Mike Dagle's Reviews > Calvin, Participation, and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union with Christ

Calvin, Participation, and the Gift by J. Todd Billings
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Jun 04, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: theology
Read from June 04 to July 25, 2010

Billings (who I interviewed on his book The Word of God for the People of God) does an admiral job of interacting with a wide variety of Calvin's works to argue against voices (such as Milbank, Ward, Oliver, & Pickstock) who seem to view Calvin as inherently un-catholic and deficient with respect to his theologies of gift and participation.

It isn't clear to me that Billings succeeds in highlighting a sort of humanism within Calvin's thought (though that isn't really what he's trying to do) and to convince those he argues against he'd probably need to deal with the metaphysical aspects of sovereignty and election. However he does show (quite clearly) that the criticisms that have been lodged against Calvin in these areas haven't sufficiently interacted with Calvin on his own terms and that human participation can be shown to serve important functions in Calvin's theology.

Billings has produced an interesting and creative work at the interaction of historical and systematic theology that can actually serve as a introduction to Calvin on a number of matters.
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