John Calvin: Renaissance/Reformation (1509–1564)

Chapter 1:
The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves Mutually Connected—Nature of This Connection

Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us . . . that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.

John Calvin generally gets a bad rap for the brand of Calvinism that basically says that God predestined some people for heaven and others for hell.  While many people do believe that, it’s a bad reading of Calvin and a worse reading of the Bible.

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote:

We are not to reflect on the wickedness of men but to look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, an image which, by its beauty and dignity, should allure us to love and embrace them.

John Calvin was a humble man, though Voltaire went on to call him the “Pope of the Protestants.” He saw every man as an image bearer of God and therefore immeasurably valuable.

In his book The Great Books Reader, John Mark Reynolds said:

Oddly, despite his influence, few who aren’t theologians read Calvin. He doesn’t appear on the curriculum of many “great books” programs. If my students are not Calvinists, the few things they think they know about Calvin are often false and almost always negative. Simultaneously, Calvin is being revived in conservative evangelical circles hoping to deepen their intellectual and theological rigor. Too frequently these students know Calvin but have never thought critically about his ideas.

Both Calvinist and non-Calvinist students are often shocked when they read Calvin, because as with any seminal thinker, he often is more flexible than later creedal formulations in the Reformed communities. Calvin may be a Calvinist, but he’s not a narrow one!

 Do you align completely with a creed?  Why or why not?

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.



John Mark Reynolds is the president of The Saint Constantine School, a school that aspires to preschool through college education. He is also a philosopher, administrator, and joyous curmudgeon. Reynolds was the founder and first director of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. He was provost at Houston Baptist University where he was instrumental in starting the graduate Apologetics program and a cinema and new media arts major. John Mark blogs at Eidos on the Patheos Evangelical platform and has written for First Things and the Washington Post. He is an owner of the Green Bay Packers.


D I G  D E E P E R

 John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion

Russell D. Moore

If today John Calvin were discovered alive and in suspended animation, frozen in a block of ice somewhere in the French Alps, most people probably wouldn’t consider this good news. After all, the unfrozen Calvinist lawgiver rarely is thought of as the kind of figure modern audiences would want to drag back up.

His writings don’t have the wink-of-the-eye, puckish grin that even his contemporary Martin Luther seems to sometimes convey in his many writings. Moreover, Calvin, although associated with some bland but commendable features such as hard work and thrift, is mostly known for awful things, such as burnings at the stake and the predestination of people to hell.

Calvin is too important, though, to leave him frozen in caricature, and he’s too significant to leave him simply to his tribe of theological partisans. John Calvin—most significantly in his Institutes of the Christian Religion—offers insight to all in the Christian tradition, including those who consider themselves the furthest away from “Calvinism.”

The Institutes was written first in 1536, with the final version completed in Latin in 1559. Calvin, a French convert from Catholicism to the ideas of the Protestant Reformation, quickly established himself as the early protest movement’s most influential theologian. While those who have never read Calvin firsthand often assume the volume is obsessed with speculative notions about divine sovereignty and the order of God’s decrees of election and reprobation, the excerpt here better represents something of the broader tone and substance of the Reformer’s thought.

The tome’s initial sentence establishes a core theme in Calvin’s work: “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” At first glance, this statement might seem to be exactly what we might expect from one so often associated with coldly cerebral Christian rationalism and abstract speculation. But the discussion Calvin begins on “knowledge” is far more complex, and far more engaging, than that.

First of all, Calvin here is setting the context for a vision of all of life as theological. By this, I don’t mean merely that Calvin believes there is what some would call a Christian “worldview,” a theologically informed way of thinking about all aspects of existence. Calvin means more than this. He means that every human being is, by definition, a theologian.

Every “word”—that is, every means a person has for making sense of his reality—is inescapably a “word about God,” a theology.

In addition, this truth is grounded above all in the creaturely nature of humanity. Referencing the apostle Paul’s speech to the Athenians at Mars Hill, Calvin notes that it is in Creator God, by necessity, that every human person “lives and moves” (Acts 17:28). For Calvin, the universal impulse of humanity to worship gods or ideologies or themselves is hardly a coincidence of evolution. The sense of the divine is embedded in all human persons, as part of God’s image itself. This awareness is activated by the icon of God’s glory present in the created cosmos all around us. If we do not acknowledge this primal reality, we simply cannot apprehend ourselves as we really are, or the universe as it really is.

