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John Calvin: After Darkness Light (Trailblazers) Mass Market Paperback – January 20, 2009
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"You have hit the high spots of Calvin's story in a very telling way. The book will go into the junior section of our church library, and I hope it will make its impact there....Keep writing. Keep publishing." (J. I. Packer ~ Well known author & Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada)
"The 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth has already produced some excellent material on Calvin However, perhaps one of the most useful has been published by Christian Focus in the Trailblazers series, in which Catherine Mackenzie has added to her repertoire of children's books by writing a young people's life of John Calvin. Ater Darkness Light is an extremely readable, short biography of Calvin, which I am sure many of our adults would also enjoy." (Reformation 21 blog)
This chronicle on Calvin will delightfully enlighten you about this influential reformer. (Josh Van Eyk)
About the Author
Catherine MacKenzie has written several biographies for young teens in the Trailblazers series as well as other titles for younger children. She lives in Scotland and has several nieces and nephews - a perfect practice audience!
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Top Customer Reviews
This particular biography is very well written from the start as it tells the story of John Calvin in narrative form. Some creative liberties are taken by Mackenzie, but overall they don't detract from, or change the real substance of the story of Calvin's life; the well-paced narrative puts Calvin in historical context and brings to life the wondrous work God brought accomplished through the reformers.The quality of the storytelling is truly a valuable mark for this little book. For example, the opening sentences read,
"Thundering hooves clattered along the cobbled streets. The heaving breath of a hard ridden horse left soft clouds of steam in the rider's wake [...] Occasional street torches cast a dull amber light at the corners of chapels and inns as the horse and rider rode on - otherwise the city of Noyon was both dark and silent."
Mackenzie doesn't divorce theological study and debate from real-life adventure. The Reformation, and Calvin's life took place in the real world, where "thundering hooves" of horses "clattered on cobbled streets." Theology doesn't just affect the intellectual world, it affects everything. And the way Mackenzie tells her story reinforces this, and is what she shows about Calvin's life - that knowing God rightly is truly an adventure, affecting all of life. Her storytelling is very, very important.
The book really is part biography, part theological study. Again, it's wonderful how Mackenzie combines the storytelling of Calvin's life, with the important theological truths that he defended. The heavy theology could also be seen as a drawback, as there are parts where Calvin takes an aside with another character, together expounding or conversing over a point of theological debate. The downside would be that it interrupts the flow of the story, but it's really pretty valuable all the same.
Mackenzie even goes so far as to include an appendix at the end of the book, explaining the Doctrines of Grace in case readers are wondering about Reformed theology at all, which they probably won't be after the clear treatment of Calvin's theology they've already had in the book proper. The storytelling, and the theology are robust and biblical.