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The Soul of Life: The Piety of John Calvin (Profiles in Reformed Spirituality) Paperback – February 1, 2009
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By any measurement John Calvin was one of the most remarkable and influential figures in all church history. His was truly a purpose-driven ministry. As a preacher he was committed to systematic biblical exposition, as a lecturer in Scripture to careful and wise teaching, as a pastor to deep personal care, and as an international leader, to the encouragement of other ministers. Few men today understand such a multi-dimensional life program as well as Dr. Joel Beeke, whose own ministry echoes Calvin's in many ways. He is the ideal guide to introduce us to Calvin. And The Soul of Life is an ideal guidebook. Read on, and you will want to read more. --Sinclair B. Ferguson, Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina
About the Author
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
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Joel Beeke wrote the great historical introduction, which serves as a concise and clear summary of some of the main points and teachings of Calvin. The intro is perfect for people who have never read about Calvin, but want an easy to read yet scholarly display of the genius and piety of Calvin. In the intro, Beeke also notes the order of the book - the defintion and goal of piety, including the parts of piety: 1) the root of piety - mystical union, 2) its double bond - the Spirit and faith, and 3) its double cleansing - justification and sanctification. There is also a discussion of prayer, repentance, cross bearing, obedience, and heavenly mindedness.
Beeke notes those things in the intro because that is how he structured the book. Basically, the book is a topically arranged selection of very brief snippets of Calvin on the above themes. It is perfect for a short daily devotional - each selection is less than two pages. Reading Calvin is not always easy, but in these smaller portions it is not quite as daunting for the beginner.
In summary, this book is a great intro to who Calvin was and his emphasis on godly living - in his own words. I recommend it for personal and church libraries. It is a smaller book perfect to read once then pass around to friends.