The Identity and the Life of the Church: John Calvin’s Ecclesiology in the Perspective of His Anthropology

By Yosep Kim

A penetrating study of how Calvin’s anthropological understanding of Christian identity informed and underpinned his doctrine of the church.

ISBN: 9780227174562


The Identity and the Life of the Church is a study of John Calvin’s ecclesiology that argues that Calvin’s idea of the twofold identity of the Church – its spiritual identity as the body of Christ and its functional identity as the mother of all believers – is closely related to his understanding of Christian identity and life, which are initiated and maintained by the grace of the triune God. The anthropological basis of Calvin’s idea of the Church has not been examined fully, even though Calvin presents the important concepts of his ecclesiology in the light of his anthropological ideas. Yosep Kim provides an overall evaluation of Calvin’s ecclesiology, arguing that it is ultimately Calvin’s pastoral concern for the Christian and the Church under affliction that governs his theological understanding of the Church and shapes his proposals for establishing and sustaining the life of the Church in the world.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Yosep Kim (PhD, University of Cambridge) is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Chongshin Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea.




Part One: Calvin’s Anthropology
1. The Imago Dei in the Divine-Human Relationship
2. The Grace of the Trinity as the Foundation of Christian Identity
3. The Christian Life as the Eschatological Progress

Part Two: Calvin’s Ecclesiology
4. The Church as the Mother of All Believers
5. The Church as the Body of Christ
6. The Church and the Kingdom of Christ




Endorsements and Reviews

Through its close attention to the rich metaphors that John Calvin deployed in his theological reflections, this sophisticated and penetrating exploration of his ecclesiology in the light of his anthropology brings out both the profoundly pastoral dynamics that drove Calvin’s theological enterprise and the thick texture of the theological webbing that made his thought such a coherent and effective force in the world.
Richard Rex, Reader in Reformation History, University of Cambridge

Yosep Kim has produced a fascinating study of Calvin’s ecclesiology, focusing on the relation in his thought between the church’s spiritual identity as the invisible body of Christ and her functional identity as the visible mother of believers. This will be of interest to all Calvin scholars and especially to those concerned with his doctrine of the church.
Anthony N.S. Lane, Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology