Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve read portions of Calvin’s Institutes before, but this was my first go all the way through. Magnificent. As if I could review such a masterpiece, and to think Calvin’s first draft of it was written when he was 26. I’ll keepÂ this review deliberately short, but two observations.
American Evangelicalism (even the “anti-Calvinist” branches of it) is decidedly and profoundly deeply influenced by “Institutes”. Our work ethic, our civil government, our church polity, our firm protestantism, our liturgical practice, all derive largely from this body of work. This is largely true even for theÂ mega-church, and the small country church; we owe a great debt of gratitude for the shaping influence of Calvin.
Perhaps because it is anÂ election year here in the US, but his final chapter on the Civil Magistrate was profound, and is deeply needful for us. I’d highly recommend reading through it as you prepare to vote. I’ll hopefully interact with it before election day…
This is a rich diamond mine of truth; it is stout, and not for the faint of heart, but is often vibrantly encouraging, convicting, and lucid at every turn.