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Institutes of the Christian Religion

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Institutes of the Christian Religion


Institutes of theChristian Religion is John Calvin’s seminal work on Protestant systematictheology. Highly influential in the Western world and still widely read bytheological students today, it was published in Latin in 1536 and in his nativeFrench in 1541. The book serves as an introductory textbook on the Protestantfaith for those with some previous knowledge of theology and covers a broadrange of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments tojustification by faith alone and Christian liberty. It vigorously attacks teachings which Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicismto which Calvin says he had been “strongly devoted” before his conversion toProtestantism. The overarching theme of the book—and Calvin’s greatesttheological legacy—is the idea of God’s total sovereignty, particularly insalvation and election. Institutes of theChristian Religion is highly-regarded as a secondary reference for thesystem of doctrine adopted by the Reformed churches, which is commonly referredto as Calvinism.

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