John Calvin

John Calvin (/ˈkælvɪn/;[1] French: Jean Calvin [ʒɑ̃ kalvɛ̃]; born Jehan Cauvin; 10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) was a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, aspects of which include the doctrines of predestination and of the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation, in which doctrines Calvin was influenced by and elaborated upon the Augustinian and other Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. He also exchanged cordial and supportive letters with many reformers, including Philipp Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger. In addition to his seminal Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, confessional documents, and various other theological treatises.

Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions erupted in widespread deadly violence against Protestant Christians in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where in 1536 he published the first edition of the Institutes. In that same year, Calvin was recruited by Frenchman William Farel to join the Reformation in Geneva, where he regularly preached sermons throughout the week; but the governing council of the city resisted the implementation of their ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and in 1541 he was invited back to lead the church of the city.

Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite opposition from several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard regarded by both Roman Catholics and Protestants as having a heretical view of the Trinity, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and burned at the stake for heresy by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin's opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe.

John Calvin
MCC-31320 Portret van Johannes Calvijn (1509-1564)-uitsnede
Native name
Jean Calvin
Jehan Cauvin

10 July 1509
Died27 May 1564 (aged 54)
Notable work
Institutes of the Christian Religion
John Calvin signature

Early life (1509–1535)

John Calvin - Young
Calvin was originally interested in the priesthood, but he changed course to study law in Orléans and Bourges. Painting titled Portrait of Young John Calvin from the collection of the Library of Geneva.

John Calvin was born as Jehan Cauvin on 10 July 1509, at Noyon, a town in Picardy, a province of the Kingdom of France.[2] He was the first of four sons who survived infancy. His mother, Jeanne le Franc, was the daughter of an innkeeper from Cambrai. She died of an unknown cause in Calvin's childhood, after having borne four more children. Calvin's father, Gérard Cauvin, had a prosperous career as the cathedral notary and registrar to the ecclesiastical court; he died in 1531, after suffering for two years with testicular cancer. Gérard intended his three sons — Charles, Jean, and Antoine — for the priesthood.

Young Calvin was particularly precocious. By age 12, he was employed by the bishop as a clerk and received the tonsure, cutting his hair to symbolise his dedication to the Church. He also won the patronage of an influential family, the Montmors.[3] Through their assistance, Calvin was able to attend the Collège de la Marche, Paris, where he learned Latin from one of its greatest teachers, Mathurin Cordier.[4] Once he completed the course, he entered the Collège de Montaigu as a philosophy student.[5]

In 1525 or 1526, Gérard withdrew his son from the Collège de Montaigu and enrolled him in the University of Orléans to study law. According to contemporary biographers Theodore Beza and Nicolas Colladon, Gérard believed that Calvin would earn more money as a lawyer than as a priest.[6] After a few years of quiet study, Calvin entered the University of Bourges in 1529. He was intrigued by Andreas Alciati, a humanist lawyer. Humanism was a European intellectual movement which stressed classical studies. During his 18-month stay in Bourges, Calvin learned Koine Greek, a necessity for studying the New Testament.[7]

Alternate theories have been suggested regarding the date of Calvin's religious conversion. Some have placed the date of his conversion around 1533, shortly before he resigned his chaplaincy. In this view, his resignation is the direct evidence for his conversion to the evangelical faith. However, T. H. L. Parker argues that while this date is a terminus for his conversion, the more likely date is in late 1529 or early 1530.[8] The main evidence for his conversion is contained in two significantly different accounts of his conversion. In the first, found in his Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Calvin portrayed his conversion as a sudden change of mind, brought about by God:

God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life. Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness, I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, that although I did not altogether leave off other studies, yet I pursued them with less ardour.[9]

In the second account, Calvin wrote of a long process of inner turmoil, followed by spiritual and psychological anguish:

Being exceedingly alarmed at the misery into which I had fallen, and much more at that which threatened me in view of eternal death, I, duty bound, made it my first business to betake myself to your way, condemning my past life, not without groans and tears. And now, O Lord, what remains to a wretch like me, but instead of defence, earnestly to supplicate you not to judge that fearful abandonment of your Word according to its deserts, from which in your wondrous goodness you have at last delivered me.[10]

Scholars have argued about the precise interpretation of these accounts, but most agree that his conversion corresponded with his break from the Roman Catholic Church.[11][12] The Calvin biographer Bruce Gordon has stressed that "the two accounts are not antithetical, revealing some inconsistency in Calvin's memory, but rather [are] two different ways of expressing the same reality."[13]

By 1532, Calvin received his licentiate in law and published his first book, a commentary on Seneca's De Clementia. After uneventful trips to Orléans and his hometown of Noyon, Calvin returned to Paris in October 1533. During this time, tensions rose at the Collège Royal (later to become the Collège de France) between the humanists/reformers and the conservative senior faculty members. One of the reformers, Nicolas Cop, was rector of the university. On 1 November 1533 he devoted his inaugural address to the need for reform and renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. The address provoked a strong reaction from the faculty, who denounced it as heretical, forcing Cop to flee to Basel. Calvin, a close friend of Cop, was implicated in the offence, and for the next year he was forced into hiding. He remained on the move, sheltering with his friend Louis du Tillet in Angoulême and taking refuge in Noyon and Orléans. He was finally forced to flee France during the Affair of the Placards in mid-October 1534. In that incident, unknown reformers had posted placards in various cities criticizing the Roman Catholic mass, to which adherents of the Roman Catholic church responded with violence against the would-be Reformers and their sympathizers. In January 1535, Calvin joined Cop in Basel, a city under the enduring influence of the late reformer Johannes Oecolampadius.[14]

Reform work commences (1536–1538)

William Farel was the reformer who convinced Calvin to stay in Geneva. 16th-century painting. In the Bibliothèque Publique et Universitaire, Geneva.

In March 1536, Calvin published the first edition of his Institutio Christianae Religionis or Institutes of the Christian Religion.[15] The work was an apologia or defense of his faith and a statement of the doctrinal position of the reformers. He also intended it to serve as an elementary instruction book for anyone interested in the Christian faith. The book was the first expression of his theology. Calvin updated the work and published new editions throughout his life.[16] Shortly after its publication, he left Basel for Ferrara, Italy, where he briefly served as secretary to Princess Renée of France. By June he was back in Paris with his brother Antoine, who was resolving their father's affairs. Following the Edict of Coucy, which gave a limited six-month period for heretics to reconcile with the Catholic faith, Calvin decided that there was no future for him in France. In August he set off for Strasbourg, a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire and a refuge for reformers. Due to military manoeuvres of imperial and French forces, he was forced to make a detour to the south, bringing him to Geneva.

Calvin had intended to stay only a single night, but William Farel, a fellow French reformer residing in the city, implored him to stay and assist him in his work of reforming the church there, insisting that it was his pious duty. Calvin, who reluctantly agreed to remain, later recounted:

Then Farel, who was working with incredible zeal to promote the gospel, bent all his efforts to keep me in the city. And when he realized that I was determined to study in privacy in some obscure place, and saw that he gained nothing by entreaty, he descended to cursing, and said that God would surely curse my peace if I held back from giving help at a time of such great need.[17] Terrified by his words, and conscious of my own timidity and cowardice, I gave up my journey and attempted to apply whatever gift I had in defense of my faith.[18]

Calvin accepted his new role without any preconditions on his tasks or duties.[19] The office to which he was initially assigned is unknown. He was eventually given the title of "reader", which most likely meant that he could give expository lectures on the Bible. Sometime in 1537 he was selected to be a "pastor" although he never received any pastoral consecration.[20] For the first time, the lawyer-theologian took up pastoral duties such as baptisms, weddings, and church services.[21]

During late 1536, Farel drafted a confession of faith, and Calvin wrote separate articles on reorganizing the church in Geneva. On 16 January 1537, Farel and Calvin presented their Articles concernant l'organisation de l'église et du culte à Genève (Articles on the Organization of the Church and its Worship at Geneva) to the city council.[22] The document described the manner and frequency of their celebrations of the Eucharist, the reason for, and the method of, excommunication, the requirement to subscribe to the confession of faith, the use of congregational singing in the liturgy, and the revision of marriage laws. The council accepted the document on the same day.[23]

