Friday, May 22, 2009

John Calvin - Man of the Millenium

I'm starting a new book--a gift from my mother-in-law who is in every way familiar with my Calvinist bent--that is a biography on the great reformer's life. John Calvin: Man of the Millennium is a biography by Dr. Phillip Vollmer designed, as the cover tells me, to be a "family read-along." However, as I read it, I'm rather glad I don't have my family at my feet listening along.

Already about 100 pages into the book, there is nothing disgraceful or deplorable about the book that I should denounce it. However, I haven't found much to praise either, except for Vollmer's fond adoration of Calvin and very apparent respect for the works of his life. In general, as most biographies are, I suppose, the book is valuable largely for one such as myself who is totally unstudied in Calvin's life, but don't look to it for a riveting read.

That's right! Shocked? As one who has developed a theology that even I must admit is distinctly Calvinist, taught it in the church, and argued vehemently for God's sovereignty on this very blog, I am markedly unfamiliar with Calvin himself. This fact, by the way, is why I commonly cause eyebrows to raise by saying, "well, I guess most would call me Calvinist, but I don't use that term." Not that I'm decidedly against it, just that I'm not always sure what is meant by the term in the mind of the one applying it to me and I suppose I should be sure that I know what is meant first, too.

I've already determined that one of my next reads will have to be Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. And, by now, you might ask yourself what in the world I have read. Well, Romans... a lot :-) Not to mention the 65 other canonical books that accompany it. In a previous post, The Layman's Library, you'll notice most of my study includes reference material, commentaries, and of course, audio learning from BiblicalTraining.org.

All in all, I look forward to enjoying the relaxed pace this weekend of reading my book and escaping work for three days. I do look forward to what I'll learn from it. However, I'm fully aware that as Monday winds down I'll be good and ready for an MP3 lecture on Old Testament Theology, or at least a heated theological debate.

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