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This Was John Calvin

By Thea B. Van Halseme
Inheritance Publications

Box 154
Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada TOG 1RO

This Was John Calvin is a 224-page biographical account of the life of a reformer of Christianity. The story brings to life this historical figure, from the time of his childhood through his academic and preaching years until his death. The author creatively weaves the details of Calvin's life into a readable tale for anyone interested in the Reformation, students and adults alike. She uses quotes from Calvin's own writings to show the faith of a man so influential to much of Christianity.

I was repeatedly moved by Calvin's convictions and strength of faith. I found Halseme's telling of Calvin's life to be both informative and inspiring. We learn that his own mother died when he was just three. He was then reared by his stepmother and his father, who prepared him for a life of work in the church. Halseme gives direct quotes from Calvin's own works to show how he grows in his faith and begins to question the church in which he was raised.

While the book does inform the reader thoroughly of Calvin's life, there are times when the account is almost offensive to the unreformed. I believe it is assumed the reader is of reformed Christianity and agrees with Calvin's theology. While this makes the book an interesting read to a follower of Calvin, it would not be an appropriate biography for those who simply want to learn the facts about Calvin.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to those interested in the Reformation and Calvin's role in it.

Product review by Katherine Averill, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2011

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