As the year progressed, Calvin and Farel's reputation with the council began to suffer. The council was reluctant to enforce the subscription requirement, as only a few citizens had subscribed to their confession of faith. On 26 November, the two ministers hotly debated the council over the issue. Furthermore, France was taking an interest in forming an alliance with Geneva and as the two ministers were Frenchmen, councillors had begun to question their loyalty. Finally, a major ecclesiastical-political quarrel developed when the city of Bern, Geneva's ally in the reformation of the Swiss churches, proposed to introduce uniformity in the church ceremonies. One proposal required the use of unleavened bread for the Eucharist. The two ministers were unwilling to follow Bern's lead and delayed the use of such bread until a synod in Zurich could be convened to make the final decision. The council ordered Calvin and Farel to use unleavened bread for the Easter Eucharist. In protest, they refused to administer communion during the Easter service. This caused a riot during the service and the next day, the council told Farel and Calvin to leave Geneva.[24]

Farel and Calvin then went to Bern and Zurich to plead their case. The resulting synod in Zurich placed most of the blame on Calvin for not being sympathetic enough toward the people of Geneva. It asked Bern to mediate with the aim of restoring the two ministers. The Geneva council refused to readmit the two men, who then took refuge in Basel. Subsequently, Farel received an invitation to lead the church in Neuchâtel. Calvin was invited to lead a church of French refugees in Strasbourg by that city's leading reformers, Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito. Initially, Calvin refused because Farel was not included in the invitation, but relented when Bucer appealed to him. By September 1538 Calvin had taken up his new position in Strasbourg, fully expecting that this time it would be permanent; a few months later, he applied for and was granted citizenship of the city.[25]

Minister in Strasbourg (1538–1541)

Strasbourg - Église Saint-Nicolas
Saint-Nicolas Church, Strasbourg, where Calvin preached in 1538. The building was architecturally modified in the 19th century.
Martin-Bucer 1
Martin Bucer invited Calvin to Strasbourg after he was expelled from Geneva. Illustration by Jean-Jacques Boissard.

During his time in Strasbourg, Calvin was not attached to one particular church, but held his office successively in the Saint-Nicolas Church, the Sainte-Madeleine Church and the former Dominican Church, renamed the Temple Neuf.[26] (All of these churches still exist, but none are in the architectural state of Calvin's days.) Calvin ministered to 400–500 members in his church. He preached or lectured every day, with two sermons on Sunday. Communion was celebrated monthly and congregational singing of the psalms was encouraged.[27] He also worked on the second edition of the Institutes. Calvin was dissatisfied with its original structure as a catechism, a primer for young Christians.[28]

For the second edition, published in 1539, Calvin dropped this format in favour of systematically presenting the main doctrines from the Bible. In the process, the book was enlarged from six chapters to seventeen.[28] He concurrently worked on another book, the Commentary on Romans, which was published in March 1540. The book was a model for his later commentaries: it included his own Latin translation from the Greek rather than the Latin Vulgate, an exegesis, and an exposition.[29] In the dedicatory letter, Calvin praised the work of his predecessors Philipp Melanchthon, Heinrich Bullinger, and Martin Bucer, but he also took care to distinguish his own work from theirs and to criticise some of their shortcomings.[30]

Calvin's friends urged him to marry. Calvin took a prosaic view, writing to one correspondent:

I, who have the air of being so hostile to celibacy, I am still not married and do not know whether I will ever be. If I take a wife it will be because, being better freed from numerous worries, I can devote myself to the Lord.[31]

Several candidates were presented to him including one young woman from a noble family. Reluctantly, Calvin agreed to the marriage, on the condition that she would learn French. Although a wedding date was planned for March 1540, he remained reluctant and the wedding never took place. He later wrote that he would never think of marrying her, "unless the Lord had entirely bereft me of my wits".[32] Instead, in August of that year, he married Idelette de Bure, a widow who had two children from her first marriage.[33]

Geneva reconsidered its expulsion of Calvin. Church attendance had dwindled and the political climate had changed; as Bern and Geneva quarrelled over land, their alliance frayed. When Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto wrote a letter to the city council inviting Geneva to return to the Catholic faith, the council searched for an ecclesiastical authority to respond to him. At first Pierre Viret was consulted, but when he refused, the council asked Calvin. He agreed and his Responsio ad Sadoletum (Letter to Sadoleto) strongly defended Geneva's position concerning reforms in the church.[34] On 21 September 1540 the council commissioned one of its members, Ami Perrin, to find a way to recall Calvin. An embassy reached Calvin while he was at a colloquy, a conference to settle religious disputes, in Worms. His reaction to the suggestion was one of horror in which he wrote, "Rather would I submit to death a hundred times than to that cross on which I had to perish daily a thousand times over."[35]

Calvin also wrote that he was prepared to follow the Lord's calling. A plan was drawn up in which Viret would be appointed to take temporary charge in Geneva for six months while Bucer and Calvin would visit the city to determine the next steps. The city council pressed for the immediate appointment of Calvin in Geneva. By mid-1541, Strasbourg decided to lend Calvin to Geneva for six months. Calvin returned on 13 September 1541 with an official escort and a wagon for his family.[36]

Reform in Geneva (1541–1549)

In supporting Calvin's proposals for reforms, the council of Geneva passed the Ordonnances ecclésiastiques (Ecclesiastical Ordinances) on 20 November 1541. The ordinances defined four orders of ministerial function: pastors to preach and to administer the sacraments; doctors to instruct believers in the faith; elders to provide discipline; and deacons to care for the poor and needy.[37] They also called for the creation of the Consistoire (Consistory), an ecclesiastical court composed of the lay elders and the ministers. The city government retained the power to summon persons before the court, and the Consistory could judge only ecclesiastical matters having no civil jurisdiction. Originally, the court had the power to mete out sentences, with excommunication as its most severe penalty. The government contested this power and on 19 March 1543 the council decided that all sentencing would be carried out by the government.[38]

Façade de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Genève
Calvin preached at St. Pierre Cathedral, the main church in Geneva.

In 1542, Calvin adapted a service book used in Strasbourg, publishing La Forme des Prières et Chants Ecclésiastiques (The Form of Prayers and Church Hymns). Calvin recognised the power of music and he intended that it be used to support scripture readings. The original Strasbourg psalter contained twelve psalms by Clément Marot and Calvin added several more hymns of his own composition in the Geneva version. At the end of 1542, Marot became a refugee in Geneva and contributed nineteen more psalms. Louis Bourgeois, also a refugee, lived and taught music in Geneva for sixteen years and Calvin took the opportunity to add his hymns, the most famous being the Old Hundredth.[39]

In the same year of 1542, Calvin published Catéchisme de l'Eglise de Genève (Catechism of the Church of Geneva), which was inspired by Bucer's Kurze Schrifftliche Erklärung of 1534. Calvin had written an earlier catechism during his first stay in Geneva which was largely based on Martin Luther's Large Catechism. The first version was arranged pedagogically, describing Law, Faith, and Prayer. The 1542 version was rearranged for theological reasons, covering Faith first, then Law and Prayer.[40]

Historians debate the extent to which Geneva was a theocracy. On the one hand, Calvin's theology clearly called for separation between church and state. Other historians have stressed the enormous political power wielded on a daily basis by the clerics.[41][42]

Idelette Calvin
Idelette and Calvin had no children survive infancy.

