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Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper Paperback – October 18, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best and most comprehensive treatment of the Reformed doctrine of the Lord's Supper I have ever seen . . . a genuine 'must read' book." --R. C. Sproul

"Argues cogently for the liturgical significance of returning to Calvin's richly nuanced view of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament." --David E. Holwerda

"I know of no other book that combines solid research, pastoral concern, polemical edge, and attention to oft-forgotten biblical passages with such skill. Any informed decision on the Supper will need to include a careful reading of this volume." --Michael S. Horton

About the Author

Keith A. Mathison (MA, Reformed Theological Seminary; PhD, Whitefield Theological Seminary) is dean of the Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies and an associate editor of Tabletalk magazine at Ligonier Ministries. He is the author of Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God?; Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope; The Shape of Sola Scriptura; and Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper. He is editor of When Shall These Things Be: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism and associate editor of The Reformation Study Bible. He lives in Lake Mary, Florida, with his wife and children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (October 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087552186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875521862
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Geoffrey S. Robinson on December 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dr. Keith Mathison has produced an excellent followup to his last excellent work, the Shape of Sola Scriptura. Like that work, this book is concerned with recovering the richness of doctrine from the Reformation. Here, the author is recovering, defending, and defining Calvin's view of the Eucharist. Calvin's view involves the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. Since he doesn't fall into transubstantiation Roman Catholics will think he denies the Real Presence. Since most Protestants (including the Reformed) deny any sort of Real Presence, this will seem weird at best, Romish at worst.
This book fits into a general category I would call "the catholic Reformed" movement. There is a significant and growing number of people who are Reformed but at the same time more broadly catholic. In other words, they are connected to and give consideration to the church prior to the Reformation. Also, the catholic Reformed (and some others) have views closer to the original Reformers than many modern Reformed, although these two groups still share a lot in common. There are a variety of reasons for this, but this book cannot be understood apart from this context.
This book is written primarily for those who are Reformed, so all can recover the richness of Calvin's doctrine. Almost immediately into the book, Dr. Matthison covers the original Reformed Eucharistic beliefs and how a divergence from those beliefs came about. If you are not Reformed, would you care about this? Probably not. If you are arguing about fidelity to the Westminster Confessions, etc., this matters.
Dr. Matthison then goes on to give a biblical defense of his position. He also critiques other views. He gives a wonderful, but short, critique of the Roman Catholic position.
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Format: Paperback
Keith Mathison does an excellent job of conveying the history and meaning behind the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper. In an era when Christians seem to think the religion was founded at their conversion this book gives an excellent overview of our heritage. Mathison also delves into the reason why most confessional churches have dropped the weekly observance of this very important Sacrament.

I do have one very serious problem with the book however and that is why I gave it only three stars. In the first chapter Mathison quotes prolifically from Calvin's Institutes, book 4, chapters 14 & 17, to lay down the foundation for his argument. Unfortunately he makes it sound as if Calvin believed that absolutely NOTHING happens to the unbelieving heathen who partakes despite the warnings not to. This is not what Calvin believed at all as is evidenced from the very chapters Mathison quoted so freely from.

I will use two sections here for brevity's sake and advise you to read Calvin's Institutes along with the book.

1)Mathison quotes from 4.14.7 to prove that the Supper is only "effective" to the one who takes it with a believing heart. But Calvin does state in that section that "The wicked incur a heavier condemnation [for partaking]"

2)Two pages later he quotes Calvin's quote of Augustine, "In the elect alone the sacraments effect what they represent." He fails to quote further where Augustine is quoted as saying, "...the Lord's morsel was poison to Judas, not because he received evil, but because and evil man evilly received a good thing."

There are several more omissions that I encourage readers to look up.
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Mathison's Given For You on Calvin's view of the Supper is a must have. Not overly profound; reads kind of like a really, really good, long seminary paper, and occasionally cliched. But about as good of an overview as I've seen. Lots of nice, clearly outlined, short sub-chapters. Makes a good argument for wine in the Meal and even for paedo-communion. The part on Nevin is especially good. He also shows there were important differences on the meal between fellow Princeton theologians (as well as between fellow Scottish theologians, Southern, etc.). Because he wrote a book on postmillennialism I had avoided this one for some time, but I'm glad I gave him a chance.

Three other books to consider: NT Wright's The Meal Jesus Gave Us; Peter Leithart's Blessed are the Hungry; and Robert Letham's one (Letham gives a counter-balance to Mathison on the Paedo-communion stuff).
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book an a whim and was very glad that I did. Mathison has done contemporary Christianity a service buy publishing this work.
He gives the reader a solid background in the issues concerning the Reformation debate on the Eucharist. In it, I believe, he vindicates the three major players - Luther, Zwingli and Calvin - explaining how Calvin wasn't as far from Luther and how Zwingli eventually came over the Calvin's position. Thus almost unifying the magesterial reformers on such an important reformational topic.
Mathison also gives us a masterful look at post-reformation thought on the issue, citing all of the major confessions and catechisms from the Reformation to today - as well as looking at major theologians throughout church history.
The one drawback was his treatment of Jonathan Edwards - which is understandable considering the only published sermons of Edwards on the Supper make him appear Zwingliian. However there are a series of unpublished sermons on the Lord's Supper that clearly prove that Edwards was a Calvinist when it came to this means of grace. There is an excellent article in Pro Ecclesia - A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology (Vol. vii - No. 3 - Summer 98) by William J. Danaher, Jr. that exposes Edwards for the Calvinist that he is.
Also, it would be nice in a subsequent edition if Mathison would highlight the view of the early Particular Baptists which was undoubtedly Calvinistic - as opposed to some of the later one's who developed a memorialist view.
Mathison's exegesis of Old and New Testament texts enlighten the reader to see how Biblical Calvin's view is. We would do well to harken to Mathison's exhortation to return to this rich view of the Supper.
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