This groundbreaking study offers a sweeping overview and reconsideration of John Calvin’s theology. In Calvin’s Ladder, Julie Canlis recovers some of the common (and neglected) themes that Calvin shared with the early Church Fathers. She shows that his works are soaked in a vibrant theology of “participation,” not unlike the Christian mystical tradition.
A work of both theology and spiritual formation, Calvin’s Ladder suggests a distinct new way of conceiving the relation between God and humanity—challenging not only old caricatures of Calvin but also our own self-portraits.
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“Ascent not only represents the moment when the human Jesus was taken up to his Father but also when all of humanity is opened to this relationship as well.” (Page 2)
“Calvin brilliantly synthesized the two movements of ascent and descent into one primary activity: the ongoing story of God himself with us. God has come as man to stand in for us (descent), and yet as man he also leads us back to the Father (ascent).” (Page 3)
It is rare to find a book that is historically rigorous, theologically rich, lucidly written, and at the same time pastorally engaging: this book by Julie Canlis is all of these. A superb exposition of a theme at the very heart of the Christian life.
—Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School
Canlis gives us a striking interpretation of how Calvin and the Reformation understood the doctrine of salvation—an interpretation of wide ecumenical significance.
—George Hunsinger, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Calvin comes into clear and compelling focus in Julie Canlis’ Calvin’s Ladder as a theologian and pastor who insists that the Christian life at the core is a matter of Christ drawing us into a full participation in all the operations of the Trinity and the community of the church. The academic precision on offer here is in the service of lived, not just argued, theology.
—Eugene H. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College