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Calvin for Armchair Theologians (Armchair Theologians)

By Christopher Elwood (Author) & Simon Vance (Narrated by)
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Item description for Calvin for Armchair Theologians (Armchair Theologians) by Christopher Elwood & Simon Vance...

In this concise introduction to Calvin's life and thought, Elwood offers an insightful and accessible overview of Calvin's key teachings within its historical context. This is an engaging look at an all-important theologian.

Publishers Description
In this concise introduction to Calvin's life and thought, 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 given with special attention 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. Christopher Elwood is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological SEMInary. He is the author of The Body Broken: The Calvinist Doctrine of the Eucharist and the Symbolization of Power in Sixteenth-Century France.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Hovel Audio
Pages   1
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.48" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.33 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Nov 1, 2005
Publisher   Hovel Audio
Edition  Unabridged  
Series  Armchair Theologians  
ISBN  1596441968  
ISBN13  9781596441965  

Availability  0 units.

More About Christopher Elwood & Simon Vance

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christopher Elwood is Professor of Historical Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Christopher Elwood has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Armchair Theologians

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Calvinist
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

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Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography

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Reviews - What do customers think about Calvin for Armchair Theologians?

Enjoyable and Accessible Theology  Oct 21, 2008
The "Armchair Theologian" series holds great promise for making theology enjoyable and readable for laypeople. This series is similar to IVP Histories in that it generally focuses on theological giants or important historical periods. But where IVP offers terrific pictures, icons, and brief commentary - "Armchair Theologians" specializes in making tough theological concepts easy to understand while showing their relevance for society today.

Calvin for Armchair Theologians focuses on the life of John Calvin. The first two chapters are biographical. The longest chapter in the book distills the major emphases from Calvin's Institutes and lays out the main points of his teaching. The later chapters show Calvin in debates with other theologians before closing with a chapter on the "children" of Calvin and the influence of the Calvinist heritage on Western civilization.

Calvin for Armchair Theologians is easy-to-read and provides a quick overview of Calvin's life and teaching. The author points out some of Calvin's doctrines which were emphasized more by his followers than by Calvin himself (predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The summarization of Calvin's Institutes is "brief" (considering the enormity of that book), but still very helpful. And the illustrations are meant to provide humor, keeping the reading light-hearted.

I look forward to picking up some of the other volumes in the Armchair Theologian series. Surely, there are more important works out there on Calvin's life and legacy, but for the reader who's just getting started, this will do just fine.
Calvin Rising   Nov 24, 2007
This is book is especially designed for those for those who have heard many things about Calvin, but never read anything by him. The book begins with Calvin's formative years as a humanist and an advocate of the Reformation. With the move to Basel and then later Geneva, Calvin began his career as a theological writer. Much controversy has been given to Calvin's teachings regarding predestination, and TULIP as if this was the heart and soul of his teachings. It was interesting to discover that Calvin spilled much ink about the pre-eminence of the Creator God, the person and work of Christ, and the importance of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

Another point of appreciation of Elwood's book is what was done with Calvin's teachings after his death regarding its influence in not just theology, and church hierarchy, but also in both government and society.

This book was concise and well pressented. It presents just enough information to whet one's appetite for further reading for one of western civilization's greatest 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.


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