Faculty Book Highlight: An Explorer’s Guide to John Calvin by Dr. Yudah Thianto

Date Published

September 15, 2022

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Published by Calvin Seminary

An Explorer’s Guide to John Calvin

By Dr. Yudha Thianto
Professor of History of Christianity and Reformed Theology


In his new book, An Explorer’s Guide to John Calvin, Dr. Yudha Thianto provides readers with an engaging and accessible overview of John Calvin’s life and thought. The first half of the book illuminates Calvin’s personal and historical context. Readers learn about Calvin’s life, education, ministry as a pastor, and his work in reforming the church in Geneva. Readers also gain insight into the culture of sixteenth- century Geneva in particular and Western Europe in general. This section of the book includes a helpful discussion of “Frequently Asked Questions about Calvin,” in order to correct common misconceptions that many contemporary readers have about Calvin’s views.

The second half of the book focuses on major topics and themes in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Dr. Thianto guides readers through each of the four books that comprise the Institutes. In doing so, he provides an important service to readers who are encountering Calvin’s magnum opus for the first time, or who find the text difficult to follow. As a result of reading this Explorer’s Guide, readers will be better equipped to navigate the Institutes on their own and delve deeper into the material.

When asked about his goals and hopes for the book, Dr. Thiano explained, “While it is based on my years of studies and research on Calvin the person and his theology in their sixteenth- century contexts, it is written in a style that I hope is easy for readers to follow. I hope readers can get a good look at Calvin as a pastor and Reformer who loved God, his words, and his church, and who courageously faced challenges of his time in order that God’s people could live as faithful followers of Jesus.” Numerous reviewers have affirmed that the book fulfills these hopes, describing it as “a fresh, faithful, and accessible guide”1 that they recommend highly.2 We encourage our Forum readers to get to know John Calvin better by reading this excellent guide.


1 Dr. Jessica Joustra, Redeemer University
2 Dr. Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School


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