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5 Things You Didn’t Know about John Calvin (and Should!)

1. Calvin suffered.

He was in constant pain: “headaches, insomnia, shortness of breath (probably due to advanced tuberculosis), coughing fits, hemorrhages, fevers, colitis, kidney stones, hemorrhoids,” according to Alexandre Ganoczy, and “bleeding from the stomach, fever, muscle cramps, nephritis, and gout” to name just a few. Calvin was more than a preacher and theologian—he was a pastor, too. He knew what it meant to suffer, and his writings bear this out.

2. John Calvin and Ignatius of Loyola were classmates at the University of Paris.

Why is this interesting? Because Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus—more commonly known as the Jesuits. The Jesuits were the driving force behind the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that, as the Reformation unfolded, no group opposed Calvin and his successors more than the Jesuits.

3. Calvin had a religious conversion.

Everyone knows the story of Luther’s conversion—his near-death experience and his commitment to a life of study. But did you know Calvin had a conversion experience, too? Calvin famously wrote in the preface to his commentary on Psalms:

“God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life. Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness, I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, that although I did not altogether leave off other studies, yet I pursued them with less ardor.”

4. Calvin was deeply influenced by Augustine.

Some have claimed that Augustine was the first Calvinist! B. B. Warfield wrote:

“The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just the Augustinianism common to the whole body of the Reformers—for the Reformation was, as from the spiritual point of view a great revival of religion, so from the theological point of view a great revival of Augustinianism.”

Spurgeon wrote:

“Perhaps Calvin himself derived it [Calvinism] mainly from the writings of Augustine.”

Calvin himself wrote:

“Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.”

The data are pretty interesting, too. In the 1536 edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin quotes Augustine 24 times. By the 1559 edition, he quotes Augustine 400 times. Here’s just a snapshot:

  • 68 citations about the sacraments
  • 54 citations about the church
  • 34 citations about God’s will
  • 34 citations about sin
  • 28 citations about grace
  • 17 citations about predestination

5. Nobody knows where Calvin is buried.

Calvin wanted no veneration after he died. He didn’t want pilgrims to travel to Geneva to find his grave. In fact, even today it’s difficult to find many monuments to his life at all. James Rigney has written that “unlike other reformers. . . Calvin is represented in Geneva only by traces and shadows and by the diffused voice of his writings.” Hugh Y. Reyburn wrote in 1914 that “The spot where he was laid is now uncertain. . . . But he needs no stone. His indestructible memorial is his works.”

Calvin’s most important work is the Institutes of the Christian Religion. This book has enjoyed a prominent place on the reading lists of theological students and scholars around the world, and has left its mark in the fields of theology, philosophy, social thought, and legal theory. It has been republished and translated nearly 100 times in dozens of languages.

The most authoritative English edition is the translation by Ford Lewis Battles of the 1559 Latin edition, which is newly available for pre-order. If you’re a scholar of the Reformation, you already know this edition is a must-have. And if you’re new to Calvin but not sure where to begin, you couldn’t do much better than the Battles translation of Calvin’s Institutes. But the price is only available for a limited time, so pre-order it now!

Add Insight to Your Library with Baker Collections

For over 70 years, the Baker Publishing Group has carried out their mission to publish “high-quality writings that represent historic Christianity and serve the diverse interests and concerns of evangelical readers.” If you were to look at the four Baker collections currently on Pre-Pub, you’d see that Baker is living up to their goal.

Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament Upgrade (7 vols.)

This 7-volume upgrade to the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (8 vols.) proves that you don’t have to sacrifice readability for scholarly depth. Whether you’re a pastor, professor, student, or church leader, you’re going to benefit from both the scope and the accessibility of this series.

Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (16 vols.)

The church has a strong history of interpreting the Bible theologically. In an effort to recreate this tradition, Baker has put together the 16-volume Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. If you’re looking for commentaries which draw from a wide range of traditions, while expounding upon Scripture from a distinctly theological viewpoint, the Brazos Theological Commentaries are for you.

Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms (6 vols.)

When it comes to interpretation, the Old Testament’s poetry and wisdom literature provide very unique challenges. The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms meet these challenges with exegetical precision. Let authors like Tremper Longman and Craig G. Bartholomew help navigate the literary and structural devices in these books by incorporating linguistic, historical, and canonical insights.

Handbook on the Old Testament Series (4 vols.)

