How best to understand Calvin on the 500th anniversary of his birth? Start with this new biography by a professor at Yale Divinity School who offers a nuanced, flesh-and-blood portrait of a man shaped in complex ways by his relationships with colleagues and enemies, friends and rivals, as well as by political events beyond his control.
Unable to reach consensus regarding the ordination of gays, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), like many other denominations, found itself embroiled for years in a series of winner-take-all battles with no end in sight. In 2001 a wearied General Assembly appointed the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church to help to break the stalemate.
With a new generation of theologians reevaluating the theology of Karl Barth, some are suggesting that this pivotal figure of the 20th century may enjoy his greatest influence in the 21st. Doubtless many readers will recoil at such a prospect, but that may be because their own assumptions about Barth do not correspond to the vitality of Barth’s own work.
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