Living For God’s Glory

Author: Dr. Joel Beeke

Published by: Reformation Trust Publishing

Pages: 414

An Introduction to Calvinism

The old advert infectiously claimed “It does exactly what it says on the tin.” Now you expect me to say, “This book does exactly what it says on the cover!” But that wouldn’t be exactly true. Yes, it does do what it says on the cover, but it not only does that, it does much, much more.

The title “Living for God’s Glory” is the general title, but I refer to the subtitle which explains its intent – “An Introduction to Calvinism.” Reformation Trust Publishing should have come to me for the subtitle, I’ve got a better one: “Living for God’s Glory: Serving up Calvinism like a piping hot Sunday Dinner.”

So, Calvinism…? I first encountered Calvinism when I was 18, and to me it was like being confronted with an angry wasp, then I found out there were five angry wasps; but after a short period, I realised they weren’t angry wasps but five tender, delicate and beautiful flowers. Let’s call them TULIP(s).

T – Total Depravity
U – Unconditional Election
L – Limited Atonement we prefer ‘Particular Redemption’
I – Irresistible Grace
P – Perseverance of the Saints (or ‘Preservation of the Saints’)

You’ll be glad to know, that’s me finished with the strange metaphors and annoying analogies.

What happens, I find on many occasions, is that Christians don’t fully get ‘Calvinism.’ They learn these five points (stated above) and they get no further. They don’t plunge into each doctrine, or point, and therefore do not realise the greater depth there is to Calvinism, in its heritage and practical application. The essence of Calvinism is, as the title proclaims, “Living for God’s Glory.” And my point is, if Calvinism has not touched your heart and raised your soul up to God, then you haven’t ‘got it’ yet. This book will be a wise place to ‘get it.’

So, maybe you don’t consider yourself a Calvinist, or just don’t know what Calvinism is. I would recommend that you begin here, and make this book your guide through the labyrinth many of us so-called ‘Calvinists’ have regrettably made the subject for you. (Sorry if we haven’t lived up to it or taught it with grace)

Joel. R Beeke is the author of this book, with helpful chapter contributions from the likes of Sinclair. B. Ferguson and others. It truly is a readable book aimed not at the theologian or minister, but at all Christians. One helpful aspect is the discussion questions at the end of each chapter, especially for study groups. Beeke deals first with Calvinism’s history, then its points, and then he branches out into various routes of application. Ok. I can’t resist it. Reading this book will be a Calvinistic roller-coaster ride. In other words, it’ll be a kind of spiritual fun. Spiritually therefore your features will be stretched, and your hair will stand on end. You see, a greater understanding of Calvinism changes and advances us spiritually. In the end, after this roller-coaster ride through Calvinism, I predict you’ll experience a buzz and heart-racing excitement – spiritually of course! To be more sober, dear brother and sister in the Lord, you’ll be spiritually blessed.

Review by: Robert Palmer