Are you interested in Old Testament exegesis? The Handbook on the Old Testament is definitely for you.  These 4 volumes cover:

You will get remarkable insight into the Old Testament’s content, structure, and theology with this collection. You’ll also benefit from a bibliography of recent, relevant scholarship to help guide your future studies.

All of these collections are currently under development, so there isn’t much time to get them at their current Pre-Pub prices. Pick one (or all!) of these great collections up for your library today.

And check out the rest of our Baker resources while you’re at it!

Love Alone is Credible: Communio Theology on Pre-Pub

Two of the most important theologians of the 20th century now have collections on Pre-Pub! Joseph Ratzinger (now pope Benedict XVI) and Hans Urs von Balthasar were founding members of the Communio school of theology, which has become dominant in the Catholic Church and has had major influence on Protestant thought. Indeed, the great Swiss Reformed thinker Karl Barth once said of his life-long friend von Balthasar that no one understood his thought better.

The Communio School of Theology

Like the Protestant neo-orthodox theologians, the Communio school denies the validity of “natural” theology, emphasizing that all creation, and most significantly all of human experience, finds meaning and truth only in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no neutral ground, no realm where reason functions “unencumbered” by revelation: grace abounds. What this means is that reason and revelation, nature and grace, are not sealed off from each other, but find fundamental unity within the Trinitarian God and within mankind, made in his image. This reality finds perfect expression in the Incarnation. Man’s encounter with Christ is the content of the Communio approach to theology, which von Balthasar described as “essentially an act of adoration and prayer.”

Within Ratzinger’s Christocentric thought, the Incarnation is the only source for what is true about God and about man: love is the ultimate reality of the cosmos. Von Balthasar is perhaps best known for his aesthetics, for his contention that beauty reveals God and that beauty itself is defined by the Incarnation: Christ is beauty and what is beautiful is Christological. Both thinkers work within the paradigm of “ressourcement”—a return to the sources of the faith: Scripture and the Church Fathers. In doing so, they opened up new (or old) avenues for Christian theology.

Communio Opens Doors to Ecumenical Dialog

Both von Balthasar and Ratzinger encountered stiff resistance within the Catholic hierarchy and the academy, sometimes even being accused of heresy. But their theology was so powerful and subtle that it slowly won adherents and had a direct effect on the theology expressed at Vatican II. Through the pontificates of John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) the Communio approach has become dominant in the Church. What’s more, the emphasis on “ressourcement” has opened new opportunities for ecumenical dialog. Indeed, Joseph Ratzinger himself suggested that the Augsburg Confession might be accepted by the Catholic Church, and the Communio approach has underwritten the fruitful Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue of recent decades.

Communio theologians have re-shaped Catholic thought and have built bridges—between modern Christianity and the ancient Church and between contemporary denominations. Add this powerful and profound perspective to your Logos library. The Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI Collection ships tomorrow, so place your pre-order now. The Hans Urs von Balthasar Collection is almost through Pre-Pub and will ship soon, so keep an eye out for this too.

Now on Pre-Pub: The Feasting on the Word Commentary Series!

Struggling to come up with a new sermon topic each week? In Feasting on the Word, you will find an elegant alternative to fretting over which passage to preach on any given Sunday.

This is an incredibly accessible resource for the preacher.  The 12 volumes in this series include passages for three years’ worth of Sundays, as arranged in the Revised Common Lectionary. The church has fine-tuned this lectionary over time and it provides a holistic approach to the entire canon of Scripture.

Stay on track with a calendar of weeks that includes special sections for Lent and Advent.

Each week features a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, an excerpt from an epistle, and a passage from one of the four Gospels.

One Passage, Four Guides

For each passage, Feasting on the Word features essays and commentaries from four different perspectives:

  • The theological
  • The pastoral
  • The exegetical
  • The homiletical

This format supplies the teacher with a wealth of possibilities in his approach to each of the four Scripture passages included for each week.

Get it Now!

For a limited time, Feasting on the Word is available on Pre-Pub for $189.95—50% off the retail price. Pick up your lectionary commentary series today!

New on Pre-Pub: The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974-2011)

New to Pre-Pub is Florida College Annual Lectures (1974-2011). Established in 1946, Florida college is a small Christian College located just outside Tampa, Florida. Every spring, the college holds an annual lecture series on a variety of theological subjects.

