Subscribe now

The Life of John Calvin

By W. J. Grier
October 2013 | Review by Paul Brown
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
  • ISBN: 978-1-84871-181-5
  • Pages: 166
  • Price: 6.00
Buy this book »

Book Review

The Life of John Calvin
W. J. Grier
Banner of Truth, 166 pages, £6.00
ISBN: 978-1-84871-181-5
Star Rating : 5

This is an excellent introduction to the life of John Calvin. It also leads us, to some extent, into the heartbeat of the movement of God that we know as the Reformation. It is written by a man in full sympathy with his subject, yet who, with integrity, discusses Calvin’s ‘frailties’ as well as his ‘charms’.
There are 23 chapters. These originally appeared in the Irish Evangelical and were reprinted more recently in the Banner of Truth. Such a large number of chapters in a small paperback means each one can be read in a comparatively short period of time.
There is a timeliness about this publication. We are living in days when the Roman Catholic Church receives much media attention and its UK congregations are being boosted by immigrants.
The large Protestant denominations seem to be increasingly accommodating to Catholicism. Here, however, is a man who tells us, ‘Since I was too obstinately devoted to the superstition of popery to be easily extricated from so profound an abyss of mire, God by a sudden [possibly meaning ‘unexpected’] conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame’.
From that time on, through great dangers and, in spite of a naturally retiring disposition, Calvin served God with an unflinching faithfulness. His 54 years of life were packed with incident and unbelievable labours, as this book so clearly and movingly explains.
His life rebukes our own timidity and lack of faith. His vision of the greatness and glory of God, and his unswerving faithfulness and honesty in handling the Word of God, urgently call today’s Christians and pastors to follow in his steps.
The author, W. J. Grier, was a gracious and faithful man of God, who stood firmly for the Word of God and the Reformed faith in his native Northern Ireland. Those who knew him remember him with great affection. This book is a fitting legacy and should prove a blessing to all who read it.
Paul E. Brown
Halton, Lancaster

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Coping with Criticism: Turning pain into blessing
Mostyn Roberts

Have you ever faced criticism and found it painful and difficult to cope with? In this short title, Mostyn Roberts addresses this common problem. The book began as a paper written for a ministers’ fraternal, and was later expanded into…

See all book reviews
The History and Theology of Calvinism
Curt Daniel

This must be the most comprehensive study of the subject available today. It is difficult to think of any aspect of Calvinism that is not covered. It is divided into two major sections. The first covers the history, and ranges…

Searching Our Hearts in Difficult Times
John Owen

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…

An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life
Crawford Gribben

This unusual yet valuable book is not a biography of the influential Puritan. Rather its purpose – which it achieves capably – is ‘to discover the kind of life he hoped his readers would experience’ (p.13). Drawing on Owen’s extensive…