John Calvin has been the subject of widespread misunderstanding and misinterpretation. He is a figure whom other theologians either seek to “capture” to endorse their own, often very different, positions or whom they seek to vilify. Calvin: A Guide for the Perplexed attempts to “re-situate” Calvin by providing a mid-level introduction to his thought. As befits the series, special attention is given to Calvin’s thought, not on his character or career. The focus here is not only on Calvin’s theological positions, but also on the philosophy intertwined within them, the significance of which is often overlooked.
Paul Helm’s guide to Calvin’s thought provides an ideal beginning for those wanting to tackle the thought of the great Genevan Reformer for the first time—particularly those interested in the philosophical-theological ideas informing Calvin’s system. Sure-footed and careful in exposition, and characteristically clear and generous in style, Helm brings to bear his considerable knowledge of Calvin’s work in this short introduction. Students and scholars alike will greatly benefit from it.
—Oliver Crisp, Bristol University, UK
Paul Helm has provided us with a first class introduction to Calvin’s thought in all its grandeur and breadth. There is certainly more to Calvin than predestination. He gives us invaluable insight into the nature of biblical revelation, the Trinity, and Christ in his offices of Prophet, Priest and King. His teaching on salvation through union with Christ, and the gift of ‘double grace’ in him, is especially helpful. What he has to say on living the Christian life is full of practical wisdom. This guide will help the perplexed. I hope that it will also stimulate the reader to get better acquainted with the theological legacy of John Calvin, great Genevan Reformer.
—Guy Davies, The Exiled Preacher Blog
Helm has the ability to write concisely and accessibly about difficult theological problems. Reading his thoughts on Calvin, I sometimes had the impression that it would have been helpful if Calvin had been able to read Helm. Maybe he would have understood himself somewhat better.... These latter remarks are intended to underline the quality of Helm... philosophical-theological introduction to Calvin.
—Journal of Reformed Theology 4
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Paul Helm is J. I. Packer Professor in Theology and Philosophy at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.