Portrait of Calvin

Foreword by John Piper

by T. H. L. Parker

John Calvin's essential harmony is remarkable. There are dissonances that strain the harmony, but in spite of them — and within the limits of sinful mortality — the unity of his life is astounding. His thoughts, his actions, and his intentions point in the same direction. As he thought, so he lived. And so he bore lifelong, visible witness to the gospel he preached.

Calvin has his place in history, of course. But his words and his life point beyond himself to where the crucified and risen Christ sits at the right hand of God. Before he died, he saw to it that there should be no posthumous canonization. He left orders that he should be buried in an unmarked grave. So his death and burial where of one piece with his life. Calvin bent all his energies in life and death to making Jesus Christ alone great, and making that greatness visible.

In his foreword, John Piper writes, "I am eager for people to know Calvin not because he was without flaws, or because he was the most influential theologian of the last 500 years (which he was), or because he shaped Western culture (which he did), but because he took the Bible so seriously, and because what he saw on every page was the majesty of God and the glory of Christ."

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First Publication 1954 (S.C.M. Press, Ltd)
Republished 2009 (Desiring God)


Table of Contents

Foreword by John Piper

I. The Training of a Reformer
II. The First Attempts
III. Man of Letters
IV. The Theologian
V. Number Eleven, Rue des Chanoines
VI. Minister of the Word of God
VII. The Conflict of the Word
VIII. Th Ecumenical Churchman

Last Words