The Life of John Calvin
W. J. Grier
Banner of Truth, 166 pages, £6.00
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