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Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper Paperback – October 18, 2002
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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).
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one terrific book! I highly recommend it, especially for seminarians, ruling elders, and pastors (but also for any Christian who simply desires to better understand a very... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andrew P. Schreiber
I purchased the book, but I cannot seem to get myself beyond the content of the first two chapters. It is heavy in Christian jargon and terms without definition (What the heck are... Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by S. P.
I found Mathison's book to be thorough, objective and clear. Having been a memorialist when it comes to the Lord's Supper all my life, until this last year when I started... Read morePublished on December 7, 2013 by Doug
I thoroughly enjoyed the content of Dr. Mathison's book. However, I purchased the Kindle edition which was very difficult to read. Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by Amazon Customer
A very Scriptural and accessible presentation of the history of the Lord's Supper and current views/practices in the church today;. Read morePublished on September 13, 2013 by Donna M
keith Matheson explains very clearly the view of Calvin as well as the historical views of communion. It is quite helpful to understand what happens in the sacrifice.Published on May 27, 2013 by Terence Murdock
The content is a bit difficult for the average reader, but I am grateful for it nonetheless. However, I have never seen such poor quality in any other Kindle product. Read morePublished on February 26, 2013 by Julie N. Olive
If you want to understand the theology behind ordinances and biblical promise, this is the "go-to" book!
I couldn't put it down!