Further, it is not simply that all persons ought to be able to realize there is a God, if only they were to pay careful enough attention to the evidences for His existence. It is instead that all persons do, immediately, recognize this. Moreover, they recognize not only God’s existence, but they also recognize, personally, the God who is. So why is there not a universal worship of the God in whom Calvin believes, the God of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, the God of Jesus of Nazareth?


This is where John Calvin’s view of sin emerges. Again, he’s oft-misrepresented as having a gloomy, world-denying pessimism about humanity. Some of his followers throughout the centuries have yielded to this caricature. But Calvin’s view of sin isn’t censorious or cranky. Instead, this doctrine explains why worship is so difficult for humanity as it is. It is not, in Calvin’s view, that we sin because we believe the wrong things; it is, rather, that we believe the wrong things because we sin.

In other words, human persons, in our fallenness, crave our own autonomy—the illusion that we are gods to ourselves. In order to protect this delusion and remain “free” from our Creator, we convince ourselves of what deep in our consciences we cannot deny—the reality of God, His moral law, the coming judgment.

Calvin here, echoing Paul, anticipates some of the psychological theories of later centuries in presenting a picture of the role the affections play in shaping the way we think. Sigmund Freud may have been quite wrong about many things, yet who can deny that human persons are motivated by more than merely rational impulses but additionally by an often dark and nearly incomprehensible psychic undertow? Calvin would root this in the fallen nature of the human condition. In order to know God and to know ourselves, Calvin insists, we must face this truth.

This is hardly a “pessimistic” picture, though, in the larger mosaic of Calvin’s thought. Human persons can rightly read the cosmos, and ourselves, through the revelation God has disclosed in the person of Jesus Christ and in the “spectacles” of the Scriptures.

Calvin’s view of revelation, and of knowledge as fundamentally a question of worship, grounds the importance in Protestant Christianity of preaching and widespread reading and study of the Bible in the languages of the people. This tradition, as it expanded in missionary movements and revivalist awakenings, shaped much of the trajectory of modern European and American thought.

Reading John Calvin’s Institutes, you’ll likely find points of disagreement, perhaps even major disagreements. But also you’ll probably—whatever your religious communion—find the insights of a mind shaped by immersion in the Scriptures, in the church fathers, in Western classical thought. And, behind this, you’ll discover a man who recognized something of what it meant (1) to be a creature, and (2) to look in worship and humility for the Creator in whom he lived and moved.

Russell Moore, PhD, is the dean of the School of Theology and senior vice-president for Academic Administration at Southern Baptist Theology Seminary. He is also a senior editor at Touchstone magazine and author of several books, including Adopted for Life and A Theology for the Church.

John Mark Reynolds, The Great Books Reader: Excerpts and Essays on the Most Influential Books in Western Civilization (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House, 2011).

Presbyterians And Predestination

Genesis from The St. John’s Bible

Psalm 24

1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Ephesians 1:3–14

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

RickJohn Calvin generally gets a bad rap for the brand of Calvinism that basically says that God predestined some people for heaven and others for hell.  While many people do believe that, it’s a bad reading of Calvin and a worse reading of the Bible.

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote:

We are not to reflect on the wickedness of men but to look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, an image which, by its beauty and dignity, should allure us to love and embrace them.

John Calvin was a humble man, though Voltaire went on to call him the “Pope of the Protestants.” He saw every man as an image bearer of God and therefore immeasurably valuable. As Ken Kovacs writes in his book Out of the Depths:

