Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Best Book I Have Read in a LONG Time

these uploads are from my blog: www.jayopsis.blogspot.com
all of April will be devoted to Calvin

Book Review: John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology. Edited by Burk Parsons. 2008 Reformation Trust Publishing. www.reformationtrust.com

John Calvin turns 500 this summer! All over the world there are publications, parties, and pilgrimages to commemorate the milestone.

I first encountered Calvin’s theology and “Institutes” when I was a young seminary student. My first experience with Calvin is somewhat like a first taste of beer. Everyone says its good, but you will have to fake it until you develop a taste for it.

I was like a lot of young people- skeptical and suspicious of anything stuffy and dogmatic. It never crossed my mind that my youthful pride and foolishness condemned something before I even tried to understand it.

I shouldn’t feel so bad about it. I was just fulfilling prophecy. I Timothy 4:3-4 in particular,
“3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

I wasn’t long before I noticed something strange about Calvin- his teachings weren’t so bad, but the Scriptures were just horrible!

At some point, I agreed to the merits of Calvinism. I incorrectly stuffed everything inside the ‘TULIP’ and moved on, never ever wanting to mention such. If someone accused me of being a Calvinist, I shrank back like I had been accused of admiring ballet or classical music.

I rediscovered Calvin in my late 30’s. My children were older, I was tired of TV, and so I began to shuffle through quotes in books and internet articles. I began to read sermons and papers.

My heart was set aflame by this man’s zeal for Christ- no matter the cost. His zeal was from one solitary source- a Holy Spirit taught, unadulterated word of God!

Just recently, I picked up a brand new book on Calvin- John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology. Each chapter stands on its own and is written by many of my contemporary heroes: Stephen Lawson, Phillip Johnson, Philip Graham Ryken, Harry Reeder and many others.

This one book captures the essence of Calvin better than my almost 2 years of independent reading and dredging through all of the wonderful stuff.

Over the next few blogs, I will be writing about some of my ‘new’ discoveries. I will tell you this, after every chapter I felt myself doing two things. First was repentance, “Lord forgive me for my cold heart toward you and my cowardice of Your truth.” The second was, “Make me just a little more like John Calvin.”

And how do you do that? Devour the Holy Book of God and determine to do it.

More to follow……

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