This selection of the writings of John Calvin (1509—1564) is the first for general readers to appear in many years. It showcases his powerful legacy, which has had far-reaching consequences for the development of religion and culture in Western Europe and in the shaping of American identity. Calvin was a prodigious preacher and writer, and his sermons, Bible commentaries, tracts, and letters fill dozens of volumes. The works chosen for John Calvin: Steward of God’s Covenant highlight ideas central to the Reformation but also to his influence on modern life, e.g., the importance of a work ethic and the notion of being “called” to action in the world; his belief in universal education for boys and girls; and his belief in the sanctity and freedom of individual conscience. Calvin’s theology of the “elect” of God motivated the English and Dutch Calvinists who settled the Atlantic seaboard, their Promised Land. The traditions of their communities and churches and laws produced the widespread present-day American belief in a divinely favored national destiny.
In her brilliant preface to this edition, Pulitzer Prize—winning novelist Marilynne Robinson makes the clearest connection between John Calvin’s own biblical and patristic heritage and the heritage he in turn left the modern world.
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