An Abridgment of Calvin’s Institute of the Christian Religion by Timothy Tow: Book Review

New Picture (8)Anyone can graduate from many Bible College but he cannot graduate from the Bible. However, one can continue to  study even outside the schools or seminaries. This book written by John Calvin and was summarized by Pastor Tow will help you how. Because like me, it was after two years after I’ve graduated from seminary when I was enrolled in this institute.

This four-in-one book by John Calvin is an abridgement by the author to give the students of the word with a summary of an exhaustive work done by Calvin. This is also good for those uninformed and critics who’s only good at criticizing a fruit that they’ve never tasted. This will give them headache because they can never refute the truth laid out here. But to those sincere truth seekers, they will be truly blessed with learning that most known seminaries can’t offer.

Know the doctrine of Sovereignty from the proponents and not from opponents. You can learn without entering school, just read and learn from the Calvin’s Institute. You may not earn any degree, but you will know God’s sovereignty to a high degree. Read this and don’t remain uninformed or misinformed.

The author of this book, the late Pastor Timothy  Tow, is truly among the revered who longs that everyone may benefit from Calvin’s Institute.


Title: An Abridgment of Calvin’s Institute of the Christian Religion

Author: Timothy Tow

Publisher: Far Eastern Bible College Press, Singapore

Date Published: 1997

Page: 511

ISBN: 981-00-9335-7


Contact: FEBC Bookroom


Far Eastern Bible College


9A Gilstead Road, 

Singapore 309063

Republic of Singapore


Telephone: (65) 6256-9256; (65) 6254-9188

Facsimile: (65) 6251-3891






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13 thoughts on “An Abridgment of Calvin’s Institute of the Christian Religion by Timothy Tow: Book Review

    • It sounds you have your own score board. Well! you have different taste than mine. He’s like a male nightingale who melodiously sounded the reformation. By the way, ‘bat’ is the only mammal to have evolve the true flight, they can navigate at night . Sonar capabilities is great and Batman finds them as his model.They have important function in the balance of insect populations and also in the control of insect pests. Those who feed on fruits aid in dispersing seeds; and can also be a pollinators too. John Calvin has more use than this.

  1. I appreciate all that Calvin and the other Reformers endured and all they accomplished, especially considering where they started from. However, I wish they would have gone all the way back to the New Testament instead of stopping with Augustine and the other “church fathers.” They should have gone back to the “original” church fathers. Things would have developed much differently and we wouldn’t be plagued with the fruit of some of their teachings: a monolithic religious structure called a “church,” a “priesthood” which distinguishes between “clergy” and “laity,” infant baptism instead of the baptism of believers, as commanded by our Lord, “State churches” composed of all members of a nation instead of those who have truly professed Christ as Savior.

    BTW, I believe in and defend in print those doctrines commonly associated with him. He did have strong views on the sovereignty of God, but the “5 points” were propounded by a later generation than his as a result of one of his own students, who took his teaching farther than he did.

    • Thanks for commenting. I do not embrace all and does not rest on Augustine.I appreciate what God has done through this man and hoping this world will be enlightened unto the truth that Paul proclaimed and which Calvin passed on.

  2. “This will give them headache because they can never refute the truth laid out here.”

    The thing is, when someone is speaking out of both sides of their mouth, you can’t refute them. I mean, if on the one hand I’m arguing in favor of capitalism, but on the other in favor of communism, how will you refute me? If you call me a capitalists, I simply produce the passages in which I argued for communism and prove I am no capitalists. If you call me a communist, I simply produce the passages in which argued for capitalism and prove I am no communist. If I argue for two completely mutual exclusive things at once, I cannot be refuted. Calvin learned this tactic from the master who became all things to all men so that he might never be refuted by any, and that’s why it seems to stupid people that he is irrefutable. You cant do a point by point refutation because he is incoherent, just like Paul who also cannot be refuted point by point because of his incoherence. But to any person with a brain, no point by point refutation is needed in either case, because their incoherence, their contradictions against their own positions, make their voluminous writings self-refuting.

