Friday, 12 November 2010

A Calvin marathon . . . . .

For the past couple of months, I've been meeting with two really good friends to study John Calvin's, Institiutes of the Christian Religion (1536). We reached our first milestone last night - getting to the end of book one, the book that deals with the knowledge of God as creator, preserver and governor of the world.

The whole enterprise was a bit daunting at first, the most up-to-date edition of the Institutes runs to almost 2,000 pages in length, but we're using a really excellent study guide, Anthony N. S. Lane's, A Reader's Guide to Calvin's Institutes (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009). This helpfully breaks up the original text into thirty studies, pin-pointing the key sections of the Institutes to read each week, rather than face the onerous task of reading through some of the more obscures and rhetorical sections, not to mention all the anti-Catholic bits too!

A different one of us leads each week, summarising the content of the section and asking some key questions to get our discussion going. It didn't take us too long to get into the swing of it, and to begin to grapple with some of the hard questions. Last night's session on providence proved particuarly thorny, not so much because we disagreed with Calvin, but because we just found the implications of providence as defined by Calvin so all-encompassing as to be staggering!

So next week we start book 2, on the knowledge of God as redeemer. Only another year or so to go . . . .!!

No comments: