Thursday Book Review – Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1

Good afternoon, dear ones, I hope this post has found you all well! I’m so excited about reviewing this book today, and I can’t wait to finish the rest of the books in the Institutes. I was actually really nervous when I began reading this book, assuming from the start that there must be some sort of scandalous teaching within. I suppose to the man-centered prosperity peddling churches I spent so much time in before being born again, it would have been terribly scandalous. This is probably why I put off reading it for so long, I don’t like contention. However, recently I saw someone on social media assert that Calvinists, also known as Reformed, follow a false god. That was awfully grievous to see, I have many friends who are Calvinists, some of you are probably reading this right now. Besides that, I’ve researched Calvin’s life and read some of his other writings and held a great deal of respect for him. Did this book change my mind, or in the least explain why anyone would consider it idolatry?

The answer, simply, is no. I didn’t read anything in this book that I haven’t read in Owens, Edwards, or Spurgeons work. Throughout each chapter I found nothing scandalous whatsoever, though he rightly hits the Roman Catholic Church hard for their falsehoods. He also deals with many others who had strayed from the Bible, and refutes them with the full counsel of Gods Word. I saw no Scripture taken out of context, or a point made without Biblical backup. In short, I can see no evidence for the assertion made on social media. Also, I must say, this book is an absolute delight!

The Institute was first published by John Calvin in 1536, though he continued updating it until 1560, when it’s final edition was published. There are four books, each tackling different major theological issues, patterned after the Apostles Creed. It helped me to think more deeply about God, and His sovereign will. Calvin’s love for God, Gods Word, and Gods people are clear in his writing, and were a genuine encouragement to me. His explanations were thorough, yet easy to understand, even for someone like me! I hope that more people will read his writings before accusing him of being a false brother, and before accusing those who admire him of following a false god. I, personally, can not wait to read the other books and review them for you all.

Beloved, we should never glorify any one man, all glory goes to God, as Calvin himself would have wanted. I can’t imagine he would take to kindly to having a group named after him. In fact, woven between Scripture, he speaks of Church fathers, and believers who had come and gone long before his time. It is a blessing that we’re able to read his, and so many others writings today with a click of a button. It seems a shame not to take advantage of that wonderful opportunity. You can find all four books of the Institutes of the Christian Religion in audio, pdf download, and online here. The kindle version is only a dollar here, and a relatively cheap paperback can be purchased here. I hope this review was helpful, my friends, as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Author: lnhereford

I am a Christian, wife, mother, podcaster and homeschooler currently traveling the United States with my loving husband and darling daughter!

15 thoughts on “Thursday Book Review – Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1”

    1. I’ve heard of that book, None Dare Call It Heresy. I think I listened to a Paul Flynn review of it a while back. I’ll have to read it, it’s always good to know both sides. Thank you, sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sister, I in fact did read the original None Dare Call It Treason back in the 1970s because I was big into right-wing conspiracy theories at the time.

    But getting back to Calvin, thanks for the review of the first volume of his Institutes! I hope to get to them someday. I may not agree with Calvin on every detail of theology, but I know we’re both saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone The Lord used Calvin, and Luther, and Zwingli (and obviously many other Reformers) in a mighty way to begin turning the church back to the Gospel of grace. Those believers who portray Calvin as a villain are not looking at church history from a wide perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No kidding? How funny! It did look like a pretty interesting read, I use to love those conspiracy theories as well.
      I really appreciate your perspective on this, brother. You’re always so well balanced on these issues, even when you might not agree you show respect and love for your brethren. It’s a fantastic example to me! You’ve made such a great point, too, about church history. It’s so easy to look back and frown on our brothers and sisters, without understanding the historical perspective. May the Lord bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much, sister! All praise to the Lord for the experiences He accompanies us through. I guess starting out at a very hardcore, fundamentalist church and seeing all the negative messages and behaviors caused me to be less dogmatic about some of the secondaries, but absolutely no compromising on the Gospel of grace! Yes, Calvin and the others took a HUGE step away from Roman error at the time with great risk to themselves. It’s unfair to judge them from our perspective after 500 more years of reforms. Thank you and Lord bless you in your service to Him! I appreciate your delving into this kind of solid material. There’s way too much “cotton candy Christianity” out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, sister! Yup, new believers should definitely stay in the “shallow end” and get a grounding in the Word, but I see a lot of older Christians staying at the “Our Daily Bread” level. Not that there’s not good counsel in such things, but as you say, there’s not a lot of substance either.
        RE: melts under pressure.
        Right, their faith is so fragile and superficial that any temporal upheaval will rock their world (I speak from experience). I think these folks are also very prone to accommodating and accepting error.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pastor Jim! I can hardly believe these books are available for free. Such a blessing! When we settle down and stop traveling this will be one of the books I get in paperback. Calvin makes it easy to read and take notes, since he explains at the beginning of every chapter what he’s going to be talking about. But with my dyslexia, it’s easier for me to take notes with the book in front of me. For some reason computer screens make it harder.
      I have a feeling the Institutes are going to make my top ten, there’s so much he explains that I’ve been confused about!

      Liked by 1 person

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