The doctrine that consumed Calvin, and you can see it in the first ten pages of the Institutes, was the doctrine of creation. What I mean by this is not creationism, although Calvin believed in a literal reading of Genesis, but a view of the glory of God found in the created order, which, to the eyes of faith, gives profound witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ. Calvin said, “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice,” and, therefore, we are “not only to be spectators in this beautiful theatre but to enjoy the vast bounty and variety of good things which are displayed to us in it.” Calvin approaches this amazing world, the “theatre of God’s glory,” as he liked to say, with awe, amazement, or as he said, “wonderment.” God’s rule over the creation is sovereign. Our lives are held in the sovereignty of God. The beauty of creation overwhelmed Calvin, as did the beauty of God (yes, beauty), the God who has called, claimed, loved, and redeemed us in Jesus Christ. And so Calvin invites us to serve this God in the theatre of God’s glory, the world. Marilynne Robinson reminds us that “Calvin was a product of Renaissance humanism, a student of Greek and Roman classics who reread Cicero [106 BC-43 BC] every year, a writer of exceptional grace and lucidity in both Latin and French, a man of prodigious learning, who did not dwell on damnation but rather exulted in a sovereign but not at all distant God, a God whose glory was manifest in the goodness of the world and the potential of humanity.

Is predestination the same as predeterminism?

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.



Ken Kovacs
Ken Kovacs

Kenneth E. Kovacs is pastor of the Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Catonsville, Maryland, and has served congregations in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Mendham, New Jersey. Ken studied at Rutgers College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. in practical theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. He is also an analyst-in-training at the C. G. Jung Institute-Zürich. Author of The Relational Theology of James E. Loder: Encounter & Conviction (New York: Peter Lang, 2011) and Out of the Depths: Sermons and Essays (Parson’s Porch, 2016), his current research areas include C. G. Jung and contemporary Christian experience. Ken has served on the board of the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, is a current board member of the Presbyterian Writers Guild, and a book reviewer for The Presbyterian Outlook.

Ken’s weekly sermons at CPC can be found at



D I G  D E E P E R

 Marilynne Robinson and John Calvin

Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson

“I want to overhear passionate arguments about what we are and what we are doing and what we ought to do. I want to feel that art is an utterance made in good faith by one human being to another. I want to believe there are geniuses scheming to astonish the rest of us, just for the pleasure of it.”

Marilynne Robinson, from The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought

John Calvin
John Calvin

“We have the love of God towards us testified also by many other proofs. For if it be asked, why the world has been created, why we have been placed in it to possess the dominion of the earth, why we are preserved in life to enjoy innumerable blessings, why we are endued with light and understanding, no other reason can be adduced, except the gratuitous love of God.

But the Apostle here has chosen the principle evidence of it, and what far surpasses all other things. For it was not only an immeasurable love, that God spared not his own Son, that by his death he might restore us to life; but it was goodness the most marvelous, which ought to fill our minds with the greatest wonder and amazement. Christ, then, is so illustrious and singular a proof of divine love towards us, that whenever we look upon him, he fully confirms to us the truth that God is love.

He calls him his only begotten, for the sake of amplifying. For in this he more clearly showed how singularly he loved us, because he exposed his only Son to death for our sakes. In the meantime, he who is his only Son by nature, makes many sons by grace and adoption, even all who, by faith, are united to his body. He expresses the end for which Christ has been sent by the Father, even that we may live through him: for without him we are all dead, but by his coming he brought life to us; and except our unbelief prevents the effect of his grace, we feel it in ourselves.”

John Calvin, from his commentary on 1 John 4:9

The St. John’s Bible

Genesis from The St. John’s Bible

The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press.

Beginning in 1970, master calligrapher Donald Jackson expressed in media interviews his lifelong dream of creating an illuminated Bible. Following a Saint John’s University-sponsored calligraphy presentation at the Newberry Library in Chicago in 1995, Jackson discussed a handwritten Bible with Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB, former executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Between 1996 and 1997, Saint John’s explored the feasibility of the Bible project, Jackson created first samples, and theologians developed the illumination schema. The Saint John’s Bible was officially commissioned in 1998 and funding opportunities were launched. The public was introduced to the project in 1999 and production was completed in 2011, with the final word penned in May 2011 and touch-up work completed by December 2011.

The Saint John’s Bible is divided into seven volumes and is two feet tall by three feet wide when open. The Bible is made of vellum, with 160 illuminations. The version of the Bible used is the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE).[1] A copy of the Bible has been presented to the Pope at the Vatican in several volumes, with the final volume being presented on 17 April 2015.[2]

The scriptorium of The Saint John’s Bible is located in Monmouth, Wales.


The Heart Of The Andes by Frederic Edwin Church (1859)

Frederic Edwin Church
The Heart of the Andes by Frederic Church, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

John Calvin

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice,” and, therefore, we are “not only to be spectators in this beautiful theatre but to enjoy the vast bounty and variety of good things which are displayed to us in it.”

