Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin's Theology

Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin's Theology

Garcia, Mark A.


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"Thoroughly researched and clearly written, this book makes an important contribution to Calvin studies."
- Richard B. Gaffin Jr, Westminster Theological Seminary

Scholars have concluded that union with Christ is centrally important to Calvin's thought. But how does this idea actually function in his theology? In three wide-ranging case studies Mark A. Garcia explores this question. After a discussion of historical and theological background, Garcia explains the way Calvin understands the Apostle Paul to connect good works to eternal life in the context of union with Christ. The next study then turns to the relationship of Christology and pneumatology in sacramental union or communionwith Christ. In the third study the author investigates the role of Christ, the Spirit, and the Eucharist in Calvin's critique of Andreas Osiander's views of justifying union with Christ. The result is a comprehensive and yet focused analysis. It explains not only the distinctive nature of Calvin's response to Rome on justification, but why this response must be carefully distinguished from that of his Lutheran counterparts. The fruit of these investigations is the first extensive demonstration that Calvin's exposition of union with Christ in relating justification and sanctification points to an emerging Reformed theology of justification that diverges from the Lutheran tradition. Calvin's exegetical and theological model of union with Christ accents the importance in the early Reformed tradition of the relationship between Christology and salvation.

About the Author

Mark A. Garcia (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is Pastor of Immanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in West Allegheny (Oakdale), Pennsylvania, USA.

Book Details

Publisher: Authentic UK/Paternoster
ISBN 13: 9781842275726

'Thoroughly researched and clearly written, this book makes an important contribution to Calvin studies. It explores in depth and often with unprecedented insight the central place of union with Christ in his applied soteriology and demonstrates convincingly, with significant implications, just how controlling is its basic union - twofold grace (of justification and sanctification) structure.'
- Richard B. Gaffin Jr, Charles Krahe Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

'Based on careful research and considerable methodological clarity, this is one of the more perceptive recent accounts of the difficult problem of faith and works in Calvin's theology. It also sheds much light on issues such as his quarrel with Osiander. A highly commendable first book.'
- Irena Backus, Professor of the History of Christianity, Institute for Reformation History, University of Geneva

'This is a superb study and warmly to be recommended to all who are working with Calvin's theology.'
- Anthony N. S. Lane, Director of Research and Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology

'Mark Garcia here does handsome justice to the significance of union with Christ in John Calvin, and does so in a book which displays a masterful familiarity with contemporary Calvin scholarship, alongside other grounds for high praise.'
- David F. Wright, Emeritus Professor of Patristic and Reformed Christianity, New College, University of Edinburgh