The church reached a turning point in the sixteenth century. Worship had become a spectacle, the gospel was distorted, the sacraments were replaced by superstition, and ministers lived in immorality. To restore the church to the teachings of Christ, the Reformers cried out for a return to God’s authoritative Word. In this classic treatise, John Calvin presents four areas of the church’s life and doctrine that must be carefully guarded and guided by Scripture. This timeless call for biblical faithfulness beckons us today. How will we respond?
This new translation by Dr. Casey Carmichael, with a foreword from Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, also includes A Reply to Cardinal Sadoleto, Calvin’s letter defending the work of reformation as it was applied in the city of Geneva.
“Every generation has the responsibility to pass on the evangelical heritage of the Reformation to the next generation. At the core of this heritage is the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. However, no less central to the Reformation are the divine authority of Scripture alone and worship to the glory of God alone. Even in this day of resurgent Calvinism, many Christians might be surprised to learn that Calvin placed worship according to God’s commandment alongside the gospel as the two chief doctrines by which Christianity maintains its vital force—the very soul that animates the church. At a time when many evangelical Christians relegate the methods of the church to the pragmatism of ‘whatever works,’ Calvin’s treatise is a silver trumpet sounding a clarion call to return to simple obedience to God’s Word.” —Dr. Joel R. Beeke President and professor of systematic theology and homiletics Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Among Calvin’s many treatises and letters, these two are outstanding and deserve your close attention. They were written at a turning period in his ministry and at a crucial point in the history of the Reformation. They reveal his gifts as a humanist scholar, as a defender of the Reformation, and as a pastor who cared for the spiritual well-being of the flock. He knew that the Reformation had recovered the gospel and that Rome sought to persuade evangelicals to sell their birthright for a pottage of salvation by grace and works. These are truths we need to hear and learn again.” —Dr. R. Scott Clark Professor of church history and historical theology Westminster Seminary California Escondido, California
“What a great treasure Reformation Trust has opened to us with this wonderful new translation by Casey Carmichael of two of Calvin’s most important works. Here speaks the well-trained lawyer pleading for the case of Christ’s church in his impressive letter to Sadoleto and his formidable exposition on what the church of Christ needs to be alive and dynamic. These words were written down long ago, but every reader will see that they are as relevant for today’s church as never before. Calvin wanted to serve God and His people, and he still does, as this work shows. So, let’s start using this rich, scriptural material for the well-being of the church and for the glory of God.” — Dr. Herman Selderhuis President, Theological University Apeldoorn Director, Refo500