John Calvin The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin’s Institutes Is a monumental work of systematic theology. It was the first Protestant systematic theology and has been widely influential and a governing influence in many churches even today. This long (1000 pages) and at places dense work will be difficult for some to wade through. I found the book to be more devotional than I anticipated. Calvin often steps away from what many would think of as theology to meditate on God and what it means to be in relationship with God. These places are especially worthwhile, and are scattered throughout the book. It is also helpful to read Calvin’s defense of many aspects of theology which are implicitly believed by many churches, and consequently poorly understood. There are parts of this work which are tedious and dated (something to be expected); but, the detriments should not prevent anyone from at least gaining a cursory knowledge of the work. If the length frightens you, look into a solid abridgment or audio format.

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