John Calvin has been the subject of numerous interpretative studies, but most have focused on only one aspect of his thought or a limited selection of his writings. Randall Zachman’s work on the reformer, however, adopts a uniquely holistic approach.
After a brief biographical chapter, Zachman provides a distinctive introduction to Calvin’s theological and exegetical writings, working from the reformer’s own understanding of his ministry as a teacher and pastor. Zachman then turns to consider Calvin the theologian. Despite the Reformation’s opposition to the use of images in the church, Calvin always balanced verbal proclamation with the idea of a visible manifestation of God—both in creation and in Christ. In this regard, Zachman analyzes Calvin’s analogical theology and contrasts it with the thought of Martin Luther.
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This is a remarkably fresh and comprehensive study of the ministry and theology of the Genevan reformer, John Calvin. Randall Zachman has read widely in the whole Calvinian corpus as well as among the relevant secondary literature. He also places many of the topics discussed in their historical context, contrasting Calvin’s views with other reformers such as Luther and Melanchthon. The result is a very readable treatise that will be of interest not only to Calvin specialists but also to students and pastors. It is a major contribution to Calvin studies.
—I. John Hesselink, Emeritus Albertus C. Van Raalte Professor of Systematic Theology, Western Theological Seminary
This valuable collection of essays brings together in one volume the fruit of many years of careful study of Calvin. It will be a welcome addition to the libraries of all with a special interest in the reformer.
—A.N.S. Lane, professor of historical theology, London School of Theology
Randall Zachman brings to this book the kind of bite that makes for excellent intellectual history. Its most distinctive feature is a crisp pattern of organization, using John Calvin’s own writings to analyze in a fresh and persuasive way Calvin’s work—first as a teacher helping educated men become pastors, next as a pastor helping the laity understand basic Christianity, and finally as a theologian emphasizing the role of imagery in understanding what biblical Christianity is all about. The end result should be a deeper appreciation and a fuller understanding of the man who is the most influential architect of modern Reformed Christianity.
—Robert M. Kingdon, emeritus professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Madison