Paperback: 37 pages
Publisher: One Million Tracts / Jeremiah Cry Ministries
Product Dimensions: 5.25 x 0.1 x 8 inches
The name, John Calvin, normally brings to mind The Institutes of the Christian Religion or the doctrine of predestination. Many critics of the reformer depict Calvin as a hard and exacting master, but in this rare find by Charles W. Banks, we get insights into the reformerÍs life that reveal a husband, a disciple, a disciple maker, and a humble servant of Jesus Christ. It is common within reformed circles to speak of the doctrines of grace as a synonym for ñCalvinism,î but it is the ñgraceî of God in the life of Calvin and not the ñCalvinismî of the reformerÍs theology that Banks emphasizes. Banks begins with the childhood of Calvin and gives a glimpse of his relationship with his father and even reveals the twelve-year-old CalvinÍs active involvement in the ñRomishî church. Brief sketches of CalvinÍs friendships reveal his humility and faithfulness to the brethren that labored with him during the beginning of the Reformation. Among them were men like Le Fevre, Farel, Bucer, Melancthon, Bullinger, and of course Beza. Perhaps the most intimate revelations into the humanity of the great reformer are in the section ñCalvinÍs Last Illness and Death.î Banks invested the most ink in this section making sure to show CalvinÍs humble frailty and his faithful trust in the wise providence of a sovereign God. Persevering to the end and not wishing to waste his sufferings, it is said the last days of Calvin ñwere spent in almost constant prayer.î
Immediately following the sketch of CalvinÍs life, is the authorÍs ñƒEarnest Appeal to Bible Christians for the Adoption of Open-Air Preachingî in London, and it is still relevant today and for saints around the world. Brief but encouraging, the thoughts of Banks are a welcome addition to the relatively small number of works on open-air preaching from a biblically sound perspective. Too often open-air preaching is wrongly associated with Pelagians and open theists who tend to ñpicketî or protest sin and ñrebukeî the sinners rather than preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Banks asks two questions regarding open-air preaching: 1) Are the Christian churches carrying the gospel outside of their own places of worship? 2) Are there any godly men ready to preach? Just as in our own day, Banks and others are aware that literally thousands of lost souls will never enter a church. Also just as in our own day, Banks opines that open-air preaching is not favorably looked upon by those ñwho love to sit at ease in Zion.î Banks argues that open-air preaching is scriptural, and it has had plenty of practitioners throughout church history. Writing in the nineteenth century, Banks asks, ñƒwhy should we disown it now?î Obviously, this same question is being asked once again in the twenty-first century simply by the reprinting of this little-known treatise by Charles W. Banks.