    • When a person voted for a president, let’s take for example an American voting for President Obama, that person doesn’t necessarily believed every details of Obama’s regime, not even all his activities which includes his personal life.The same when I’d like to point out my stand on what many commonly known as “Calvinism” which to my understanding as the five points.Although everything rests on the main understanding of the Sovereignty of God.The rest you will read that I am not in agreement and I do not stop on these truths on Sovereignty and the major points.Rightly dividing of Scripture is even more important and you will know the mystery revealed to him, and just because there are some changes, for example in what Paul is teaching, it only falls on the progressive revelation .Others may termed it as ‘incoherent’ or self refuting but it’s just because none of us can claim infallibility.We could have differing views as I read some from your blog. Paul was even a critic but he was open for others to criticize him. Thanks for passing by.

  3. You don’t even know what “sovereignty” means because redefining the term is one of the brainwashing tactics of the Calvinist cult. The word “sovereignty” does not mean a puppet master not a micromanager. You’ve been sold a bill of goods on the definition of the term, and that’s only the beginning.

    Just tell me this, have you ever researched the term in non-religious usage?

    “A sovereign power has absolute sovereignty when it is not restricted by a constitution,” but the Law of Moses is a constitution, one written by God Himself, and which limits his sovereign powers. In it God limits himself to ever upholding that covenant, for it is said many times in the text of the Pentateuch that the covenant is to be “an everlasting covenant.” With his natural sovereignty he could do whatever he wanted, but once he has made a covenant, enacted a constitution, produced some written document restricting his own anarchic ruling ability to a law, he must act in accordance with said law. Scripture, then, demolishes the idea of Calvinistic sovereignty merely by its very existence, and especially by the notion of covenant.

    For instance, go back further than the Law of Moses, to the covenant with Noah. God promised Noah in a covenant that he would never again allow the whole earth to be destroyed by a flood. On the Calvinistic view of “sovereignty” God could still do so. But that is pure nonsense.

    Anyway, back to the constitution, back to the Covenant at Sinai: After God has told us “Behold, I set before you Life and Death: choose life that you may live” he cannot change his mind and decide that the decision will be his rather than ours. By giving the constitution he has limited his ability to rule by anarchic arbitrary capriciousness. He must allow us freewill, yes even in religious matters, even in matters of salvation, because he specifically said in his constitution that he would.

    • You stressed many things that is void of truth but needs to be dealt with. You are the one’s against the Sovereignty of God and you have the guts to tell me I do not know sovereignty and just redefined it?

      God made a cage so that He may confine Himself in a cage..
      He made a rule so that that rule will limit Him..
      He made a rope and tied His hand so that He cannot move

      And you are telling me that you are the one who better understand sovereignty? You shame your own ‘god’ and that is not the God of the Bible, neither the God of Israel in Biblical accounts. Oh I see, even Israelites learned the gods of colonizers (Egypt). I see that your God is a god with limits, the reason you have a shallow understanding of God’s sovereignty. He is not even the God of Israel according to your reasoning. But you have a “puppet mentality”- a blasphemous understanding of God’s sovereignty which you throw unto me. Of course you’re used to buying Armenian ideas against the Sovereignty of God. You have the traditions of Roman popish in your mind yet one day you will swallow the words and the thoughts that you have against His will.

      I wonder why man claims to understand the limits of God if he himself is not the same as God. Only God can comprehend His own limits if ever He has, but for you to say that “God limits himself” that’s totally out of mind. People used to say “Let God be God”. How can they say that? They cannot let God to do that because they do not control God. And so to say that God limits himself, if you are not God you are not in a position to say that. Better to ascribe absolute to him rather than say of His limits.

      During the earthly ministry of Christ, many Jews, by their zeal of obeying the Law of Moses, cannot even obey Christ but crucified Him…They boast of obeying the law of Moses. During the Paul’s ministry. In Acts 15, many Jews with the remnant of those so die hard to Mosaic laws

      Do you observe all those Laws? James 2 :10; Gal.3:10
      Do you practice stoning to death until this time?
      I could ask more questions for you to see some difference.

      Its so easy to say that one does not know what sovereignty is.
      If apart from God and His provision you can make your own way to heaven, or if you can save yourself, then you are in a position to discount my understanding of His sovereignty.

      If you first loved Him before He loves you (I Jn.4:19), and if you chose Him before He ever chose you (Jn 15:16), then tell me I have a cult idea on sovereignty and that you are better than God’s word.

