A crude statement of how I would read my own life goes as follows. From internalizing such preaching about what I needed to do in order to be saved, I experienced existentially Martin Luther’s message about what God had endured in order to save me. From a view of the Bible preoccupied by its meaning for the future, I learned from John Calvin a way of reading Scripture that revealed its pervasive relevance for the present. From singing true, but thin, words about the wonderful grace of Jesus, I was transformed by singing Charles Wesley’s account of a long-imprisoned spirit unchained by the bright light of divine mercy. From being taught that I should be intensely concerned about how many authors contributed to the book of Isaiah, I followed Jonathan Edwards in seeing that the only really important question was the purpose for which god created the world (it was for his own glory). Just a little bit later, from seeking first one and then another foundation, it was reassuring beyond comprehension to hear in the Heidelberg Catechism that ‘my only comfort in life and in death is my faithful Savior Jesus Christ who has fully paid for all my sins with his blood.’
In other words, the riches of classical Protestantism opened a new and exceedingly compelling vision of existence. Intellectually, theologically, existentially, I was rescued by the Reformation.