I’m surprised to say it. I almost hate to say it. But Calvin has been really helpful this year. I originally planned to read ten percent of his Institutes each year in my decade-long reading plan. But I ended up reading two installments the first year because a friend wanted to talk about it with me. So I’ve been ahead ever since, and I came into this year, year 9, knowing it was my last year with Calvin and eager to be done with this bitter, rancorous man.
But then Calvin surprised me by being really helpful on certain aspects of the sacramental nature of Communion (i.e. Eucharist). He clarified some terms and some views on the subject – both his own views and some Catholic doctrine. And he got me reading some passages in the early Church Fathers. I know where I stand now. I’m not ready, like Luther, to say, “I can do no other.” But my mind is at rest for now.
And speaking of Luther, since I’m finishing up Calvin one year early, I’m going to fill his spot in year 10 with a book of selections from the writings of the German friar. I anticipate enjoying Luther and learning from him, partly because I don’t imagine his works will string together diatribes against doctrines held by “puerile,” “obstinate” opponents. Bye, Calvin.