Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blogging the Institutes in 2009

I'm really excited about what Reformation21 is planning to do in 2009: blog through Calvin's Institutes. They'll soon post a reading schedule so that you can read through the entire thing with us.

I'll be joining the other Ref21 contributors--Ligon Duncan, Derek Thomas, Carl Trueman, Iain Campbell, Steve Nichols, Thabiti Anyabwile, Phil Ryken, Rick Phillips, and Sean Lucas--in providing a 250-word summary/reflection each day of the week from the Institutes. Paul Helm and Sinclair Ferguson will also help us blog through it.

Here's a good snippet from Derek Thomas on why he appreciates Calvin so much:
What is it about Calvin that so inspires me? This: his disciplined style, his determination never to speculate, his utter submission to Bible words as God's words, his submission to Christ's Lordship, his sense of the holy, his concern to be as practical as possible; the fact that godly living was his aim and not theology for the sake of it. In a forest of theologians, Calvin stands like a Californian Redwood, towering over everyone else.
He also has a good word here:
I know that the word 'Calvinist' is a theological swear-word in some circles. I am convinced that folk who use the word that way have never read Calvin at all! They may have read about him; but they have not read the careful, reverential way in which he wrote.
Read the whole thing for some clarification about the way, for example, that Calvin approached predestination.

Ligon Duncan offers a Top 10 reasons to read the Institutes this year:
1. Because it the most important book written in the last 500 years.

2. Because it is foundational for every Reformed systematic theology ever since.

3. Because Calvin was the best exegete in the history of Christianity.

4. Because Calvin is one of the five greatest theologians in Christian history.

5. Because he wrote it as a "sum of piety" not as an arid, speculative, dogmatic treatise.

6. Because it gave J.I. Packer the idea for Knowing God.

7. Because Calvin thought and wrote succintly and clearly. "Brevitas et claritas" was his motto - brief and clear!

8. Because you will know God better, if you read it prayerfully and believingly.

9. Because it's the 500th anniversary year of Calvin's birthday. Don't be a party pooper.

10. Because I agree with what Derek and Iain say in their posts.

If you don't own a copy of Institues, you can get the 2-volume set from Westminster for 35% off. It also may not be a bad idea to also pick up a copy of A Theological Guide to Calvin's Institutes.

To subscribe to Ref21's Blogging through the Institutes, click here. You can also get it by email if you click here and scroll down to the bottom.