The Life & Times of John Calvin - By C.W. Banks

The Life & Times of John Calvin - By C.W. Banks
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  • Item #: BK-LTJC
  • Paperback: 37 pages
  • Publisher: One Million Tracts / Jeremiah Cry Ministries 
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 5.25 x 0.1 x 8 inches

The name, John Calvin, normally brings to mind The Institutes of the Christian Religion or the doctrine of predestination. Many critics of the reformer depict Calvin as a hard and exacting master, but in this rare find by Charles W. Banks, we get insights into the reformer’s life that reveal a husband, a disciple, a disciple maker, and a humble servant of Jesus Christ. It is common within reformed circles to speak of the doctrines of grace as a synonym for “Calvinism,” but it is the “grace” of God in the life of Calvin and not the “Calvinism” of the reformer’s theology that Banks emphasizes. Banks begins with the childhood of Calvin and gives a glimpse of his relationship with his father and even reveals the twelve-year-old Calvin’s active involvement in the “Romish” church. Brief sketches of Calvin’s friendships reveal his humility and faithfulness to the brethren that labored with him during the beginning of the Reformation. Among them were men like Le Fevre, Farel, Bucer, Melancthon, Bullinger, and of course Beza. Perhaps the most intimate revelations into the humanity of the great reformer are in the section “Calvin’s Last Illness and Death.” Banks invested the most ink in this section making sure to show Calvin’s humble frailty and his faithful trust in the wise providence of a sovereign God. Persevering to the end and not wishing to waste his sufferings, it is said the last days of Calvin “were spent in almost constant prayer.”

Immediately following the sketch of Calvin’s life, is the author’s “…Earnest Appeal to Bible Christians for the Adoption of Open-Air Preaching” in London, and it is still relevant today and for saints around the world. Brief but encouraging, the thoughts of Banks are a welcome addition to the relatively small number of works on open-air preaching from a biblically sound perspective. Too often open-air preaching is wrongly associated with Pelagians and open theists who tend to “picket” or protest sin and “rebuke” the sinners rather than preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Banks asks two questions regarding open-air preaching: 1) Are the Christian churches carrying the gospel outside of their own places of worship? 2) Are there any godly men ready to preach? Just as in our own day, Banks and others are aware that literally thousands of lost souls will never enter a church. Also just as in our own day, Banks opines that open-air preaching is not favorably looked upon by those “who love to sit at ease in Zion.” Banks argues that open-air preaching is scriptural, and it has had plenty of practitioners throughout church history. Writing in the nineteenth century, Banks asks, “…why should we disown it now?” Obviously, this same question is being asked once again in the twenty-first century simply by the reprinting of this little-known treatise by Charles W. Banks.

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