This groundbreaking study, Calvin's Ladder offers a sweeping overview and reconsideration of John Calvin's theology. In Calvin's Ladder Julie Canlis recovers some of the common (and neglected) themes that Calvin shared with the patristic fathers. She shows that his works are shot through with a vibrant theology of "participation," thus placing Calvin within the Christian mystical tradition.
A work of both theology and spiritual formation, Calvin's Ladder suggests an entirely distinctive way of conceiving the relation between God and humanity, challenging not only old caricatures of Calvin but also our own self-portraits.
Are Christians truly invited to share in God or just in his gifts? The language of participation” has been hotly debated for centuries, many Protestants protesting that aspiring to share in God is akin to attempting to ascend to his level. John Calvin’s theology is often brought in to support this contention. Here Julie Canlis argues that to do so reflects a complete misunderstanding of Calvin. In fact, she says, it is precisely Calvin’s inclusion of participation that makes his theology so robust and spiritually enduring. / Calvin’s Ladder traces the theme of participation in early Christian spirituality, then reveals how Calvin reworks it into the heart of his Protestant manifesto on theology. This groundbreaking book suggests an entirely distinctive way of conceiving the relation between God and humanity, challenging not only old caricatures of Calvin but also our own self-portraits.
Julie Canlis won the Templeton Award for TheologicalPromise in 2007 for her work on John Calvin. She earned adoctorate from the University of St Andrews and now worksin a Church of Scotland parish.
"It is rare to find a book that is historically rigorous, theologically rich, lucidly written, and at the same time pastorally engaging: this book by Julie Canlis is all of these. A superb exposition of a theme at the very heart of the Christian life."
University of Cambridge
"In this groundbreaking work Julie Canlis offers a bold, new interpretation of Calvin. Alongside his favorite and well-known metaphors of the Labyrinth and the Abyss we must now unexpectedly place the Ladder. Calvin affirms this metaphor only to undermine and reinvent it at the same time. Canlis gives us a striking interpretation of how Calvin and the Reformation understood the doctrine of salvation an interpretation of wide ecumenical significance."
Princeton Theological Seminary
"Calvin comes into clear and compelling focus in Julie Canlis's Calvin's Ladder as a theologian and pastor who insists that the Christian life at the core is a matter of Christ drawing us into a full participation in all the operations of the Trinity and the community of the church. The academic precision on offer here is in the service of lived, not just argued, theology."
-Eugene H. Peterson
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