With Calvin in the Theater of God: The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life


Stemming from the Desiring God 2009 National Conference, Julius Kim, Douglas Wilson, Marvin Olasky, Mark Talbot, Sam Storms, and John Piper invite us to sit with Calvin in the theater of God, marveling at his glory.

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With Calvin in the Theater of God: The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life

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Stemming from the Desiring God 2009 National Conference, Julius Kim, Douglas Wilson, Marvin Olasky, Mark Talbot, Sam Storms, and John Piper invite us to sit with Calvin in the theater of God, marveling at his glory.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“From the recent flurry of studies on John Calvin, it is evident that we can understand neither the sixteenth century nor our own times without reference to the reformer of Geneva. This little book reveals Calvin to be a God-saturated theologian whose love for Jesus Christ and his church touches every area of human life. A jewel of a book!”
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“In a culture that applauds self-glory, and in a church that often appears to have forgotten its Christ, the work of John Calvin is as timely as when it was first penned. This wonderful book invites you into a theater of power, wisdom, authority and grace, but it is not Calvin’s theater; it is the theater of glory of God in Christ. Here you will be thankful for the man Calvin and how he enables you to see life-shaping truths, but you will be even more thankful for Calvin’s Christ. For as is true of Calvin, is true of every follower of Jesus, the faint glory of the man is only as good as it humbly and relentlessly points you to the spectacular glory of his Lord. Which is, in fact, is the lasting legacy of the man this book remembers.”
Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

“Contemporary interest in John Calvin and his writings has stimulated a widespread renewal in reform theology and with it has created considerable controversy regarding stereotypical perceptions of Calvinism. Speakers at the 2009 Desiring God National Conference made a significant contribution to these issues by focusing on practical aspects of John Calvin’s life and writings. These messages, edited by David Mathis and John Piper in With Calvin in the Theater of God, will be a blessing and encouragement to the reader in discovering an often neglected aspect of this influential theologian.”
Jerry Rankin, Former President, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

“Sadly, for many Christians John Calvin has become more of a theological caricature than the real-life man of passion, reason, and pastoral concerns that he was. Fortunately, this is a book that tears back the curtain and allows us to see and understand the key intersections where his theology and his everyday life collided and then merged into the passionate love for Scripture and zeal for upholding God’s glory that became his calling card.”
Larry Osborne, Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista, California; author, Sticky Church

“These distinguished contributors do not seek to exalt John Calvin. But they rightly recognize that Calvin’s ministry helps us exalt Jesus Christ. Follow them into the theater of God and behold the glory of the One and Only.”
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church

“In an age where Scripture is on the periphery in so many pulpits and man is glorified in so many churches, we desperately need this book. It reminds us not only of the great life and work of John Calvin, but most importantly the supremacy of the Scriptures and the Glory of God.”
Britt Merrick, founder, the Reality family of churches; pastor, Reality Santa Barbara

“What does a theologian and his theology look like if he and it are firmly centered on the Triune God and His glory? These essays will show you. You will meet Calvin the pastor, the theologian, the polemicist, the husband, the father, the sufferer, the lover of God and his church—all roles played out in “the theater of God.” Whether you’re meeting Calvin for the first time or spending time with an old friend, this book will give you a glimpse of the wide horizons that are opened to one who has God’s glory firmly at the center of life. Be warned, Calvin’s vision is contagious.”
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College; Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries

“The authors of With Calvin in the Theatre of God present us with a world-changing vision of God’s glory that has profound ramifications for the practical realities of everyday life. Here we find proof again of that old axiom, There is nothing more practical than sound theology. I highly recommend it!”
Steven L. Childers, President and CEO, Global Church Advancement; Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

With Calvin in the Theater of God takes Calvin out of the ivory towers that many people mistakenly believe he lived in and shows how his robust theology played out in the practical life of a pastor attempting to care for his people. It shows how his belief in the sovereignty of God allowed him to suffer often, and suffer well, throughout his life. It shows how his hope in heaven allowed him to deal with the relentless stress and pressures of leadership. But most of all, this book shows what God can do through one man who’s eyes are fixed, not on what we can see, but what we can’t see, the things that are eternal. It inspired me to do the same as a pastor, husband, father, and man.”
Jason Strand, Teaching Pastor, Eagle Brook Church, Lino Lakes, MN

“No theologian, living or dead, has been more influential in my ministry than John Calvin. Reading With Calvin in the Theater of God reminded me why. Each essay contributed something helpful both to my understanding of Calvin's life and ministry and to my affection for the Savior that Calvin relentlessly served. Whether you’re a long-time student of Calvin or brand new to the Reformed universe, I highly recommend this book.”
R. W. Glenn, Pastor of Preaching and Vision, Redeemer Bible Church, Minnetonka, MN

“As a church planter in New Orleans, I am continuously confronted by the destruction of this world’s depravity. My primary counter-attack is to present a biblical vision of the glory of God in Christ. John Piper and my good friend David Mathis have compiled an amazing work displaying Calvin’s biblical vision of God’s redemptive glory.”
Rob Wilton, Lead Pastor, Vintage Church, New Orleans, LA