      And if His program for the church is the same way as He dealt with Israel, then tell me that the Mosaic Law is applicable to the body of Christ. Even these Jews are doing that to Gentile converts (Acts 15: )

      I formerly have your present idea or stand when I am busy with non-religious and traditional usage rather than what the scripture rightly divided says. But seeing it is not glorifying to an all-Sovereign God I have to leave it behind. So I see you have an extra-biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty.

      Don’t read Israel’s program in the church age because it will not go through. You must see the differences in God’s dealing to individual, to Israel and to the church which is His body, or confuse everything with your tradition.

      I will show you that God does not limit himself especially concerning the Law of Moses.
      Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

      God did not limit Himself by the Law of Moses. Read that verse and you will find that the Law of Moses is the one who has limits.
      -it cannot justify someone from all things (Gal.2:16; Acts 13:19; Rm.3:20)
      -It cannot make one perfect (Heb.7:19; 10:1)
      -The Law has something it cannot do because it was weak through flesh(Rm.8:3)
      -It cannot give life (Gal.3:21; Rm.7:5)

      Why do we have to be told that there is the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rm.8:2) if the Law of Moses was complete? It is not for all time and to be stressed for all time and people (Acts 15) especially in this church period. God did not limit Himself by the Law that’s why He made the righteousness apart from the Law(Acts 13:39; Rm.3:21,28).

      Why would God ,through Paul, change the Law on circumcision? You can see that God is accomplishing something not within the bounds of the Law so you cannot say that He limits Himself through the Law because there are many instances that disproves your statements.He is a sovereign God.

      • Sovereignty has never been about absolute power. A tyrant is no sovereign but is a slave to his own stupidity and vice. God made a covenant, many of them. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT A COVENANT IS YOU ILLITERATE JACKASS? You cannot rule arbitrarily where there is a covenant. The terms of the covenant bind BOTH parties. God is a party to the covenant. The whole thing was his idea. He’s a constitutional monarch not a capricious tyrant. If he were a capricious tyrant he would destroy his sovereignty, as they always do. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and the capricious tyrant is divided against himself because his actions are contradictory. Because everything the tyrant does is done on a whim and not according to a covenant or constitution, he demolishes his sovereignty and loses the kingdom, and hopefully also his head.

      • Well if you are talking of God and His sovereignty it is about Absolute power, unless your god is not the God with absolute power you will always refer to him in a lesser sense or subordinate one.
        It was because at first you mixed up sovereignty with kingdom as you redefined it by yourself thinking you are somebody when you are nothing compared to the author of the word of God. Your attitude on me reveals that you are what you say concerning me (the I J). Perhaps it’s your style to scare those who does not bow on your ‘theology’, but to me it sounds you disprove yourself by your attitude.Anyway..

        Yes I know of God’s covenant-but your problem of understanding it is when you are thinking that God’s covenant is only with Israel and only through your reference on the Old Testament. No longer today because God has covenant with the members of His Body-the Church of Christ(Jews and Gentile who were believers and made members of His church in this age of grace) and it was his plan BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Eph.1:4), before there was even a nation called Israel, before the creation of minds who now tries to question God’s sovereignty.

        1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
        1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
        1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
        1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

        I have no knowledge of my own
        1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?


      • “It was because at first you mixed up sovereignty with kingdom as you redefined it by yourself thinking you are somebody when you are nothing compared to the author of the word of God.”

        In neither biblical Hebrew nor Greek is there a distinction. There is only the word kingdom. So all you’ve done is prove you don’t know the biblical languages.

  4. If for example, you were to read Josephus, you would find in the old Whiston translation from the 1800s he talks about rebels seeking to “come to the kingdom” whereas the more modern translation by Paul L. Maier says “attain the sovereignty.” They’re translating the same phrase. Its the same word. Greek only has the one. Malcuth in Hebrew, Basilea in Greek. You only get the one word. These weren’t fancified modern languages like ours that has four or five terms for the same thing because we’ve borrowed them from older languages and invented fancy (and fake) distinctions between them.

    • And in case you need the online reference for Malcuth:

      If you find a word that means “sovereignty” other than Malcuth in Hebrew and Basilea in Greek somewhere in the Bible, then by all means don’t hesitate to bring up your proof-text that shows it to be a mistake on my part to “mix up sovereignty with kingdom.” Until you find that (which you never will since it doesn’t exist): adios.

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