29. Christopher Coldwell | Calvin in the Hands of the Philistines: Or Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath? | 1998, rev. 2007
  30. More On Calvin’s Children
  31. Your Image Of Calvin Is Probably Wrong

Calvin Quotations On Various Topics

  1. Calvin: Sinners Are Justified Only By Free Acceptance Is The Forgiveness Of Sins And The Imputation Of Christ’s Righteousness
  2. Calvin: The Whole Doctrine Of Godliness Rests Upon The Doctrine Of Salvation Through Free Grace
  3. Calvin: Circumcision Was Spiritual And Substantially Identical To Baptism
  4. Calvin: Sinners Are Justified Only By Free Acceptance Is The Forgiveness Of Sins And The Imputation Of Christ’s Righteousness
  5. Calvin: We Need To Distinguish Between The Internal And The External Relation To The Covenant Of Grace
  6. More From Calvin On The Unity Of The Covenant Of Grace
  7. More From Calvin on the Three Uses of the Law
  8. Calvin On The Unity Of The Covenant Of Grace
  9. Calvin Rejected Theonomy In Favor Of Natural Law
  10. Calvin: Musical Instruments Were Intended Only For God’s Ancient People
  11. Calvin: Christians Should Not Fear That God Is Continually Offended By The Remnant Of Sin
  12. Calvin: The Abrahamic Covenant Was Spiritual, Not Earthly
  13. Calvin: The Judgment Is Good News For Believers
  14. Calvin: Paul Distinguishes Between Law And Gospel
  15. Calvin: Psalm 88 Is A Form Of Prayer For The Afflicted
  16. Calvin: It Is Not Faith That Is Imputed To Us But Christ’s Righteousness
  17. Calvin: Paul Excludes All Works, Even Those Wrought By The Spirit
  18. Calvin: The True Rule Of Righteousness Is Sought Sola Scriptura
  19. Calvin: God Gives Us Ministers So As Not To Swallow Us By His Majesty
  20. Calvin: Pure And Real Religion Follows The Rule Of Worship
  21. Calvin: Leviticus 18:5 Is Law Not Gospel
  22. Calvin: God’s Twofold Government Contra Over-Realized Eschatology
  23. Calvin: The Rule Of Worship Necessitated The Reformation
  24. Calvin: The Pure Gospel Is Unadorned
  25. Calvin: Jesus Preached The Law To Teach Us Our Need For A Savior
  26. Calvin: Adam Was In A Trial Of Obedience
  27. Calvin: Do Christians And Muslims Worship The Same God?
  28. Calvin: Assurance Fills Our Sails
  29. Calvin: The Land Promise Was For Israel
  30. Calvin: Implicit Faith Is Inescapable
  31. Calvin: A Sacrament Is An Outward Sign And Seal Of God’s Promises
  32. Calvin: The Fifth Commandment Applies Narrowly And Broadly
  33. Calvin: The Lutherans Belong To The Church And We Are Their Members
  34. Calvin: What The Law Requires, The Gospel Gives Freely
  35. Calvin: Diligently To Inquire What Worship God Approves
  36. Calvin: We Sing Psalms In Public Worship
  37. Calvin: The Offer Is Common But Faith Is Not
  38. Calvin: The Unmerited Love Of God Is The Source Of Our Salvation
  39. Calvin: People Have Never Liked The Regulative Principle
  40. Calvin: Reformed Churches and Ministry Founded on Luther
  41. Calvin: God’s Accommodation No License For Images
  42. Calvin: Who Is Faithful To The Church Fathers?
  43. Calvin: Rome Is A Bird With Borrowed Feathers
  44. Calvin: Resolutely Adhere To The Exclusive Particle
  45. Calvin: The Promise Of Grace Without Any Mention Of The Law
  46. Calvin: There Are Two Parts In Christianity
  47. Calvin: Instruments In Public Worship Is The Restoration of Shadows
  48. Calvin: God’s Twofold Government Contra Over-Realized Eschatology
  49. Calvin: God Works Effectually Where the Spirit Illuminates the Heart
  50. Calvin On Abortion
  51. Calvin On Thanksgiving
  52. Calvin On Jesus’ Stance Toward Civil Government
  53. Calvin On Salvation By Grace Alone Through Faith Alone
  54. Calvin On Luke 2:10–God Invites All Indiscriminately
  55. Calvin On The Threefold Distinction In The Law And The Abrogation Of The Mosaic Civil Laws
  56. Calvin On The Discovery Of The Empty Tomb
  57. Calvin’s First Reformation Priority: Worship Sola Scriptura
  58. Calvin On Colossians 2:20: Reject Encroachments Upon Christian Liberty
  59. Calvin On Leviticus 18:5—A General Statement Of The Law That Offers Reward To Those Who Obey
  60. Calvin On Acts 18: Leaving The Worship Of God To Human Choice Is Absurd
  61. Calvin On Acts 2:42: God Controls Worship Sola Scriptura
  62. Calvin On The Rule Of Worship: The Samaritans Were Wrong
  63. Calvin On The “Rule of Worship” And The “Inventions Of Men”
  64. Calvin On Acts 2:39: Against The [Ana] Baptists
  65. Calvin On Acts 20:28
  66. Calvin On The Substance Of The Covenant Of Works
  67. Calvin On Deuteronomy 29:29: God’s Word Is Enough
  68. Calvin On The Distinction Between The Old And New Covenants
  69. Calvin On The Covenant Of Works
  70. Calvin On Instruments: Not Given For Us To Imitate
  71. Calvin On The Danger Of Abusing The Lord’s Table
  72. Calvin On Freedom From Bondage To The Law
  73. Calvin On Romans 8:4
  74. Calvin On Sanctification As An Effect Of Justification
  75. Calvin On God’s Gracious Acceptance Of Our Works In Christ
  76. Calvin On The Image Of God In Man
  77. Calvin Against Images Of Christ
  78. Calvin On Romans 2:13 In His Institutes
  79. Calvin On Romans 2:13
  80. Calvin On Faith, Union With Christ, And Justification
  81. Calvin On The Proper Practice Of The Lord’s Supper
  82. Calvin On Paul’s Defense Of The Gospel To Peter
  83. Calvin On Tasting Of The Powers Of The Age To Come And Falling Away
  84. Calvin’s Law-Gospel Hermeneutic In Hebrews 6
  85. Calvin on Monasticism
  86. Calvin On Instruments: Not Given For Us To Imitate
  87. Calvin on Lent
  88. Calvin on “Not Having a Righteousness of My Own”
  89. Calvin On Osiander
  90. Calvin On A Mistaken Confidence in Works
  91. Calvin on the “Sacred,” the “Secular,” and “the Kingdom”
  92. Calvin on Psalm Singing in Worship
  93. Calvin On The Twofold Kingdom
  94. Calvin on Christ’s Active Obedience
  95. Calvin on “The Real Prosperity Gospel”
  96. Calvin On Law And Gospel
  97. Calvin on the Free Offer
  98. Calvin on the Free Offer Of The Gospel
  99. Calvin on Standing Before God (Ps 130)
  100. Calvin on Affliction
  101. Calvin on Covenant and Election

Podcasts and Lectures


Calvin As Theologian of Comfort

Who Are the Reformers: John Calvin

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