RickImpressionists, like Monet with his Water Lilies, sought to depict the glory of nature through techniques which could best be appreciated by standing back, away from the painting.  In dramatic contrast, Frederic Edwin Church handed out opera glasses so viewers could examine the details.  From its massive canvas over five feet high and ten feet wide, The Heart of the Andes seemed to bring the actual vista to its viewers.

As Terry Glaspey explains in 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know :

There was a time when a major new painting could attract the kind of interest and publicity that a new film does today, drawing large and enthusiastic crowds to pay to see a single work of art. One such painting was Frederic Church’s The Heart of the Andes, which he had created following an extensive trip to South America, where he trekked through jungles and up mountain peaks in search of exotic beauty. Traveling where few North Americans had ever gone, he experienced a journey through Colombia and Ecuador that was filled with much hardship and several brushes with danger, but it produced one of his most awe-inspiring canvases.

The Heart of the Andes is not a literal representation of any one particular viewpoint that one might see hiking the heights of these legendary mountains but rather an idealized view composed from various sketches he made during his journey—the natural world rearranged for maximum dramatic effect. It is a huge painting, without any one central focus, which must be taken in slowly and leisurely, letting the eye wander over the gorgeous expanse that includes a snowcapped mountain range in the far distance, verdant mountains in the middle ground, and a waterfall with lush tropical vegetation in the foreground. Light rakes across the painting, illuminating the plunging waterfall and its surrounding trees and throwing a spotlight upon a solitary cross in the middle left of the canvas. The cross, for Church, is perhaps the true heart of the Andes, a reminder of the God who created these mountains. In his painting Church sought not only to capture the beauty he had seen but also to impart the same sort of spiritual elevation he had felt when his eyes originally scanned the unfolding splendor. The resulting picture is a grand and sublime vista, infused with Church’s vision of the mystery and majesty of creation.

Has the live viewing of a work of art ever filled you with awe?

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

D I G  D E E P E R

Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church

(1826–1900). U.S. landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was active throughout much of the 19th century. He was one of the most prominent members of the Hudson River School, though the exotically dramatic landscapes he painted frequently had little to do with the typical U.S. vistas that were the hallmark of the Hudson River artists. He is famous for his huge and majestic landscapes that portray his deep understanding of nature.

Church was born on May 4, 1826, in Hartford, Conn. He studied with the painter Thomas Cole at his home in Catskill, N.Y., from 1844 to 1847. After moving to New York City he traveled throughout the New England states to sketch landscapes which he would then use as inspiration for his paintings. Developing unusual technical dexterity, Church from the beginning chose for his subjects such marvels of nature as Niagara Falls, volcanoes in eruption, and icebergs. He was greatly influenced by the writings of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, and in 1853, while he was in Ecuador, he stayed in the house where Humboldt had lived. He portrayed the beauties of the Andes Mountains and tropical forests with great skill. In the management of light and color and the depiction of natural phenomena such as rainbows, mist, and sunsets, his renderings were realistic and emotionally affecting. In their time, these exotic paintings were greatly admired and sold for high prices.

In 1845Church held his first exhibit at the National Academy of Design, and in 1849 he was made a member of the organization. Among his major works are Andes of Ecuador (1855), Niagara (1857), and Cotopaxi (1862). Church traveled widely in Europe and the Middle East, but after 1877 he was forced to abandon painting because of crippling rheumatism in his hands. He spent most of his later years at Olana, his Persian-style house on the Hudson River, which later became a museum. Church died on April 7, 1900, near New York City. Enthusiasm for Church’s works was rekindled in the late 20th century, when he began to be considered one of the foremost U.S. landscape painters. Church’s long-lost masterpiece, Icebergs (1861), was rediscovered in 1979.


Hudson River school was a large group of American landscape painters of several generations who worked between about 1825 and 1870. The name, applied retrospectively, refers to a similarity of intent rather than to a geographic location, though many of the older members of the group drew inspiration from the picturesque Catskill region north of New York City, through which the Hudson River flows. An outgrowth of the Romantic movement, the Hudson River school was the first native school of painting in the United States; it was strongly nationalistic both in its proud celebration of the natural beauty of the American landscape and in the desire of its artists to become independent of European schools of painting.

