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The Theology of Calvin’s Institutes (Books 1–2)

Carlton Wynne

Dr. Carlton Wynne is Associate Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA) and Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia.
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This course aims to assist the church in reading and understanding the 1559 edition of the Reformer John Calvin’s magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Engaging Calvin’s Institutes entails not only exploring his theology but also fostering reverence and joy in union with Christ. Therefore, this course also seeks to facilitate the reader’s spiritual growth before God’s face. After surveying Calvin’s life and labor on the Institutes in their historical context, the course lectures trace the structure and content of Books 1 and 2 of the Institutes. Covered topics include the knowledge of God the Creator as revealed in nature and Scripture, the Trinity, creation, and providence (Book 1), as well as the knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ, particularly in light of Adam’s fall into sin, the gospel and its law as revealed throughout the Old and New Testament ages, and the person and work of the Savior (Book 2).

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  • understand the historical background and purposes of Calvin’s Institutes;
  • grasp the basic structure and theological content of Books 1 and 2 of the Institutes;
  • appreciate the harmony between Calvin’s theology and a Reformed confessional view of the knowledge of God, sin, covenant, and more; and 
  • discern the integrated character of Calvin’s theology and God’s sanctifying purpose in the lives of his people.

Total course duration: 5 hours, 34 minutes.


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