During his ministry in Geneva, Calvin preached over two thousand sermons. Initially he preached twice on Sunday and three times during the week. This proved to be too heavy a burden and late in 1542 the council allowed him to preach only once on Sunday. In October 1549, he was again required to preach twice on Sundays and, in addition, every weekday of alternate weeks. His sermons lasted more than an hour and he did not use notes. An occasional secretary tried to record his sermons, but very little of his preaching was preserved before 1549. In that year, professional scribe Denis Raguenier, who had learned or developed a system of shorthand, was assigned to record all of Calvin's sermons. An analysis of his sermons by T. H. L. Parker suggests that Calvin was a consistent preacher and his style changed very little over the years.[43][44] John Calvin was also known for his thorough manner of working his way through the Bible in consecutive sermons. From March 1555 to July 1556, Calvin delivered two hundred sermons on Deuteronomy.[45]

Voltaire wrote about Calvin, Luther and Zwingli, "If they condemned celibacy in the priests, and opened the gates of the convents, it was only to turn all society into a convent. Shows and entertainments were expressly forbidden by their religion; and for more than two hundred years there was not a single musical instrument allowed in the city of Geneva. They condemned auricular confession, but they enjoined a public one; and in Switzerland, Scotland, and Geneva it was performed the same as penance."[46]

Very little is known about Calvin's personal life in Geneva. His house and furniture were owned by the council. The house was big enough to accommodate his family as well as Antoine's family and some servants. On 28 July 1542, Idelette gave birth to a son, Jacques, but he was born prematurely and survived only briefly. Idelette fell ill in 1545 and died on 29 March 1549. Calvin never married again. He expressed his sorrow in a letter to Viret:

I have been bereaved of the best friend of my life, of one who, if it has been so ordained, would willingly have shared not only my poverty but also my death. During her life she was the faithful helper of my ministry. From her I never experienced the slightest hindrance.[47]

Throughout the rest of his life in Geneva, he maintained several friendships from his early years including Montmor, Cordier, Cop, Farel, Melanchthon and Bullinger.[48]

Discipline and opposition (1546–1553)

Portrait john calvin
Sixteenth-century portrait of John Calvin by an unknown artist. From the collection of the Bibliothèque de Genève (Library of Geneva)

Calvin encountered bitter opposition to his work in Geneva. Around 1546, the uncoordinated forces coalesced into an identifiable group whom he referred to as the libertines, but who preferred to be called either Spirituels or Patriots.[49][50] According to Calvin, these were people who felt that after being liberated through grace, they were exempted from both ecclesiastical and civil law. The group consisted of wealthy, politically powerful, and interrelated families of Geneva.[51] At the end of January 1546, Pierre Ameaux, a maker of playing cards who had already been in conflict with the Consistory, attacked Calvin by calling him a "Picard", an epithet denoting anti-French sentiment, and accused him of false doctrine. Ameaux was punished by the council and forced to make expiation by parading through the city and begging God for forgiveness.[52] A few months later Ami Perrin, the man who had brought Calvin to Geneva, moved into open opposition. Perrin had married Françoise Favre, daughter of François Favre, a well-established Genevan merchant. Both Perrin's wife and father-in-law had previous conflicts with the Consistory. The court noted that many of Geneva's notables, including Perrin, had breached a law against dancing. Initially, Perrin ignored the court when he was summoned, but after receiving a letter from Calvin, he appeared before the Consistory.[53]

By 1547, opposition to Calvin and other French refugee ministers had grown to constitute the majority of the syndics, the civil magistrates of Geneva. On 27 June an unsigned threatening letter in Genevan dialect was found at the pulpit of St. Pierre Cathedral where Calvin preached. Suspecting a plot against both the church and the state, the council appointed a commission to investigate. Jacques Gruet, a Genevan member of Favre's group, was arrested and incriminating evidence was found when his house was searched. Under torture, he confessed to several crimes including writing the letter left in the pulpit which threatened the church leaders. A civil court condemned Gruet to death and he was beheaded on 26 July. Calvin was not opposed to the civil court's decision.[54]

The libertines continued organizing opposition, insulting the appointed ministers, and challenging the authority of the Consistory. The council straddled both sides of the conflict, alternately admonishing and upholding Calvin. When Perrin was elected first syndic in February 1552, Calvin's authority appeared to be at its lowest point. After some losses before the council, Calvin believed he was defeated; on 24 July 1553 he asked the council to allow him to resign. Although the libertines controlled the council, his request was refused. The opposition realised that they could curb Calvin's authority, but they did not have enough power to banish him.[55]

Michael Servetus (1553)

Michael Servetus
Michael Servetus exchanged many letters with Calvin until he was denounced by Calvin and executed.

The turning point in Calvin's fortunes occurred when Michael Servetus, a brilliant scientist, discoverer of the circulation of the blood, and polymath and a fugitive from ecclesiastical authorities, appeared in Geneva on 13 August 1553. Servetus was a Spanish physician and Protestant theologian who boldly criticised the doctrine of the Trinity and paedobaptism (infant baptism).[56] In July 1530 he disputed with Johannes Oecolampadius in Basel and was eventually expelled. He went to Strasbourg, where he published a pamphlet against the Trinity. Bucer publicly refuted it and asked Servetus to leave. After returning to Basel, Servetus published Two Books of Dialogues on the Trinity (Latin: Dialogorum de Trinitate libri duo) which caused a sensation among Reformers and Catholics alike. The Inquisition in Spain ordered his arrest.[57]

Calvin and Servetus were first brought into contact in 1546 through a common acquaintance, Jean Frellon of Lyon; they exchanged letters debating doctrine; Calvin used a pseudonym as Charles d' Espeville; Servetus left his unsigned.[58] Eventually, Calvin lost patience and refused to respond; by this time Servetus had written around thirty letters to Calvin. Calvin was particularly outraged when Servetus sent him a copy of the Institutes of the Christian Religion heavily annotated with arguments pointing to errors in the book. When Servetus mentioned that he would come to Geneva, "Espeville" (Calvin) wrote a letter to Farel on 13 February 1546 noting that if Servetus were to come, he would not assure him safe conduct: "for if he came, as far as my authority goes, I would not let him leave alive."[59]

In 1553 Servetus published Christianismi Restitutio (English: The Restoration of Christianity), in which he rejected the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the concept of predestination. In the same year, Calvin's representative, Guillaume de Trie, sent letters alerting the French Inquisition to Servetus.[60] Calling him a "Spanish-Portuguese", suspecting and accusing him[61] of his recently proved Jewish converso origin.[62][63][64] De Trie wrote down that "his proper name is Michael Servetus, but he currently calls himself Villeneuve, practising medicine. He stayed for some time in Lyon, and now he is living in Vienne."[65] When the inquisitor-general of France learned that Servetus was hiding in Vienne, according to Calvin under an assumed name, he contacted Cardinal François de Tournon, the secretary of the archbishop of Lyon, to take up the matter. Servetus was arrested and taken in for questioning. His letters to Calvin were presented as evidence of heresy, but he denied having written them, and later said he was not sure it was his handwriting. He said, after swearing before the holy gospel, that "he was Michel De Villeneuve Doctor in Medicine about 42 years old, native of Tudela of the kingdom of Navarre, a city under the obedience to the Emperor".[66] The following day he said: "..although he was not Servetus he assumed the person of Servet for debating with Calvin".[67] He managed to escape from prison, and the Catholic authorities sentenced him in absentia to death by slow burning.[68]

On his way to Italy, Servetus stopped in Geneva to visit "d'Espeville", where he was recognized and arrested. Calvin's secretary, Nicholas de la Fontaine, composed a list of accusations that was submitted before the court. The prosecutor was Philibert Berthelier, a member of a libertine family and son of a famous Geneva patriot, and the sessions were led by Pierre Tissot, Perrin's brother-in-law. The libertines allowed the trial to drag on in an attempt to harass Calvin. The difficulty in using Servetus as a weapon against Calvin was that the heretical reputation of Servetus was widespread and most of the cities in Europe were observing and awaiting the outcome of the trial. This posed a dilemma for the libertines, so on 21 August the council decided to write to other Swiss cities for their opinions, thus mitigating their own responsibility for the final decision.[69] While waiting for the responses, the council also asked Servetus if he preferred to be judged in Vienne or in Geneva. He begged to stay in Geneva. On 20 October the replies from Zurich, Basel, Bern, and Schaffhausen were read and the council condemned Servetus as a heretic. The following day he was sentenced to burning at the stake, the same sentence as in Vienne. Some scholars claim that Calvin and other ministers asked that he be beheaded instead of burnt, knowing that burning at the stake was the only legal recourse.[70] This plea was refused and on 27 October, Servetus was burnt alive at the Plateau of Champel at the edge of Geneva.[71]

Securing the Protestant Reformation (1553–1555)

