Kuyper's lectures on Calvinism...
For most of you this excellent book is old news. Being 33 years young and younger still in faith, I'm enjoying the pleasure of discovering such Christian classics for the first time. And in my enthusiasm, I want everybody reading along. You know the type.
Seriously, this book is helpful. It will save you time. Kuyper had that rare ability of taking vast amounts of complicated material and boiling it down so that small minds could access it. Read these lectures and, in a short time, you'll come away with better categories for thinking, not just about theology, but about all the spheres of life.
As Kuyper demonstrates, Calvinism is an all-of-life system. It's a worldview, but not just any worldview. It's far more Biblical than its competitors. It's genius, Kuyper says. And we see this especially in how quickly it found its way into the corners... "Calvinism put its impress in and outside the Church upon every department of human life." And it did so, Kuyper explains, by restoring to every man, woman, and child--no matter their station or intelligence--the awful dignity of standing in unmediated relationship to God. As Isaac Watts put it:
No bleeding bird, nor bleeding beast,
Nor hyssop branch, nor sprinkling priest,
Nor running brook, nor flood, nor sea,
Can wash the dismal stain away.
"There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1Tim 2:5), and "No man comes to father but through Him" (John 14:6). Kuyper shows the implications of this are categorically huge. So, no matter what vocation God has called you to in His world, you'll understand it better with Kuyper's help. He's no substitute for reading Calvin yourself, but these lectures make a great companion to Calvin's Institutes. Maybe even a good introduction.