Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever
by Michael Horton
(Crossway, 2014, 272 pages)
Michael Horton has written some of the most interesting and intellectually sophisticated theology among contemporary Reformed thinkers. In Calvin on the Christian Life Horton turns to the major source of Reformed theology as a guide to spirituality or – in language that would be more familiar to Calvin – piety. One of the major strengths of Horton’s overview of Calvin is his contextualization of the Reformer’s theology. Horton surveys the most recent scholarship on Calvin and his historical context, offering a thoroughly informed perspective on the practical orientation of Calvin’s thought.
I was personally happy to see Horton draw on Marilynne Robinson’s assessment of Calvin. Robinson, in her novels and essays, offers perhaps the most insightful reading of Calvin available today. In this respect, Horton’s reading of Calvin is informed from a literary perspective as well as a historical and theological perspective (although Robinson offers valuable historical and theological as well as literary analysis of Calvin). I also appreciated Horton’s discussion of Calvin’s liturgical and eucharistic theology. While there are moments where Horton seems to drift into using Calvin for the purpose of promoting his own pet issues, for the most part, the book is thoroughly grounded in Calvin’s writings and his historical context.