After the death of Servetus, Calvin was acclaimed a defender of Christianity, but his ultimate triumph over the libertines was still two years away. He had always insisted that the Consistory retain the power of excommunication, despite the council's past decision to take it away. During Servetus's trial, Philibert Berthelier asked the council for permission to take communion, as he had been excommunicated the previous year for insulting a minister. Calvin protested that the council did not have the legal authority to overturn Berthelier's excommunication. Unsure of how the council would rule, he hinted in a sermon on 3 September 1553 that he might be dismissed by the authorities. The council decided to re-examine the Ordonnances and on 18 September it voted in support of Calvin—excommunication was within the jurisdiction of the Consistory. Berthelier applied for reinstatement to another Genevan administrative assembly, the Deux Cents (Two Hundred), in November. This body reversed the council's decision and stated that the final arbiter concerning excommunication should be the council. The ministers continued to protest, and as in the case of Servetus, the opinions of the Swiss churches were sought. The affair dragged on through 1554. Finally, on 22 January 1555, the council announced the decision of the Swiss churches: the original Ordonnances were to be kept and the Consistory was to regain its official powers.[72]

The libertines' downfall began with the February 1555 elections. By then, many of the French refugees had been granted citizenship and with their support, Calvin's partisans elected the majority of the syndics and the councillors. On 16 May the libertines took to the streets in a drunken protest and attempted to burn down a house that was supposedly full of Frenchmen. The syndic Henri Aulbert tried to intervene, carrying with him the baton of office that symbolised his power. Perrin seized the baton and waved it over the crowd, which gave the appearance that he was taking power and initiating a coup d'état. The insurrection was soon over when another syndic appeared and ordered Perrin to go with him to the town hall. Perrin and other leaders were forced to flee the city. With the approval of Calvin, the other plotters who remained in the city were found and executed. The opposition to Calvin's church polity came to an end.[73]

Final years (1555–1564)

Calvin 1562
John Calvin at 53 years old in an engraving by René Boyvin

Calvin's authority was practically uncontested during his final years, and he enjoyed an international reputation as a reformer distinct from Martin Luther.[74] Initially, Luther and Calvin had mutual respect for each other. A doctrinal conflict had developed between Luther and Zurich reformer Huldrych Zwingli on the interpretation of the eucharist. Calvin's opinion on the issue forced Luther to place him in Zwingli's camp. Calvin actively participated in the polemics that were exchanged between the Lutheran and Reformed branches of the Reformation movement.[75] At the same time, Calvin was dismayed by the lack of unity among the reformers. He took steps toward rapprochement with Bullinger by signing the Consensus Tigurinus, a concordat between the Zurich and Geneva churches. He reached out to England when Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer called for an ecumenical synod of all the evangelical churches. Calvin praised the idea, but ultimately Cranmer was unable to bring it to fruition.[76]

Calvin sheltered Marian exiles (those who fled the reign of Catholic Mary Tudor in England) in Geneva starting in 1555. Under the city's protection, they were able to form their own reformed church under John Knox and William Whittingham and eventually carried Calvin's ideas on doctrine and polity back to England and Scotland.[77]

Façade nord du bâtiment sud du Collège Calvin 2006-08-16
The Collège Calvin is now a college preparatory school for the Swiss Maturité.

Within Geneva, Calvin's main concern was the creation of a collège, an institute for the education of children. A site for the school was selected on 25 March 1558 and it opened the following year on 5 June 1559. Although the school was a single institution, it was divided into two parts: a grammar school called the collège or schola privata and an advanced school called the académie or schola publica. Calvin tried to recruit two professors for the institute, Mathurin Cordier, his old friend and Latin scholar who was now based in Lausanne, and Emmanuel Tremellius, the former Regius professor of Hebrew in Cambridge. Neither was available, but he succeeded in obtaining Theodore Beza as rector. Within five years there were 1,200 students in the grammar school and 300 in the advanced school. The collège eventually became the Collège Calvin, one of the college preparatory schools of Geneva; the académie became the University of Geneva.[78]

Impact on France

Calvin was deeply committed to reforming his homeland, France. The Protestant movement had been energetic, but lacked central organizational direction. With financial support from the church in Geneva, Calvin turned his enormous energies toward uplifting the French Protestant cause. As one historian explains:

He supplied the dogma, the liturgy, and the moral ideas of the new religion, and he also created ecclesiastical, political, and social institutions in harmony with it. A born leader, he followed up his work with personal appeals. His vast correspondence with French Protestants shows not only much zeal but infinite pains and considerable tact and driving home the lessons of his printed treatises.[79] Between 1555 and 1562, more than 100 ministers were sent to France. Nevertheless French King Henry II severely persecuted Protestants under the Edict of Chateaubriand and when the French authorities complained about the missionary activities, the city fathers of Geneva disclaimed official responsibility.[80]

Last illness

Tombe Calvin
Traditional grave of Calvin in the Cimetière de Plainpalais in Geneva; the exact location of his grave is unknown.

In late 1558, Calvin became ill with a fever. Since he was afraid that he might die before completing the final revision of the Institutes, he forced himself to work. The final edition was greatly expanded to the extent that Calvin referred to it as a new work. The expansion from the 21 chapters of the previous edition to 80 was due to the extended treatment of existing material rather than the addition of new topics.[81] Shortly after he recovered, he strained his voice while preaching, which brought on a violent fit of coughing. He burst a blood-vessel in his lungs, and his health steadily declined. He preached his final sermon in St. Pierre on 6 February 1564. On 25 April, he made his will, in which he left small sums to his family and to the collège. A few days later, the ministers of the church came to visit him, and he bade his final farewell, which was recorded in Discours d'adieu aux ministres. He recounted his life in Geneva, sometimes recalling bitterly some of the hardships he had suffered. Calvin died on 27 May 1564 aged 54. At first his body lay in state, but since so many people came to see it, the reformers were afraid that they would be accused of fostering a new saint's cult. On the following day, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the Cimetière des Rois.[82] The exact location of the grave is unknown; a stone was added in the 19th century to mark a grave traditionally thought to be Calvin's.[83]


Calvin developed his theology in his biblical commentaries as well as his sermons and treatises, but the most comprehensive expression of his views is found in his magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. He intended that the book be used as a summary of his views on Christian theology and that it be read in conjunction with his commentaries.[84] The various editions of that work spanned nearly his entire career as a reformer, and the successive revisions of the book show that his theology changed very little from his youth to his death.[85] The first edition from 1536 consisted of only six chapters. The second edition, published in 1539, was three times as long because he added chapters on subjects that appear in Melanchthon's Loci Communes. In 1543, he again added new material and expanded a chapter on the Apostles' Creed. The final edition of the Institutes appeared in 1559. By then, the work consisted of four books of eighty chapters, and each book was named after statements from the creed: Book 1 on God the Creator, Book 2 on the Redeemer in Christ, Book 3 on receiving the Grace of Christ through the Holy Spirit, and Book 4 on the Society of Christ or the Church.[86]

Title page from the final edition of Calvin's magnum opus, Institutio Christiane Religionis, which summarises his theology.