“For a generation of Calvinists who seem to know little about Calvin himself, this is a timely book. By taking us straight to the heart of Calvin’s everyday life and ministry, the authors introduce us to Calvin the pastor and expose us to the daily grind of his pastoral work and personal suffering that shaped and informed his teaching and writing. Calvin’s voice can be heard throughout the book, exhorting us to live our lives “with one foot raised,” ready for the day God wills our departure from this world. This book left me with a hunger to taste and trust God more, and in the end, truly honors Calvin by pushing our thoughts and worship past him and to the true hero of God’s theater and Calvin’s ministry, Jesus Christ.”
Beau Hughes, campus pastor, The Village Church, Denton, TX

“As a young pastor with less than a decade of experience, I desperately need the wisdom of faithful pastors who have gone before us. I have found in these pages much needed, refreshing, and challenging insights for the daily grind of ministry life. Lest we forget the divine glory that is shot through this “grand stage,” Calvin—through his life and his writings—pulls back the veil of seeming routine to reveal it once again in all its splendor. And the authors of this brief volume you hold in your hands serve as worthy guides and fellow stage-hands with the old master in the theatre of God. Read on, and behold again—in all things—God’s radiant glory.”
Matthew Molesky, Pastor for Preaching, Calvary Community Church, St. Cloud, MN

“In this book you will meet John Calvin the pastor, apologist, evangelist, church planter, Bible teacher, theologian, and pilgrim. The version of Calvin you get from his enemies, and sadly even from some who claim to be his friends, is a hammer-headed, abstract bore. The real Calvin, and the theology he proclaimed, is the opposite. His life and ministry reflect the clearest message of Jesus and the deepest message of the Bible—the grace of God to sinners, for the glory of God.”
Justin S. Holcomb, Episcopal Priest; Professor of Christian Thought, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; co-author, Rid of My Disgrace and Is It My Fault?

“The great glory of God revealed in all things is the Copernican Revolution for anyone seeking to live everyday life in an extraordinary way. John Calvin’s addiction to this view of God is worth studious exploration. David Mathis and John Piper’s With Calvin in the Theater of God is without a doubt a must-read for those new to Calvin and looking for an introduction to the Revolution, or for those who are in need of another beautiful and freeing drink from the tavern of God’s sovereignty.”
Steve Treichler, church planter and Senior Pastor, Hope Community Church, Minneapolis, MN

“If Calvin intrigues, inspires, or even baffles you, then you’ll want to get this latest contribution to his teaching ministry and life. This work digs through 500 years of history and unearths one of the church’s greatest treasures—the heart and mind of John Calvin—and places it not behind the walls of academia but on the pulpits of pastors and in the pews for laymen. Applying the brilliance of Calvin to the hardest theological questions and the most stubborn challenges of everyday Christian-living, this book will enlighten you with the great breadth of Calvin’s biblical worldview.”
Robert S. Scott Sr., Pastor, Los Angeles Community Bible Church; general editor, Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity

“These writers are not just historical spectators observing John Calvin’s life. They are participants in the theater of God with Calvin, and they want you to participate in that theater by embracing the truth that drove Calvin: God’s glory is demonstrated preeminently through Christ, revealed to us through the Word, and manifested in our everyday life. This volume points you back to the unfolding drama of God’s kingdom.”
James H. Grant Jr., Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church, Rossville, Tennessee

“This book is a beautiful capstone to the helpful array of Calvin volumes published in the past few years. However, this book is more about the God who Calvin worships than about Calvin himself. Each chapter plumbs the depths of Calvin’s wretched but repentant and Spirit-regenerated heart and brings us face to face with Christ on the cross and leaves us there on our knees as it directs our eyes to the glorified Christ on high.”
Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine

With Calvin in the Theater of God is a rich and readable introduction to one of the church’s greatest pastor-theologians. Examining Calvin from many angles—including pilgrim, counselor, public intellectual, sinner—the contributors offer an elegant composite of the man even as they point to the object of his worship and work: Jesus Christ. It is perhaps the resolute faithfulness of Calvin’s life that most stands out here; this steadfastness, which in God's providence produced a major Christian movement bursting with energy today, reminds us that our faith is exercised hour by hour, day by day, trial by trial, all for the honor and acclamation of the Lord. Whether eminent or unknown, we are reminded in these pages that in the grand theater of God's glory, there are no bit players.”
Owen Strachan, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History, Boyce College; President, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433514128
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 9/30/2010
  • Pages: 172
  • Sales rank: 1,078,313
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

David Mathis (MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary. David and his wife, Megan, have two sons.

Marvin Olasky (PhD, American Culture, University of Michigan) is the editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times by the national media as the developer of the concepts of compassionate conservatism and biblically objective journalism and is the author of twenty books.

Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent 40 years in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He was visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004, and is currently senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and the author of numerous books, including Chosen for Life, Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions, and Kept for Jesus.

Douglas Wilson (MA, University of Idaho) is a popular speaker and author of numerous books. He helped to found Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, and is a fellow of philosophy and classical languages at New St. Andrews College.

Mark Talbot (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is associate professor of philosophy at Wheaton College. He specializes in philosophical psychology and philosophical theology and has written numerous articles and reviews.

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