With the Logos edition, you get 38 years of in-depth theological content. Each volume in the Florida College Annual Lectures contains lectures focused on a particular theme, doctrine, or book of the Bible, which makes these lectures valuable resources for specialized study.

So, pre-order your copy while the Florida College Annual Lectures (1974-2011) are still on Pre-Pub. At the low price of only $74.95, you cannot go wrong!

Get Free Books and Incredible Deals from Vyrso!

If you’re looking for some new reading material, you can’t go wrong with Vyrso.  And throughout the month of January, Vyrso has quite a few free and heavily discounted books available!

Get It Free

In The Lady of Bolton Hill, Elizabeth Camden tells the tale of a female American journalist from the latter part of the nineteenth century. Clara Endicott, the fiercely intelligent crusader against the injustices in London industry, is forced to return home to Baltimore. It’s there she is reunited with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the destitute steelworker she left. Clara soon finds herself embroiled in a web of intrigue and danger.

If you act quickly, you can still pick up a free copy of The Lady of Bolton Hill. It expires today (January 13, 2012), so hurry! You’re going to love this tale of faith, romance, revenge, and social justice.

Return often to see what other freebies will be offered this month!

Take Advantage of These Deals!

Vyrso is featuring some incredible discounts on some of your favorite Christian books. You can get amazing prices on:

There’s a lot of discounted (or free!) ebooks available this month. Head over to Vyrso to check them out.

Kick Off 2012 with a Logos Bible Reading Plan

The new year is upon us—a time for making resolutions and setting goals. What better way to start 2012 than with a new Bible reading plan?

Following a Bible reading plan is an easy way to become more familiar with the Scriptures—one day at a time. It can be a tremendous boon to a more consistent prayer life, deepening your understanding of theology, and fostering biblical wisdom that better equips you to confront life’s challenges.

We believe in the value of Bible reading plans. We also understand that there is no one-size-fits-all plan for everyone. That’s why with Logos you can use any of your favorite reading plans or easily create a custom Bible reading plan to suit your needs. And it’s never too late to start, since Logos lets you set the beginning and end dates for every plan—no matter what time of year.

With daily reminders on your home page, you’ll never lose track of where you are. And even if you do get behind, you can quickly adjust your plan in Logos to catch up to the current day. Never skip another reading! (We are also working on a fix to sync your reading plans with your mobile devices, letting you bring your reading plan with you wherever you go. Stay tuned for future announcements!)

Want to dig deeper? One of the advantages of doing your 2012 Bible reading in Logos is the ability to quickly discover word meanings, navigate to similar passages, and pull up any related resources. Turn your daily readings into opportunities for deeper Bible study—all without leaving Logos!

Bibles for Just $10!

To help you achieve your new reading goals, we’ve discounted popular Bibles like the NASB, ESV, and KJV to only $10 for a limited time! Paired with a new Bible reading plan, it’s the perfect time to try out a new translation or add a favorite to your library.

Achieving that New Years’ resolution just got a whole lot easier with Logos.

Also check out the on-going discussions on our Facebook page about different reading plan options as well as helpful tips for staying committed.

Camp Logos 2 Live: A Worthwhile Investment

Camp Logos 2 Live will be shipping Monday, January 16, 2011. Order it now at the amazing Pre-Pub price!

Our Platinum base package comes with more books than most people have in their homes. When you combine these with any of the 12,000+ titles for sale at Logos, you have an opportunity to add a depth and breadth to your Bible study that most only dream of.

However, it’s not enough to just have a big library with lots of powerful tools—knowing how to use those tools is the key to getting the most out of the resources you own. Learning to organize and arrange your library is integral to maximizing the full potential of Logos 4.

Toward that end, we would like to draw your attention to Camp Logos 2 Live. In Camp Logos 2 Live authorized Logos trainer Morris Proctor takes you beyond his popular two-day Camp Logos training seminar and Camp Logos Live DVD, and focuses on two major training areas: organizing your books and utilizing Logos features.

Organize Your Resources

Using systematic tags, Morris shows you a multi-layered organizational scheme which allows you to account for and easily access all of the resources in your growing Logos library.

Imagine having all of your commentaries arranged to appear in the categories and order you desire with the click of one icon on the Shortcuts bar.

Or think of all your books catalogued so that, regardless of what verse you’re studying, you instantly see what your ethics, theology, or apologetics books say about that verse!