The first statement in the Institutes acknowledges its central theme. It states that the sum of human wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.[87] Calvin argues that the knowledge of God is not inherent in humanity nor can it be discovered by observing this world. The only way to obtain it is to study scripture. Calvin writes, "For anyone to arrive at God the Creator he needs Scripture as his Guide and Teacher."[88] He does not try to prove the authority of scripture but rather describes it as autopiston or self-authenticating. He defends the trinitarian view of God and, in a strong polemical stand against the Catholic Church, argues that images of God lead to idolatry.[89] At the end of the first book, he offers his views on providence, writing, "By his Power God cherishes and guards the World which he made and by his Providence rules its individual Parts."[90] Humans are unable to fully comprehend why God performs any particular action, but whatever good or evil people may practise, their efforts always result in the execution of God's will and judgments.[91]

The second book includes several essays on original sin and the fall of man, which directly refer to Augustine, who developed these doctrines. He often cited the Church Fathers in order to defend the reformed cause against the charge that the reformers were creating new theology.[92] In Calvin's view, sin began with the fall of Adam and propagated to all of humanity. The domination of sin is complete to the point that people are driven to evil.[93] Thus fallen humanity is in need of the redemption that can be found in Christ. But before Calvin expounded on this doctrine, he described the special situation of the Jews who lived during the time of the Old Testament. God made a covenant with Abraham, promising the coming of Christ. Hence, the Old Covenant was not in opposition to Christ, but was rather a continuation of God's promise. Calvin then describes the New Covenant using the passage from the Apostles' Creed that describes Christ's suffering under Pontius Pilate and his return to judge the living and the dead. For Calvin, the whole course of Christ's obedience to the Father removed the discord between humanity and God.[94]

In the third book, Calvin describes how the spiritual union of Christ and humanity is achieved. He first defines faith as the firm and certain knowledge of God in Christ. The immediate effects of faith are repentance and the remission of sin. This is followed by spiritual regeneration, which returns the believer to the state of holiness before Adam's transgression. Complete perfection is unattainable in this life, and the believer should expect a continual struggle against sin.[95] Several chapters are then devoted to the subject of justification by faith alone. He defined justification as "the acceptance by which God regards us as righteous whom he has received into grace."[96] In this definition, it is clear that it is God who initiates and carries through the action and that people play no role; God is completely sovereign in salvation.[97] Near the end of the book, Calvin describes and defends the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine advanced by Augustine in opposition to the teachings of Pelagius. Fellow theologians who followed the Augustinian tradition on this point included Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther,[98] though Calvin's formulation of the doctrine went further than the tradition that went before him.[99] The principle, in Calvin's words, is that "All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death."[100]

The final book describes what he considers to be the true Church and its ministry, authority, and sacraments. He denied the papal claim to primacy and the accusation that the reformers were schismatic. For Calvin, the Church was defined as the body of believers who placed Christ at its head. By definition, there was only one "catholic" or "universal" Church. Hence, he argued that the reformers "had to leave them in order that we might come to Christ."[101] The ministers of the Church are described from a passage from Ephesians, and they consisted of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and doctors. Calvin regarded the first three offices as temporary, limited in their existence to the time of the New Testament. The latter two offices were established in the church in Geneva. Although Calvin respected the work of the ecumenical councils, he considered them to be subject to God's Word found in scripture. He also believed that the civil and church authorities were separate and should not interfere with each other.[102]

Calvin defined a sacrament as an earthly sign associated with a promise from God. He accepted only two sacraments as valid under the new covenant: baptism and the Lord's Supper (in opposition to the Catholic acceptance of seven sacraments). He completely rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the treatment of the Supper as a sacrifice. He also could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of sacramental union in which Christ was "in, with and under" the elements. His own view was close to Zwingli's symbolic view, but it was not identical. Rather than holding a purely symbolic view, Calvin noted that with the participation of the Holy Spirit, faith was nourished and strengthened by the sacrament. In his words, the eucharistic rite was "a secret too sublime for my mind to understand or words to express. I experience it rather than understand it."[103]


Joachim Westphal disagreed with Calvin's theology on the eucharist.

Calvin's theology caused controversy. Pierre Caroli, a Protestant minister in Lausanne accused Calvin as well as Viret and Farel of Arianism in 1536. Calvin defended his beliefs on the Trinity in Confessio de Trinitate propter calumnias P. Caroli.[104] In 1551 Jérôme-Hermès Bolsec, a physician in Geneva, attacked Calvin's doctrine of predestination and accused him of making God the author of sin. Bolsec was banished from the city, and after Calvin's death, he wrote a biography which severely maligned Calvin's character.[105] In the following year, Joachim Westphal, a Gnesio-Lutheran pastor in Hamburg, condemned Calvin and Zwingli as heretics in denying the eucharistic doctrine of the union of Christ's body with the elements. Calvin's Defensio sanae et orthodoxae doctrinae de sacramentis (A Defence of the Sober and Orthodox Doctrine of the Sacrament) was his response in 1555.[106] In 1556 Justus Velsius, a Dutch dissident, held a public disputation with Calvin during his visit to Frankfurt, in which Velsius defended free will against Calvin's doctrine of predestination. Following the execution of Servetus, a close associate of Calvin, Sebastian Castellio, broke with him on the issue of the treatment of heretics. In Castellio's Treatise on Heretics (1554), he argued for a focus on Christ's moral teachings in place of the vanity of theology,[107] and he afterward developed a theory of tolerance based on biblical principles.[108]

Calvin and the Jews

Scholars have debated Calvin's view of the Jews and Judaism. Some have argued that Calvin was the least anti-semitic among all the major reformers of his time, especially in comparison to Martin Luther.[109] Others have argued that Calvin was firmly within the anti-semitic camp.[110] Scholars agree that it is important to distinguish between Calvin's views toward the biblical Jews and his attitude toward contemporary Jews. In his theology, Calvin does not differentiate between God's covenant with Israel and the New Covenant. He stated, "all the children of the promise, reborn of God, who have obeyed the commands by faith working through love, have belonged to the New Covenant since the world began."[111] Nevertheless, he was a covenant theologian and argued that the Jews are a rejected people who must embrace Jesus to re-enter the covenant.[112]

Most of Calvin's statements on the Jewry of his era were polemical. For example, Calvin once wrote, "I have had much conversation with many Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousness – nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew."[113] In this respect, he differed little from other Protestant and Catholic theologians of his day.[114] Among his extant writings, Calvin only dealt explicitly with issues of contemporary Jews and Judaism in one treatise,[115] Response to Questions and Objections of a Certain Jew.[116] In it, he argued that Jews misread their own scriptures because they miss the unity of the Old and New Testaments.[117]

Political thought

The aim of Calvin's political theory was to safeguard the rights and freedoms of ordinary people. Although he was convinced that the Bible contained no blueprint for a certain form of government, Calvin favored a combination of democracy and aristocracy (mixed government). He appreciated the advantages of democracy.[118] To further minimize the misuse of political power, Calvin proposed to divide it among several political institutions like the aristocracy, lower estates, or magistrates in a system of checks and balances (separation of powers). Finally, Calvin taught that if rulers rise up against God they lose their divine right and must be deposed.[119][120] State and church are separate, though they have to cooperate to the benefit of the people. Christian magistrates have to make sure that the church can fulfill its duties in freedom. In extreme cases the magistrates have to expel or execute dangerous heretics. But nobody can be forced to become a Protestant.[121][122]

Calvin thought that agriculture and the traditional crafts were normal human activities. With regard to trade and the financial world he was more liberal than Luther, but both were strictly opposed to usury. Calvin allowed the charging of modest interest rates on loans. Like the other Reformers Calvin understood work as a means through which the believers expressed their gratitude to God for their redemption in Christ and as a service to their neighbors. Everybody was obliged to work; loafing and begging were rejected. The idea that economic success was a visible sign of God's grace played only a minor role in Calvin's thinking. It became more important in later, partly secularized forms of Calvinism and became the starting-point of Max Weber's theory about the rise of capitalism.[120]

Selected works

Calvin's first published work was a commentary of Seneca the Younger's De Clementia. Published at his own expense in 1532, it showed that he was a humanist in the tradition of Erasmus with a thorough understanding of classical scholarship.[123] His first theological work, the Psychopannychia, attempted to refute the doctrine of soul sleep as promulgated by the Anabaptists. Calvin probably wrote it during the period following Cop's speech, but it was not published until 1542 in Strasbourg.[124]

John Calvin's handwriting 01
Calvin wrote many letters to religious and political leaders throughout Europe, including this one sent to Edward VI of England.