The early leaders of the Hudson River school were Thomas Doughty, Asher Durand, and Thomas Cole, all of whom worked in the open and painted reverential, carefully observed pictures of untouched wilderness in the Hudson River valley and nearby locations in New England. Although these painters and most of the others who followed their example studied in Europe at some point, all had first achieved a measure of success at home and had established the common theme of the remoteness and splendour of the American interior. Doughty concentrated on serene, lyrical, contemplative scenes of the valley itself. Durand, also lyrical, was more intimate and particularly made use of delicate lighting in woodland scenes. Cole, the most romantic of the early group, favoured the stormy and monumental aspects of nature. Other painters who concentrated on depicting the landscape of the northeastern United States were Alvan Fisher, Henry Inman, and Samuel F.B. Morse and, later, John Kensett, John Casilear, Worthington Whittredge, and Jasper F. Cropsey. Frederic Edwin Church is considered a member of the Hudson River school, although the exotically dramatic landscapes he painted frequently had little to do with typical American vistas. The more individual landscape painter George Inness also began as a Hudson River painter.

For some painters whose theme was untouched landscape, the northeast was less alluring than the more primitive and dramatic landscapes of the west. John Banvard and Henry Lewis painted huge panoramas of empty stretches of the Mississippi River. Among the first artists to explore the Far West were the enormously successful Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, who painted grandiose scenes of the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite Valley. The Hudson River school remained the dominant school of American landscape painting throughout most of the 19th century.

Sources and Resources


Very handsomely illustrated with fifty-eight color plates of the works of nineteenth-century artists Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Jasper Francis Cropsey, and others, The Knights of the Brush is cultural criticism of a high order. It is also a poignant and persuasive appeal for the recovery of art in the service of transcendent beauty, which is inseparable, James Cooper contends in agreement with all who have understood civilization, from the good and the true.

Timothy George, “Evangelicals and the Rule of Faith. Review of The Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape by James F. Cooper,” First Things, no. 106 (2000): 78.

“Church, Frederic Edwin,” Compton’s Encyclopedia (Chicago, IL: Compton’s Encyclopedia, 2015).

Baigell, Matthew. Thomas Cole. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1985.

Cooper, James F. Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School of Painting and the Moral Landscape. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1999.

Kelly, Franklin. Frederic Edwin Church. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1989.

Millhouse, Barbara Babcock. American Wilderness: The Story of the Hudson River School of Painting. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978.

Ryan, James Anthony. Frederic Church’s Olana. New York: Black Dome Press, 2001.

Veith, Gene Edward. Painters of Faith: The Spiritual Landscape in Nineteenth Century America. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2001.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).


Terry Glaspey


Terry Glaspey

I’m really looking forward to discussing my book, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know,” with the members of Literary Life Book Club. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and perspectives on some of the art, music, and literature you’ll discover in the book. I’m interested in how it speaks to you in your life and the ways it inspires, challenges, or maybe even annoys you! I’ll try to share some “deleted scenes” stuff I had to leave out and will tell a few stories about what I experienced while doing the writing and research. Hope that many of you can join us as we look at he stories behind some truly wonderful art.

Let’s explore together!


Join the discussion with Terry on Facebook HERE

Terry Glaspey is a writer, an editor, a creative mentor, and someone who finds various forms of art—painting, films, novels, poetry, and music—to be some of the places where he most deeply connects with God.

He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), as well as undergraduate degrees emphasizing counseling and pastoral studies.

He has written over a dozen books, including 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know:  Fascinating Stories Behind Great Art, Music, Literature, and Film, Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis, The Prayers of Jane Austen, 25 Keys to Life-Changing Prayer, Bible Basics for Everyone, and others.

Terry enjoys writing and speaking about a variety of topics including creativity and spirituality, the artistic heritage of the Christian faith, the writing of C.S. Lewis, and creative approaches to apologetics.

He serves on the board of directors of the Society to Explore and Record Church History and is listed in Who’s Who in America Terry has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a distinguished alumni award and the Advanced Speakers and Writers Editor of the Year award.

Terry has two daughters and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Dig Deeper at


Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O’Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft.

Terry Glaspey, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015).

Order it HERE today.