Emanuel Stickelberger

Recommendation:   4/5

Description of author:  Emanuel Stickelberger (1884-1962) was a Swiss businessman,  poet and writer

Comments:  If Luther was the founder of the Reformation, Calvin was the man whom God used to ensure the enduring nature of Reformation teaching.  He was the pre-eminent theologian and thinker (see p. 107).  John Calvin is often portrayed as a very hard, unbending, unfeeling man who taught a very rigid, unloving doctrine of election.  Stickelberger seeks to free Calvin from that image.  He writes on page 17:  His convictions grounded in Scripture were immovable and he asserted them with the zeal of the Prophets of the Old Testament.  Yet he retained his charming disposition, always ready to help, and lost nothing of his natural kindness of heart.  People about him not only respected him, they loved him.  This is the picture which unprejudiced investigation discloses.  It is important to keep this picture in mind, for the current conception of the character of Calvin is still based almost entirely upon the representation of the Catholic Kampschulte, who neither understood nor loved him (see also p. 41-43, 140).  The book is divided into 7 chapters, 6 of which cover chronological periods of his life.  One chapter (VI) describes the antagonists of Calvin.  His section on Servetus is especially thorough and helpful.  I must admit that this book has completely changed my understanding of the man.  This is a surprisingly thorough and profound biography considering it is only 174 pages in length.  I highly recommend it.