Item description for Calvin for Armchair Theologians (Armchair Theologians) by Christopher Elwood...
Overview An introduction to the life and main teachings of John Calvin (1509-1564), this book blends Calvin's theology into the story of his life to provide those with no knowledge of the Genevan reformer with a concise picture of his key theological views. Illustrations illuminate the author's text.
In this concise introduction to Calvin's life and thought, Christopher Elwood offers an insightful and accessible overview of Calvin's key teachings within his historical context. The trials and travails Calvin encountered as he ministered and taught in Geneva are discussed, with special attention given to theological controversies associated with the Trinity and predestination. Elwood indicates the ways that Calvinism developed and its influence in today's world. Illustrations are interspersed throughout the text and humorously illuminate key points providing an engaging introduction to this important theologian.
Written by experts but designed for the novice, the Armchair series provides accurate, concise, and witty overviews of some of the most profound moments and theologians in Christian history. These books are essential supplements for first-time encounters with primary texts, lucid refreshers for scholars and clergy, and enjoyable reads for the theologically curious.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.1" Width: 4.98" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2002
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
Series Armchair Theologians
ISBN 0664223036 ISBN13 9780664223038
Availability 0 units.
More About Christopher Elwood
Christopher Elwood is Professor of Historical Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Reviews - What do customers think about Calvin for Armchair Theologians?
Good introduction/review Mar 27, 2007
While this book is not written as vibrantly as "The Reformation For Armchair Theologians" (Glenn S. Sunshine, 2005) and while many of the illustrations (cartoons) are not particularly helpful, still this is a valuable book for those who want an accurate, well-balanced, and relatively easy-to-understand account of the life and work of John Calvin. While probably too detailed for most laypersons, this volume should be quite useful for most seminary students, pastors, and religion professors who want a good introduction to, or review of, Calvin's life and his considerable contribution to Christian theology.
Calvinism Light Mar 18, 2006
This is my second, but not my last, book in the "Armchair Theologian" series. The series, which has different authors but a common illustrator, seeks to render theology accessible to the layperson. It does so with plain language, a touch of good-natured humor, and sympathy for the theologian who is the subject of the book.
A biographer can approach his subject with sympathy or antipathy. Too much of either destroys objectivity, but a little sympathy enhances objectivity whereas a little antipathy tends to diminish it. So far, through books on St. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, the "Armchair Theologian" series has struck just the right amount of sympathy to enhance objectivity.
"Calvin" is not as light-hearted as "Aquinas," but Calvinism isn't the most light-hearted theology. Elwood argues that Calvin himself wasn't as gloomy as some of his later disciples became, but he still wasn't the kind of a guy you'd expect to be the life of the party. Nevertheless, the man had a profound influence on the growth of Christian theology. Read the book to see how.
A Handy and Easily Accessible Guide Dec 16, 2005
"Who was John Calvin?" the author begins, "A humorless killjoy...?" too often that is how the great Reformer is viewed. And as a result, all too few people try to get to know him. Christopher Elwood writes this book in order to dispel some of the misconceptions. It is also a handy and easily accessible guide to the man who, along with Martin Luther, was at the forefront of the Reformation.
Dr. Elwood - who is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Louisville Seminary - gives us a guidebook to the John Calvin the man and his message. Elwood traces Calvin's youth and education in the simplest of terms, and along the way, gives a broad overview of the other Protestant movement in Calvin's day.
Thereafter, the book shows the way that God led Calvin to Geneva, to a friendship with Guillaime Farel and the effect of that association upon the faith life of the city. Giving plenty of information in a clear narrative, Elwood help the reader see the inner workings of the renewal of the Church as guided by Calvin.
We are shown the leadership structure of the church and its' basis in Scripture. Then, Elwood provides us with a summary of the main topics in Calvin's great work "Institutes of the Christian Religion". I found the book particularly helpful, here, as Elwood showed that Calvin's approach toward theology stemmed from the view of Anselm: Theology is faith seeking understanding. So, Calvin's approach is to begin with belief; since it is the groundwork of a trusting relationship with God. Then, building upon that belief, we seek to know more and more about God and His will for humankind, including our own lives. If this sounds self-evident, it is because Calvin's view has become the prevalent view in the Presbyterian Church.
One of the best features of the book is the chapter called "Calvin's Children". It looks at those movements and ideas between the time of Calvin and our own time, which may or may not claim Calvin as their forebear. The book is generously illustrated with drawings that catch the spirit of the text, conveying information in a way that is lively and often humorous. It is part of "The Armchair Series" published by Westminster - John Knox Press that has grown to include titles about Augustine, Wesley, Luther, Aquinas and The Reformation.
If you find this review helpful you might want to read some of my other reviews, including those on subjects ranging from biography to architecture, as well as religion and fiction.
Clear Dec 16, 2005
A nicely written sympathetic exposition of the basics of Calvin's thought and life. Very helpful on predestination. Essential background for understanding the Reformation well explained.
Well written and easy to understand Jul 22, 2005
I am a seminary student and found Calvin for Armchair Theologians to be well written and easy to read. This is an excellent book and covers Calvin's life, theology and the effect on the post modern world. I would highly recommend it.