31 Days, 31 Books
The year 2009 saw lots of great books on Calvin and Calvinism come out. That year was the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth. Celebrations and conferences took place all over the world. Of course, one of the most noted conferences was in Geneva, Switzerland where Calvin scholars, theologians, and pastors gathered for a great time of praising God in commemorating Calvin’s work. The conference in Texarkana, Arkansas where I spoke along with Pastor Curtis Thomas, coauthor of The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Documented, and Defended, and Pastor Martin Rizley.
John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology was one of the fine books published that year. As can be seen in the picture above, the contributors were a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ among Reformed and Calvinistic thinkers and writers. Men who would disagree here and there on other issues, joined in contributing thoughtful essays on Calvin. Contributors included such men as Jay Adams, Joel Beeke, Jerry Bridges, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, D. G. Hart, Michael Horton, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, and Philip Graham Ryken. I really enjoyed this book, and I could probably profit for another scan and read through it.
A book of a very different nature was John Calvin’s American Legacy, edited by Thomas J. Davis and published by Oxford University Press. This book consists of some very scholarly essays on the impact of Calvinism on American history and culture. Through the years, the intent of many has been to modify, deny, attack, or reinvent the legacy of Calvinism. This is not a book one reads in order to find confirmation of doctrine and practice, but it is still a useful resource. My friend Curtis Schrock did an extensive review of this book, which he calls a great read, on his blog, which can be read here.
Here is a cut and paste of the table of contents:
Introduction, by Thomas J. Davis
Section I John Calvin, Calvinism, and American Society
Chapter 1 Calvin and the Social Order in Early America: Moral Ideals and Transatlantic Empire, by Mark Valeri
Chapter 2 Calvinism and American National Identity, by David Little
Chapter 3 Implausible: Calvinism and American Politics, by D. G. Hart
Section II John Calvin, Calvinism, and American Theology
Chapter 4 Practical Ecclesiology in John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards, by Amy Plantinga Pauw
Chapter 5 “Falling Away from the General Faith of the Reformation”? The Contest over Calvinism in Nineteenth-Century America, by Douglas A. Sweeney
Chapter 6 Calvin and Calvinism within Congregational and Unitarian Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America, by David D. Hall
Chapter 7 Whose Calvin, Which Calvinism? John Calvin and the Development of Twentieth-Century American Theology, by Stephen D. Crocco
Section III John Calvin, Calvinism, and American Letters
Chapter 8 “Strange Providence”: Indigenist Calvinism in the Writings of Mohegan Minister Samson Occom (1723-1792), by Denise T. Askin
Chapter 9 Geneva’s Crystalline Clarity: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Max Weber on Calvinism and the American Character, by Peter J. Thuesen
Chapter 10 “Jonathan Edwards, Calvin, Baxter & Co.”: Mark Twain and the Comedy of Calvinism, by Joe B. Fulton
Chapter 11 Cold Comforts: John Updike, Protestant Thought and the Semantics of Paradox, by Kyle A. Pasewark