Calvin produced commentaries on most of the books of the Bible. His first commentary on Romans was published in 1540, and he planned to write commentaries on the entire New Testament. Six years passed before he wrote his second, a commentary on First Epistle to the Corinthians, but after that he devoted more attention to reaching his goal. Within four years he had published commentaries on all the Pauline epistles, and he also revised the commentary on Romans. He then turned his attention to the general epistles, dedicating them to Edward VI of England. By 1555 he had completed his work on the New Testament, finishing with the Acts and the Gospels (he omitted only the brief second and third Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation). For the Old Testament, he wrote commentaries on Isaiah, the books of the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and Joshua. The material for the commentaries often originated from lectures to students and ministers that he reworked for publication. From 1557 onwards, he could not find the time to continue this method, and he gave permission for his lectures to be published from stenographers' notes. These Praelectiones covered the minor prophets, Daniel, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and part of Ezekiel.[125]

Calvin also wrote many letters and treatises. Following the Responsio ad Sadoletum, Calvin wrote an open letter at the request of Bucer to Charles V in 1543, Supplex exhortatio ad Caesarem, defending the reformed faith. This was followed by an open letter to the pope (Admonitio paterna Pauli III) in 1544, in which Calvin admonished Paul III for depriving the reformers of any prospect of rapprochement. The pope proceeded to open the Council of Trent, which resulted in decrees against the reformers. Calvin refuted the decrees by producing the Acta synodi Tridentinae cum Antidoto in 1547. When Charles tried to find a compromise solution with the Augsburg Interim, Bucer and Bullinger urged Calvin to respond. He wrote the treatise, Vera Christianae pacificationis et Ecclesiae reformandae ratio in 1549, in which he described the doctrines that should be upheld, including justification by faith.[126]

Calvin provided many of the foundational documents for reformed churches, including documents on the catechism, the liturgy, and church governance. He also produced several confessions of faith in order to unite the churches. In 1559, he drafted the French confession of faith, the Gallic Confession, and the synod in Paris accepted it with few changes. The Belgic Confession of 1561, a Dutch confession of faith, was partly based on the Gallic Confession.[127]


John Calvin Titian B
Portrait of Calvin by Titian

After the deaths of Calvin and his successor, Beza, the Geneva city council gradually gained control over areas of life that were previously in the ecclesiastical domain. Increasing secularisation was accompanied by the decline of the church. Even the Geneva académie was eclipsed by universities in Leiden and Heidelberg, which became the new strongholds of Calvin's ideas, first identified as "Calvinism" by Joachim Westphal in 1552. By 1585, Geneva, once the wellspring of the reform movement, had become merely its symbol.[128] Calvin had always warned against describing him as an "idol" and Geneva as a new "Jerusalem". He encouraged people to adapt to the environments in which they found themselves. Even during his polemical exchange with Westphal, he advised a group of French-speaking refugees, who had settled in Wesel, Germany, to integrate with the local Lutheran churches. Despite his differences with the Lutherans, he did not deny that they were members of the true Church. Calvin's recognition of the need to adapt to local conditions became an important characteristic of the reformation movement as it spread across Europe.[129]

La revolución religiosa, 1880 "Últimos momentos de Calvino". (4133283856)
The last moments of Calvin (Barcelona: Montaner y Simón, 1880–1883)

Due to Calvin's missionary work in France, his programme of reform eventually reached the French-speaking provinces of the Netherlands. Calvinism was adopted in the Electorate of the Palatinate under Frederick III, which led to the formulation of the Heidelberg Catechism in 1563. This and the Belgic Confession were adopted as confessional standards in the first synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1571. Several leading divines, either Calvinist or those sympathetic to Calvinism, settled in England (Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr, and Jan Laski) and Scotland (John Knox). During the English Civil War, the Calvinistic Puritans produced the Westminster Confession, which became the confessional standard for Presbyterians in the English-speaking world. As the Ottoman Empire did not force Muslim conversion on its conquered western territories, reformed ideas were quickly adopted in the two-thirds of Hungary they occupied (the Habsburg-ruled third part of Hungary remained Catholic). A Reformed Constitutional Synod was held in 1567 in Debrecen, the main hub of Hungarian Calvinism, where the Second Helvetic Confession was adopted as the official confession of Hungarian Calvinists. Having established itself in Europe, the movement continued to spread to other parts of the world including North America, South Africa, and Korea.[130]

Calvin did not live to see the foundation of his work grow into an international movement; but his death allowed his ideas to break out of their city of origin, to succeed far beyond their borders, and to establish their own distinct character.[131]

Calvin is recognized as a Renewer of the Church in Lutheran churches, and as a saint in the Church of England, commemorated on 26 May,[132] and on 28 May by the Episcopal Church (USA).[133]

