Jon Balserak, Calvinism. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford/New York 2016, xxi + 140 pp. ISBN 9780198753711. £ 7.99; US$ 11.95.‘Calvinism’ is a nebulous and fraught term. Born as a derisive epithet, in the nineteenth century it was reclaimed as a badge of honor. Today the label is claimed proudly by some persons who hold theological views and engage in ecclesiastical practices that John Calvin himself rejected with his characteristic vehemence. ‘Calvinistic’ or Reformed Baptists would be unthinkable in sixteenth century Geneva, given that Calvin considered the denial of infant baptism and the practice of rebaptism to be heretical. Nor was Calvin the originator of the Reformed branch of Protestantism, or its sole (nor, dare one say, its most theologically capable) spokesman. For these reasons and more, ‘Calvinism’ is an inadequate and misleading term by which to designate the Reformed tradition of Protestant Christianity. The task of writing a “very short introduction” to such a disputed phenomenon, then, is a tall order, if not next to impossible. Jon Balserak, however, has forged a concise and admirable overview of a phenomenon that resists simple description, and with an impressive breadth and depth, given the limitations of the series format.The choice
Church History and Religious Culture (formerly Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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