Book Review: Living For God’s Glory

Living for God's GloryLiving for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism by Joel R. Beeke with contributions from: Sinclair B. Ferguson, James Grier, Michael A. G. Haykin, Nelson Kloosterman, Ray Lanning, Robert Oliver, Ray Pennings, Derek W. H. Thomas

Joel Beeke says, “The target audience for this book is laypeople and ministers who are interested in learning the basics of Calvinism. I hope it also will serve as a stimulating summary and refresher course for those who are already avid Calvinists, much as Steven J. Lawson’s The Expository Genius of John Calvin from Reformation Trust excites those of us who are already familiar with much of its content. I have worked hard to keep this book simple, clear, and non-technical, in the hope that you might hand it to others to help them understand how you think as a Calvinist.”

I felt this was the case except the chapter on philosophy can be a more difficult read for those of us not well versed on the subject.

While John Calvin – A Heart for Devotion Doctrine & Doxology, also from Reformation Trust and reviewed here, is about John Calvin himself and a brief introduction to his theology, this book is less about Calvin himself and more about Calvinism from the beginnings of the Reformation through the time of the Puritans both in Europe and after they arrived in the U.S. It’s longer and more thorough than the previous mentioned book but is still introductory.

Included in this history are the Reformed canons, confessions and catechisms. There is a lengthy treatment of these documents which may be of interest to some who are unfamiliar with their content and origins.

Other notable figures from Martin Luther (including an explanation of the differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism) to Jonathan Edwards are mentioned in the book.

Although the acronym TULIP wasn’t developed until the 1900’s, the Canons of Dort contain a response to the Remonstrance of 1610, a response to Calvinism by forty-three of Arminius’ followers. “The canons were structured to correspond with the five articles of the 1610 Remonstrance” which correspond to the contents of TULIP but in a different order. This is covered quite a bit in the book. Therefore, this book isn’t an objective look at Calvinism as compared to other areas of theology and Arminianism is talked about negatively and even called “heretical” (or at least referring to what Arminius’ followers had to say) which is going too far. Just when I thought there may have been too much time spent refuting Arminian theology, the book moved on from there.

The book doesn’t dwell too much on TULIP though, as Calvinism is much more than that:

“It is important to note that the five points do not summarize all of Calvinism; that would be a truncated view of the Reformed faith. One of the aims of this book is to show the panoramic grandeur of the Reformed faith’s worldview.”

The book also covers the popular 5 Solas–Scripture alone (sola Scriptura), grace alone (sola gratia), faith alone (sola fide), Christ alone (solus Christus), and the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria).

A couple of ancillary benefits to this book are the extensive citations and bibliographies at the end of each chapter and an introduction to the history and theology of the Puritans who carried on the Reformed tradition.

Other than listing some of the current denominations that are Reformed, I would like to have seen the history go even farther–past the Puritan era–but that may have been beyond the size and scope of the book.

This book is very readable, enjoyable and educational. I highly recommend it.

Hardcover: 414 pages
Publisher: Reformation Trust Publishing
Publication Date: September 12, 2008
ISBN-10: 1567691056
ISBN-13: 978-1567691054

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Living For God’s Glory”

  1. 1 shane lems

    Thanks for the review.  I was thinking of getting it…you may have swayed me!Your fellow blogger,shane

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    You’re welcome. Nice to see you here. I like your site.

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