See also


  1. ^ "Calvin". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Robert Dean Linder, The Reformation Era, (Greenwood Press, 2008), 139.
  3. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 8–12; Parker 2006, pp. 17–20
  4. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 3–4; Cottret 2000, pp. 12–16; Parker 2006, p. 21. McGrath 1990, pp. 22–27 states that Nicolas Colladon was the source that he attended Collège de la Marche which McGrath disputes.
  5. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 17–18; Parker 2006, pp. 22–23
  6. ^ Parker 1975, p. 15. According to Cottret 2000, p. 20, there may have been a family conflict with the clergy in Noyon.
  7. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 20–24; Parker 1975, pp. 22–25
  8. ^ Parker, T. H. L, John Calvin: a Biography, Louisville, KY (Westminster John Knox: 2006), 199-203.
  9. ^ J. Calvin, preface to Commentary on the Book of Psalms, trans. James Anderson, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948), pp. xl–xli as quoted in Cottret 2000, p. 67. The translation by Anderson is available at "The Author's Preface", Commentary on Psalms, 1 See also Parker 2006, p. 200.
  10. ^ from: Bruce Gordon, Calvin, New Haven; London 2009, p. 34.
  11. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 9–10; Cottret 2000, pp. 65–70; Parker 2006, pp. 199–203; McGrath 1990, pp. 69–72
  12. ^ According to Cottret 2000, pp. 68–70, Ganoczy in his book Le Jeune Calvin. Genèse et evolution de sa vocation réformatrice, Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 1966 p. 302, argues that Calvin conversion took place over several years and that it was not a biographical or chronological event. Cottret quotes Olivier Millet, Calvin et la dynamique de la Parole. Essai de rhétorique réformée, Paris: H. Champion 1992 p. 522, noting a typological rather than a biographical perspective of the account of his conversion. The biographical argument is promoted by D. Fischer, "Conversion de Calvin", Etudes Theéologiques et Religieuses 58 (1983) pp. 203–220. According to Parker 1975, pp. 192–196 Parker is in sympathy with Ganoczy's view, but in his investigations, he concluded that a certain period for his conversion could be determined.
  13. ^ Bruce Gordon, Calvin, New Haven; London 2009, p. 34.
  14. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 7–8; Cottret 2000, pp. 63–65, 73–74, 82–88, 101; Parker 2006, pp. 47–51; McGrath 1990, pp. 62–67
  15. ^ Ganoczy 2005
  16. ^ Ganoczy 2004, p. 9; Cottret 2000, pp. 110–114; Parker 2006, pp. 52, 72
  17. ^ Church History One Hundred One, William M. Ramsay, 2006, Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0-664-50277-6 ISBN 978-0-664-50277-5 p. 57. [1]
  18. ^ Autobiographical Sketch from the Dedication of the Commentary on the Psalms, in Calvin: Commentaries (Library of Christian Classics), 1979, Joseph Haroutunian, ed., Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0-664-24160-3 ISBN 978-0-664-24160-5 p. 53. [2][3]
  19. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 76–78; Cottret 2000, pp. 110, 118–120; Parker 2006, pp. 73–75
  20. ^ Cottret 2000, p. 120
  21. ^ Parker 2006, p. 80
  22. ^ De Greef 2004, p. 50
  23. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 128–129; Parker 1975, pp. 74–76
  24. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 98–100; Cottret 2000, pp. 129–131; Parker 2006, pp. 85–90
  25. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 101–102; Parker 2006, pp. 90–92
  26. ^ Calvin et Strasbourg Archived 8 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  27. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 92–93
  28. ^ a b Parker 1995, pp. 4–5
  29. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 97–101
  30. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 143–146
  31. ^ Cottret 2000, p. 140
  32. ^ Parker 1975, p. 87
  33. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 139–142; Parker 2006, pp. 96–97
  34. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 12–14; De Greef 2004, p. 46; Cottret 2000, pp. 152–156
  35. ^ Parker 2006, p. 105
  36. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 103–107
  37. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 15–17
  38. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 165–166; Parker 2006, pp. 108–111
  39. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 172–174; Parker 2006, pp. 112–115
  40. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 170–171
  41. ^ Mark J. Larson (2009). Calvin's Doctrine of the State: A Reformed Doctrine and Its American Trajectory, The Revolutionary War, and the Founding of the Republic. Wipf and Stock. pp. 1–20. ISBN 9781606080733.
  42. ^ Harro Höpfl, The Christian Polity of John Calvin (Cambridge University Press, 1985)
  43. ^ DeVries 2004, pp. 106–124; Parker 2006, pp. 116–123
  44. ^ See also Parker, T. H. L. (2002), The Oracles of God: An Introduction to the Preaching of John Calvin, Cambridge: James Clarke Company, ISBN 0-227-17091-1
  45. ^ Currid, John D. (2006), Calvin and the Biblical Languages, UK: Christian Focus Publications, ISBN 1-845-5021-24
  46. ^ Voltaire, 1694–1778. "The works of Voltaire : VOLUME XXVII. ANCIENT AND MODERN HISTORY.4 . CHARLES V., 1512—PHILIP II., 1584". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  47. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 129–130
  48. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 183–184; Parker 2006, p. 131
  49. ^ Schaff, Philip, "§ 108. Calvin's Struggle with the Patriots and Libertines", History of the Christian Church, VIII, retrieved 17 January 2013
  50. ^ Fisher, George Park (1912). The Reformation. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 192.
  51. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 185–186; Parker 2006, pp. 124–126
  52. ^ Cottret 2000, p. 187; Parker 2006, p. 126
  53. ^ Parker 2006, p. 127
  54. ^ De Greef 2008, pp. 30–31; McNeil 1954, pp. 170–171; Cottret 2000, pp. 190–191; Parker 2006, pp. 136–138
  55. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 139–145
  56. ^ Hunted Heretic, p. 141.
  57. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 213–216; Parker 2006, p. 146
  58. ^ Thirty letters to Calvin- Michael Servetus Christianismi Restitutio-Part 4
  59. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 216–217; Parker 2006, pp. 147–148; Levy, Leonard W. (1995), Blasphemy: Verbal offense Against the Sacred from Moses to Salman Rushdie, p. 65, ISBN 978-0-8078-4515-8.
  60. ^ See the letters in John Calvin, Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia, Book VIII, First Appendix, IV & VII.
  61. ^ Calvin and the Judaism, Influence and actions and obsessions. Revoeder Hebr.Press. Levi Lancaster 200, page 106.
  62. ^ Gonzalez Echeverría," Andrés Laguna and Michael Servetus: two converted humanist doctors of the XVI century" in: Andrés Laguna International Congress. Humanism, Science and Politics in the Renaissance Europe, García Hourcade y Moreno Yuste, coord., Junta de Castilla y León, Valladolid,1999 pp. 377–389
  63. ^ González Echeverría " Michael Servetus belonged to the famous converted Jewish family The Zaporta", Pliegos de Bibliofilia, nº 7, Madrid pp. 33–42. 1999
  64. ^ González Echeverría" On the Jewish origin of Michael Servetus" Raíces. Jewish Magazine of Culture, Madrid, nº 40, pp. 67–69. 1999
  65. ^ Inconsistencies of John Calvin, A.C. Williams, Artiviche Ed, Pressore, 2012, P 34–39.
  66. ^ 1749 First questioning. Judgement of Vienne in Dauphiné against Servet. D'artigny Nouveaux mémoires d'histoire Tome Seconde. pp 55–154.
  67. ^ 1749 Second questioning. Judgement of Vienne in Dauphiné against Servet.D'artigny Nouveaux mémoires d'histoire Tome Seconde pag 55–154)
  68. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 149–150
  69. ^ Parker 1975, p. 122
  70. ^ Verdict and Sentence for Michael Servetus (1533) in A Reformation Reader eds. Denis R. Janz; 268–270
  71. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 118–120; Cottret 2000, pp. 222–225; Parker 2006, pp. 150–152
  72. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 195–198; Parker 2006, pp. 154–156
  73. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 198–200; Parker 2006, pp. 156–157; Manetsch 2013, p. 187
  74. ^ Cottret 2000, p. 235
  75. ^ Parker 1975, pp. 162–163
  76. ^ Parker 1975, pp. 164–165
  77. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 170–172
  78. ^ Olsen 2004, pp. 158–159; Ganoczy 2004, pp. 19–20; Cottret 2000, pp. 256–259; Parker 2006, pp. 157–160
  79. ^ Preserved Smith (1920). The Age of the Reformation. H. Holt. p. 201.
  80. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 182–184; Parker 2006, pp. 178–180
  81. ^ Parker 2006, pp. 161–164
  82. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 195–196; Cottret 2000, pp. 259–262; Parker 2006, pp. 185–191
  83. ^ Rossel, Patrice (1994), Une visite du cimetière de Plainpalais, Les Iles futures; Palfi, Véronique (2003), Le Cimetière des Rois, De l'hôpital des pestiférés au cimetière de Plainpalais, Cinq siècle d'histoire, étude historique pour la Conservation architecturale de la Ville de Genève
  84. ^ Hesselink 2004, pp. 74–75; Parker 1995, pp. 4–9
  85. ^ Bouwsma 1988, p. 9; Helm 2004, p. 6; Hesselink 2004, pp. 75–77
  86. ^ Parker 1995, pp. 4–10; De Greef 2004, pp. 42–44; McGrath 1990, pp. 136–144, 151–174; Cottret 2000, pp. 110–114, 309–325; Parker 2006, pp. 53–62, 97–99, 132–134, 161–164
  87. ^ Niesel 1980, pp. 23–24; Hesselink 2004, pp. 77–78; Parker 1995, pp. 13–14
  88. ^ Parker 1995, p. 21
  89. ^ Steinmetz 1995, pp. 59–62; Hesselink 2004, p. 85; Parker 1995, pp. 29–34
  90. ^ Hesselink 2004, p. 85; Parker 1995, p. 43
  91. ^ Niesel 1980, pp. 70–79; Parker 1995, p. 47
  92. ^ Gerrish 2004, pp. 290–291, 302. According to Gerrish, Calvin put his defence against the charge of novelty in the preface of every edition of the Institutes. The original preface of the first edition was addressed to the King of France, Francis I. The defence expressed his opinion that patristic authority favoured the reformers and that allegation of the reformers deviating from the patristic consensus was a fiction. See also Steinmetz 1995, pp. 122–137.
  93. ^ Niesel 1980, pp. 80–88; Parker 1995, pp. 50–57
  94. ^ Parker 1995, pp. 57–77
  95. ^ Niesel 1980, pp. 126–130; Parker 1995, pp. 78–86
  96. ^ Parker 1995, pp. 97–98
  97. ^ Niesel 1980, pp. 130–137; Parker 1995, pp. 95–103
  98. ^ Parker 1995, p. 114
  99. ^ Heron 2005, p. 243
  100. ^ Calvin 1989, Book III, Chapter 21, Par 5
  101. ^ Parker 1995, p. 134; Niesel 1980, pp. 187–195
  102. ^ Parker 1995, pp. 135–144
  103. ^ Potter & Greengrass 1983, pp. 34–42; McDonnell 1967, p. 206; Parker 1995, pp. 147–157; Niesel 1980, pp. 211–228; Steinmetz 1995, pp. 172–173
  104. ^ Gamble 2004, p. 199; Cottret 2000, pp. 125–126
  105. ^ Gamble 2004, pp. 198–199; McGrath 1990, pp. 16–17; Cottret 2000, pp. 208–211
  106. ^ Gamble 2004, pp. 193–196; Parker 1975, p. 163
  107. ^ Cottret 2000, pp. 227–233
  108. ^ Ganoczy 2004, pp. 17–18
  109. ^ See Daniel J. Elazar, Covenant and Commonwealth: Europe from Christian Separation through the Protestant Reformation, Volume II of the Covenant Tradition in Politics (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1995)
  110. ^ Pater 1987, pp. 256–296; Baron 1972, pp. 343–344
  111. ^ Lange van Ravenswaay 2009, p. 144 quoting from Calvin, Institutes II.11.10
  112. ^ Pak, G. Sojin. John Calvin and the Jews: His Exegetical Legacy. Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington, 2009, p. 25.
  113. ^ Calvin's commentary of Daniel 2:44–45 translated by Myers, Thomas.Calvin's Commentaries. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1948, quoted in Lange van Ravenswaay 2009, p. 146
  114. ^ Detmers 2006, p. 199; Lange van Ravenswaay 2009, pp. 143–146; Pak 2010, p. 177
  115. ^ Pak 2010, p. 3
  116. ^ Ad Questiones et Obiecta Iudaei cuisdam Responsio Ioannis Calvini in CR 37:653–74 and translated by R. Susan Frank in M. Sweetland Laver, Calvin, Jews, and Intra-Christian Polemics (PhD diss, Temple University, Philadelphia, 1987), pp. 220–61.
  117. ^ Pak 2010, p. 27
  118. ^ Jan Weerda, Calvin, in Evangelisches Soziallexikon, Stuttgart (Germany) (1954), col. 210
  119. ^ Clifton E. Olmstead (1960), History of Religion in the United States, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., pp. 9–10
  120. ^ a b Jan Weerda, Calvin, in Evangelisches Soziallexikon, col. 211
  121. ^ Jan Weerda, Calvin, in Evangelisches Soziallexikon, col. 212
  122. ^ Otto Weber, Calvin, Johannes, in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3. Auflage, Band I (1957), col. 1598
  123. ^ De Greef 2004, p. 41; McGrath 1990, pp. 60–62; Cottret 2000, pp. 63–65; Steinmetz 2009
  124. ^ De Greef 2004, p. 53; Cottret 2000, pp. 77–82
  125. ^ De Greef 2004, pp. 44–45; Parker 2006, pp. 134–136, 160–162
  126. ^ De Greef 2004, pp. 46–48
  127. ^ De Greef 2004, pp. 50–51
  128. ^ McGrath 1990, pp. 200–201; Cottret 2000, p. 239
  129. ^ Pettegree 2004, pp. 207–208
  130. ^ Holder 2004, pp. 246–256; McGrath 1990, pp. 198–199
  131. ^ Pettegree 2004, p. 222
  132. ^ Church of England Calendar Archived 22 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  133. ^ "John Calvin". Retrieved 13 September 2015.


