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Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever (Horton)

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John Calvin, a man adored by some and maligned by others, stands as a legendary figure in Christian history. In Calvin on the Christian Life, professor Michael Horton offers us fresh insights into the Reformer’s personal piety and practical theology by allowing Calvin to speak in his own words.

Drawing not only from his Institutes and biblical commentaries, but also from lesser-known tracts, treatises, and letters, this book will deepen your understanding of Calvin’s theology and ministry by exploring the heart of his spiritual life: confident trust and unwavering joy in the sovereign grace of God.

Table of Contents:

1.  John Calvin on the Christian Life: An Introduction
2.  Calvin on the Christian Life: In Context
Part 1: Living before God3.  Knowing God and Ourselves
4.  Actors and Plot
Part 2: Living in God
5.  Christ the Mediator
6.  Gifts of Union with Christ
Part 3: Living in the Body
7.  How God Delivers His Grace
8.  The Public Service as a “Celestial Theater” of Grace
9.  Bold Access: Prayer as “The Chief Exercise of Faith”
10. Law and Liberty in the Christian Life
11. God’s New Society
Part 4: Living in the World
12. Christ and Caesar: The Two Kingdoms
13. Vocation: Where Good Works Go
14. Living Today from the Future: The Hope of Glory



Michael Horton (PhD, University of Coventry and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) is the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary in California. In addition to being the author of many popular and academic books, he is also the editor in chief of Modern Reformationmagazine, a host of the White Horse Innradio broadcast, and a minister in the United Reformed Churches.



“Be warned. This looks like a book on how Calvin thought about living the Christian life. But open it and you will discover that Mike Horton is driving you on a grand Calvin tour of the whole of theology. And that, of course, is Professor Horton’s (and John Calvin’s) point: it takes the whole biblical gospel to make a whole Christian life. By employing the classical formulation of the two natures of Christ (‘distinct but not separate’), Dr. Horton provides readers with a key to help unlock Calvin’s teaching. But more than that, he shows why the Genevan Reformer’s vision of the Christian life remains unsurpassed. Thoroughly satisfying, thoroughly enjoyable, and thoroughly recommended.” — Sinclair B. Ferguson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas

“Learned and lucid, masterfully organized, and vigorously expressed, this full, solid, and exact study of Geneva’s reforming pastor is an outstanding piece of work. In all four sections Calvin comes to vigorous life. Calvin’s reputation for godly wisdom, and Horton’s for vivid writing, will certainly be enhanced.” — J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

Calvin on the Christian Life provides an amazingly personal and comprehensive portrait of the Reformer’s passions and positions, constantly connecting them to issues of belief and practice in our day. Far more than a synthesis of Calvin’s thought and practice, this book provides readers with an intimate glimpse into his private piety.” — Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series

“Scholar and pastor Michael Horton has provided us with a well-researched introduction to John Calvin’s doctrine of piety—Calvin’s word for the reverence and love that the gospel produces in all our relationships. One of the most intriguing aspects of Horton’s book is the way he traces the theme of ‘distinction without separation’ through the Christian life, whether with respect to the two natures of Christ, grace and the sacraments, or church and state. This book will enlighten beginners and refresh and challenge veterans in the field.” — Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“Making use of the most recent in Reformation research, as well as letting the sources speak for themselves, Michael Horton gives us a wonderful overview of how John Calvin saw the life of the Christian. The book demonstrates the open attitude Calvin had toward living in this world and does away with the caricatures that still surround this Reformer. Horton’s book is both academic and practical—a rare but very welcome combination.” — Herman Selderhuis, Professor of Church History, Theological University of Apeldoorn; Director, Refo500, The Netherlands