Or envision studying a subject and quickly accessing a harmony, topical Bible, or dictionarywith a simple right click—without leaving your current resource.

Morris’ plan will teach you to do all this and more.

Remember, even though Morris is our official trainer, he’s first and foremost a Bible teacher using Logos for his own biblical research and sermon prep. The organizational plan he presents comes straight from his own use of Logos Bible Software.

Morris will equip you to:

  • Unlock the power of those mysterious LN numbers in your Bible
  • Locate specific information without wading through thousands of search hits
  • Read a biblical passage syntactically
  • Distinguish singular and plural pronouns in your Bibles
  • Search classic books like Training of the Twelve, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, and St. Paul the Traveler
  • Show you the power of numerous and often overlooked features
  • And much more!

We often say that using Logos Bible Software is as easy as entering a passage and clicking “Go”, but that’s only the beginning. Let Morris help you get the most out of your resources and unlock Logos 4′s amazing potential.

Some may ask, “Is Camp Logos 2 Live really worth the investment?” And the answer is an emphatic, “Yes!” Many Camp Logos 2 attendees say the session on Louw-Nida numbers alone is worth the price.

Simply put, Camp Logos 2 Live is an investment you can’t afford not to make. And if you hurry, you can get Camp Logos 2 Live while it’s still on Pre-Pub. It ships on January 16, 2011, so act quickly!

Get a Free Book Every Month in 2012

Would you like to get a free book every month throughout 2012? We thought so! That’s why we put together the Free Book of the Month. Each book is part of a larger collection, and every month you can enter to win that collection, too!

January’s Free Book of the Month is John Owen’s Temptation and Sin. This book contains:

  • On the Mortification of Sin
  • On Temptation
  • On Indwelling Sin in Believers
  • Exposition of Psalm 130

Temptation and Sin is more than a fanciful book on behavior modification; this is a powerful resource for anyone looking  to understand and battle sin. Theologian J. I. Packer has admitted to owing more to John Owen than to any other theologian—and owing “more to On Mortification of Sin than to anything else he wrote.”

Not only can you pick up your free copy of Temptation and Sin, you can enter to win the 24-volume Works of John Owen! Just head over to the Free Book of the Month page to download your free book and enter the giveaway!

The John Wesley Collection: A Legacy of Faith

The 29-volume John Wesley Collection tells a story of perseverance, strength, and extraordinary faith.

In June of 1720, John Wesley entered Christ Church College, Oxford. John’s younger brother soon formed a group called the Holy Club, which met weekly. They were named “Methodist” by their fellow students because of the methodical way in which they lived. Wesley and his brother chose to sail upon The Simmonds from Gravesend, Kent to the Province of Georgia in the American colonies with a plan to spread Christianity.

On his voyage to the colonies, Wesley came to know the Moravian settlers. During their travels across the sea, they came upon a massive storm. The mast was ripped off the ship, and while the other passengers worried themselves, the Moravians prayed and sang hymns. Wesley was in awe of their incredible strength and faith. The Moravians left a lasting impression on his heart, and heavily influenced his theology of Methodism.

After spending some time in Georgia, Wesley decided it was not the place for him, so he soon returned to England, determined to earn money for a church. Back in England, he came to admire the evangelist George Whitefield who gave sermons in the open air to people excluded from church. This inspired Wesley to begin offering his own non-traditional sermons, seeking to reach a wider range of listeners. He preached in fields, houses, and even town halls.

Wesley continued evangelizing until his death in 1791. At this time he had led approximately 135,000 members and 541 itinerant preachers to Methodism. His legacy still resonates through Christianity today, and his writings remain a source of exhortation and teaching to evangelicals around the world.

The Logos Bible Software edition of the John Wesley Collection allows you to perform in-depth searches on all 16,951 pages so that you get the most out of your Bible study, sermon preparation, and research.

Key Features

  • All 14 volumes of his collected works
  • Complete and authoritative eight-volume journal
  • The four-volume Explanatory Notes, Wesley’s complete commentaries on the entire Bible
  • In-depth biography
  • Essays, letters, sermons, grammars, psalms, hymns, and addresses

The John Wesley Collection is valued at $882.24, but you can pre-order it today at the incredible Pre-Pub price—a savings of 77%! That brings the cost down to less than $7 per book.

For more interesting glimpses into the ministry of John Wesley, check out 5 Interesting Facts About John Wesley and 10 Thought-Provoking John Wesley Quotes.