John Calvin by Simonetta Carr

January 18th, 2009

Carr, Simonetta. John Calvin. Illustrated by Emanuele Taglietti. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008. 64 pp. $18.00.

With 2009 being the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, Reformation Heritage Books has published a wonderful little biography on the life of John Calvin for children ages 7-10 years old, though if your child can read, he could read this book with little difficulty.

Obviously, this book is not going to go into great detail regarding the Reformation and John Calvin’s theological and social role in it. About all you do get theological about the Reformation is that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) taught salvation by good works while men like Luther believed the Bible taught salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Along the way, you do find that the RCC attempted to stop the Reformation and John Calvin.

Perhaps more importantly, the author spends some time developing Calvin as a man, a husband and a step-father. We see how Calvin handled the death of his wife and his children through faith in Christ as well as how he handled the persecutions he faced for his beliefs. Also, we are let in on his sense of humor and how he used it to point out the obvious mistakes in the theology of the RCC.

This book would be a great introduction to the life of John Calvin for any child or family wishing to begin teaching their children about the history of Christianity. What is promising about this particular book is that this is the first in a series of “Christian biographies for young readers”. Some of the anticipated volumes in the series include Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Augustine of Hippo, and Lady Jane Grey. Without hesitation, I would begin my collection of this series with this volume.

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