A leading expert on John Calvin brings together the reformer's most profound reflections on what it means to live a fully Christian life. The Christian Life includes excerpts from Calvin's impressive theological writings and illuminating sermons, as well as a selection of his stately prayers. Editor John H. Leith focuses on Calvin's spirituality, which arose out of the reformer's conviction that theology's primary importance is to encourage piety, to edify, and to transform human life and society. Calvin's writings have much to tell about the manner and style of Christian living. The writings gathered in The Christian Life draw upon Calvin's own heartfelt commitment to the ideals of life in Christ and to the responsibility to the community he served as pastor, preacher, teacher, and counselor. Here, then, is Calvin's own pattern for the conduct of the fully Christian life, which stresses that it is in Christian people living in Christian community and in society that we see most clearly the reality of faith. The Christian Life shares Calvin's thinking on such essential questions as the nature of sin; the importance of self-denial and cross-bearing to the Christian life; maintaining the proper balance between the present life and the life to come; the role of grace; the concept of Christian freedom; the place of prayer; the centrality of community; ideas of the elect and predestination; and the deepest purposes of God for his people. He relates all issues to the fundamental question of piety and how Christians can best attune themselves to God's unfolding plans in everyday life. This compact volume makes available to readers as never before some of the most accessible and rewarding writings of this foremost figure in the history of Christian thought. The selections in The Christian Life will introduce the reader to an influential form of Christian piety; but above all, they provide a clue to how Christians today may live and cope with the problems of personal and public life in a highly pluralistic and secular culture, in which the traditional guides and support for Christian living seem to have lost vitality and vigor.
John Calvin John H. Leith
John H. Leith (1919-2002) also authored Creeds of the Churches and Introduction to the Reformed Tradition. He was Pemberton Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and an alumnus of Columbia Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, and received a PhD from Yale University. He served on numerous committees of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.