This cursory look at Calvin as a preacher is thorough, insightful, and offers soundÂ assistance & encouragement to preachers especially, and believers in general.Â The historical context surrounding Calvin as preacher is very useful in understanding the man. Also, there are a few remarkable lessons learned; Calvin preached with either a Hebrew or Greek Bible and “translated on the fly” as he preached on his selected text; also, he was not afraid of preaching “politics” or of addressing sin.
Wonderful to see that his habit was to almost exclusively preach to “us” and “we” rather than “you guys”. He included himself in his exhortations. Further, whereas in his theological writings (i.e. Institutes) you see the sharp, orderly, and cogent logic, in his preaching he is free (as Lloyd-Jones often exhorted preachers). It is in this that we are remindedÂ that thorough systematic theology and Gospel preachingÂ ought to serve each other, but also ought to give way to the other depending on the task at hand (defending the faith vs. proclaiming the faith).
Calvin was a immensely gifted man, and though trained as a lawyer, Parker shows that in his preaching he often leaves the lawyer behind and clearly wears the mantle of the prophetic/apostolic. Parker strings together wonderful quotes, primarily from Calvin’s sermons, and demonstrates (as much as is possible) how Calvin prepared his sermons, his primary method, and his clear habits and patterns. A very helpful companion to Institutes,Â and I think would be a very useful read for folks who love Christian history, or to help shape one’s understanding and approach to preaching. I would heartily recommend this make it on to your reading list.