My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension, by Julie Canlis, is one of the best theological books I’ve read, and exemplifies what we’re striving to do at the Reformed Liturgical Institute. Canlis reveals a rich legacy of theological insights in Calvin’s thought, weaving together the themes of participation, ascension, adoption and eucharist. Canlis interacts with a wide variety of commentators on Calvin, and doesn’t hesitate to gently correct and question some of the respected figures in Calvin scholarship. Further, she shows how recovering Calvin’s theology of “participation” helps balance certain readings of Calvin and certain strains of the Calvinist tradition. As an example of “reformed catholicity,” her treatment of Irenaeus’s theology of participation is especially insightful, even when she uses Irenaeus to modify Calvin’s own theology of participation. As a student of the church fathers, surely this is something Calvin would appreciate. Overall, a theological feast well worth savoring!