Subscribe now

Zeal for Godliness

By Stephen J. Nichols
May 2013 | Review by Michael Bentley
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0-85234-758-4
  • Pages: 272
  • Price: 14.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Zeal for godliness
Carl Trueman at al
EP Books
272 pages
ISBN: 978-0-85234-758-4
Star rating : 4

This book is a delight, in its production and cover design, and especially in its contents. It consists of 253 readings from Calvin’s great Institutes of the Christian religion. But it is not a mere selection of quotations from the book; its subtitle tells us it is ‘Devotional meditations on Calvin’s Institutes’.
The book began life in 2009 as ‘Blogging through the Institutes’. It is divided into short (one page) daily readings, which are little essays on particular sections of the Institutes.
Thirteen different preachers and theologians have written contemporary comments on Calvin’s book. They include Sinclair Ferguson, Paul Helm and Derek Thomas. Because Calvin’s work was written during the Reformation, there are naturally many refutations of Roman Catholic doctrines and practices.
Sinclair Ferguson, writing about Calvin’s view of the Sabbath, tells us that, ‘for Calvin, there is no twenty-four-hour time slot more inherently holy than any other; just as there is no place or space that is more inherently holy than another’ (p.80).
After dealing with objections to the doctrines of election and predestination, Stephen Nichols tells us that the great Reformer states, ‘Every believer embraces and shares a gospel of mercy’. This is the gospel of God’s electing grace, where ‘mercy appears on every side’ (p.180).
For this reviewer, the most thought-provoking sections were those on baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Calvin’s view of infant baptism is dealt with at length, as are the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the Lutheran one of consubstantiation (pp. 233-259).
This is a book to buy and study. It would be especially profitable as holiday reading or when travelling on long journeys.

Michael Bentley

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…