Book Alert: John Calvin – A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology

Title: John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine and Doxology
Editor: Burk Parsons, ed.
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Release Date: November 28, 2008
Pages: 246
Format: Hardcover
ISBN 13-digit: 978-156769-106-1
Retail Price: $19.00
Table of Contents: Yes
Intro: Yes
Sample Chapter: Yes

From Reformation Trust:

John Calvin is often reviled as a humorless doctrinarian who preached an austere theology that twisted Scripture.  In John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology, Burk Parsons and a cadre of godly pastors and scholars seek to set the record straight in honor of the 500th observance of John Calvin’s birth in 1509.

The book’s nineteen succinct chapters explore aspects of Calvin’s life, ministry, and teachings, and establish his importance even for the twenty-first-century church. Contributors, in addition to Parsons, include some of the most gifted and godly Reformed leaders alive today. The foreword is by Iain H. Murray. Indexes of Scripture passages, subjects and names, and theological terms make the book helpful for those who want to delve into specific topics.

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology is a winsome portrait that dashes stereotypes about Calvin and the theological system that bears his name. In answer to why it is important for laypeople to study John Calvin’s writings, Burk Parsons explains:

“First of all, the people of God should be wholeheartedly engaged, first and foremost, in the daily study of God’s Word. Second, as God’s people study God’s Word in depth they will quickly understand the necessity of interpreting Scripture with Scripture, and that is precisely what Calvin helps us to do — to the end that we might know and proclaim the whole counsel of God. Third, John Calvin was not an ivory-tower theologian who was out of touch with the real-life struggles of God’s people. Not only did he struggle himself, but he knew well the light of his people in his congregation. He could empathize with their afflictions and so shepherded them in preaching, praying, writing, and counseling. Calvin was, first and foremost, a pastor of God’s people.”

* Desiring God just posted a brief interview with Burk Parsons on their blog.

Buy @:

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Table of Contents:

1. The Humility of Calvin’s Calvinism by Burk Parsons
2. Who was John Calvin? by Derek W.H. Thomas
3. Calvin’s Heart for God by Sinclair B. Ferguson
4. The Reformer of Faith and Life by D.G. Hart
5. The Churchman of the Reformation by Harry L. Reeder
6. The Preacher of God’s Word by Steven J. Lawson
7. The Counselor to the Afflicted by W. Robert Godfrey
8. The Writer for the People of God by Phillip R. Johnson
9. The Supremacy of Jesus Christ by Eric J. Alexander
10. The Transforming Work of the Spirit by Thabiti Anyabwile
11. Man’s Radical Corruption by John MacArthur
12. Election and Reprobation by Richard D. Phillips
13. Redemption Defined by Thomas K. Ascol
14. Transforming Grace by Keith A. Mathison
15. A Certain Inheritance by Jay E. Adams
16. The Believer’s Union with Christ by Philip Graham Ryken
17. The Principal Article of Salvation by Michael Horton
18. The True Christian Life by Jerry Bridges
19. The Communion of Men with God by Joel R. Beeke
20. Index of Scripture

Initial Thoughts:

In recent years, there have been several great compilation books addressing the lives, theology, and ministry of the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, and other giants of the faith.  To see this work on John Calvin come out on the eve of the 500th year of his birth looks to be a great resource for those reading of Calvin for the first time as well as those who have found him a familiar friend and mentor in the faith.  Be sure to pick up a copy of this book comprised of doctrinally rich and devotionally rewarding chapters of one of the greatest theologians (as well as minister and church planter) of church history. 


“If you have neglected Calvin’s writings for fear they are too difficult or too dreary, this book will change your mind. It is a compendium of his thought presented, as we might expect from these writers, clearly, engagingly, and with a devotional warmth that encourages us to know the God whom we worship.”

–Alistair Begg, Senior pastor Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio

“Deep calls to deep, and Burk Parsons’ rich and insightful work on John Calvin takes us both deep and wide into the heart of this extraordinary saint. Most of all, I’m grateful to God that a whole new generation of believers can now be introduced to one of the greatest theologians of all time. I highly recommend this book to all who are seeking a closer–and deeper–walk with our Savior!”

–Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder, Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California

“I personally have benefited in the reading of this work, and most heartily commend it. The value of this book is that it brings out something of John Calvin’s own life and struggles, and then summarizes his doctrinal position, not just as an academic exercise, but in the true spirit of genuine Calvinism, which points men to Christ and justification by faith, producing godliness of life and true communion with God.”

–Dr. Morton H. Smith, Professor of systematic and biblical theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Taylors, South Carolina

“On the five-hundredth anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, it is utterly fitting that a book of essays should appear that is designed for ordinary Christians, not scholars. The scholars will have their conferences, of course, and rightly so, but here is a collection of essays that will inform and move ordinary readers to grasp something of the profound gift God gave to the church in the person and ministry–and especially the writings–of Calvin. Read this book, then find yourself drawn toward many profitable and stretching hours reading Calvin’s Institutes and some of his many commentaries.”

–D. A. Carson, Research professor of New Testament Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois

“To my knowledge, there never has been a collection of authors of any edited volume under whose ministry I would rather sit than these. What stands out is that they are humble, holy men of God. Most of them are too old–too seasoned–to care about scoring points. Their lives witness to the preciousness of Christ and the importance of purity. Expect no bombast. Expect humble, measured admiration and wise application. This is a good way to meet John Calvin: in the holy hearts of humble servants of Christ. The only better way would be to read the man himself.”

–John Piper, Pastor for preaching and vision Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota

“Calvinism often gets bad press, and John Calvin must rank among the least understood–and most misunderstood–of all the great leaders in church history. We badly need a fresh look at both, one that rightly reveals Calvin not as a doctrinal demagogue, but as a loving pastor, passionate evangelist, and sympathetic counselor, and above all as someone concerned to have all his thinking and living rendered in terms of obedience to God. This is it! Twenty modern pastors, preachers, and authors have combined their knowledge and skills to produce a book that will inform and inspire countless readers for years to come. I know of nothing quite like it and I commend it enthusiastically and without reservation.”

–John Blanchard, Preacher, teacher, and apologist Author, Does God Believe in Atheists?

“Reading Burk Parsons’ new book, John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology, was like following a great chef on an early morning trip to the farmer’s market. Burk chose an incredible array of authors to speak to the most important themes of John Calvin’s life, and the combination has resulted in a veritable feast of delicacies and delights. Surely this book will help introduce one of history’s most gospel-centered men, Calvin, to a generation that wants to relegate him to dusty antiquity and dry orthodoxy. To read Calvin is to understand what a mind informed by the gospel and a heart enflamed with God’s grace is supposed to look like! Thank you, chef Parsons!”

–Scotty Smith, Senior pastor, Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee

“There is a fresh breeze blowing in these pages. A new generation has discovered the riches of biblical truth to be found in John Calvin’s work. Written in an inviting and accessible style, this book extends an invitation to all to come and learn as well. However, what they will learn will have far less to do with Calvin and far more to do with the centrality and greatness of the triune God whom he served. Calvin would have wanted it that way, and so do we.”

–David F. Wells, Senior research professor Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts

“Virtually all of the great Reformers of the sixteenth century were students of the great church father Augustine. If we are to experience another renewal of the church, a renewal that many of us see as much needed today, I believe it will come through those who have been careful students of John Calvin. If you want to know why I say this or have any doubt that Calvin is all that important, then read this fine book. It presents a veritable kaleidoscope of perspectives on the many-sided greatness of this man and his work. I highly recommend it.”

–G. I. Williamson, Pastor, Editor, Author, The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes

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2 Comments on “Book Alert: John Calvin – A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology”

  1. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    Presbys and Baptist, Reformed, oh my! Presbys and Baptist, Reformed, oh my! Presbys and Baptist, Reformed, oh my!

  2. […] The book, John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology (ed. Burk Parsons) was just released last week by Reformation Trust, and Pastor Tom Ascol has written a chapter in the book addressing John Calvin and the atonement entitled “Redemption Defined” (for a quick preview of the book, go here). […]

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