Kalvin Janos ifj.Szlavics
John Calvin, memorial medal by László Szlávics, Jr., 2008
  • Baron, Salo (1972), "John Calvin and the Jews", in Feldman, Leon A. (ed.), Ancient and Medieval Jewish History, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, OCLC 463285878 (originally published 1965).
  • Berg, Machiel A. van den (2009), Friends of Calvin, Grand Rapids, Mi.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., ISBN 978-0-8028-6227-3
  • Bouwsma, William James (1988), John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-504394-4.
  • Calvin, John (1989) [1564], Institutio Christianae religionis [Institutes of the Christian Religion] (in Latin), Translated by Henry Beveridge, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
  • Cottret, Bernard (2000) [1995], Calvin: Biographie [Calvin: A Biography] (in French), Translated by M. Wallace McDonald, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, ISBN 0-8028-3159-1
  • De Greef, Wulfert (2004), "Calvin's writings", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • ———————— (2008), The Writings of John Calvin: An Introductory Guide, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0-664-23230-2
  • Detmers, Achim (2006), "Calvin, the Jews, and Judaism", in Bell, Dean Phillip; Burnett, Stephen G. (eds.), Jews, Judaism, and the Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Germany, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 978-90-04-14947-2.
  • DeVries, Dawn (2004), "Calvin's preaching", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Dyer, Thomas Henry (1850), The Life of John Calvin, London: John Murray
  • Gamble, Richard C. (2004), "Calvin's controversies", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Ganoczy, Alexandre (2004), "Calvin's life", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Ganoczy, Alexandre (2005), "Calvin, John", in Hillebrand, Hans J. (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-195-06493-3
  • Gerrish, R. A. (2004), "The place of Calvin in Christian theology", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Graham, W. Fred (1971), The Constructive Revolutionary: John Calvin and His Socio-Economic Impact, Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, ISBN 0-8042-0880-8.
  • Helm, Paul (2004), John Calvin's Ideas, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-925569-5.
  • Heron, Alasdair (2005), Lacoste, Jean-Yves (ed.), "John Calvin", Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, New York: CRC Press.
  • Hesselink, I. John (2004), "Calvin's theology", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Holder, R. Ward (2004), "Calvin's heritage", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Lane, Anthony N.S. (2009), "Calvin's Institutes", A Reader's Guide, Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8010-3731-3
  • Lange van Ravenswaay, J. Marius J. (2009) [2008], "Calvin and the Jews", in Selderhuis, Herman J. (ed.), Calvijn Handboek [The Calvin Handbook] (in Dutch), Translated by Kampen Kok, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., ISBN 978-0-8028-6230-3
  • Manetsch, Scott M. (2013), Calvin's Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536–1609, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology, New York: Oxford University Press
  • McDonnell, Kilian (1967), John Calvin, the Church, and the Eucharist, Princeton: Princeton University Press, OCLC 318418.
  • McGrath, Alister E. (1990), A Life of John Calvin, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-16398-0.
  • McNeil, John Thomas (1954), The History and Character of Calvinism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-500743-3.
  • Niesel, Wilhelm (1980), The Theology of Calvin, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, ISBN 0-8010-6694-8.
  • Olsen, Jeannine E. (2004), "Calvin and social-ethical issues", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Pak, G. Sujin (2010), The Judaizing Calvin, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-537192-5.
  • Parker, T. H. L. (1995), Calvin: An Introduction to His Thought, London: Geoffrey Chapman, ISBN 0-225-66575-1.
  • ——————— (1975), John Calvin, Tring, Hertfordshire, England: Lion Publishing plc, ISBN 0-7459-1219-2.
  • ——————— (2006), John Calvin: A Biography, Oxford: Lion Hudson plc, ISBN 978-0-7459-5228-4.
  • Pater, Calvin Augustus (1987), "Calvin, the Jews, and the Judaic Legacy", in Furcha, E. J. (ed.), In Honor of John Calvin: Papers from the 1986 International Calvin Symposium, Montreal: McGill University Press, ISBN 978-0-7717-0171-9.
  • Pettegree, Andrew (2004), "The spread of Calvin's thought", in McKim, Donald K. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-01672-8
  • Potter, G. R.; Greengrass, M. (1983), John Calvin, London: Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., ISBN 0-7131-6381-X.
  • Steinmetz, David C. (1995), Calvin in Context, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509164-7.
  • ————————— (2009), "Calvin as Biblical Interpreter Among the Ancient Philosophers", Interpretation, 63 (2): 142–153, doi:10.1177/002096430906300204

Further reading

External links

Religious titles
New institution Moderator of the Genevan Company of Pastors
Succeeded by
Theodore Beza
Academic offices
New institution Chair of theology at the Genevan Academy
Succeeded by
Theodore Beza
1509 in France

Events from the year 1509 in France

1564 in France

Events from the year 1564 in France

Calvin Coolidge

John Calvin Coolidge (; July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer wrote: "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength".Scholars have ranked Coolidge in the lower half of those presidents that they have assessed. He is praised by advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire economics, while supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, though most praise his stalwart support of racial equality.


Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

Calvinists broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Calvinists differ from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things. As declared in the Westminster and Second Helvetic confessions, the core doctrines are predestination and election. The term Calvinism can be misleading, because the religious tradition which it denotes has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. In the context of the Reformation, Huldrych Zwingli began the Reformed tradition in 1519 in the city of Zürich. His followers were instantly labeled Zwinglians, consistent with the Catholic practice of naming heresy after its founder. Very soon, Zwingli was joined by Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, William Farel, Johannes Oecolampadius and other early Reformed thinkers. The namesake of the movement, French reformer John Calvin, converted to the Reformed tradition from Roman Catholicism only in the late 1520s or early 1530s as it was already being developed. The movement was first called Calvinism, referring to John Calvin, by Lutherans who opposed it. Many within the tradition find it either an indescriptive or an inappropriate term and would prefer the word Reformed to be used instead. Some Calvinists prefer the term Augustinian-Calvinism since Calvin credited his theology to Augustine of Hippo. The most important Reformed theologians include John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. In the twentieth century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Karl Barth, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, and R. C. Sproul were influential. Contemporary Reformed theologians include J. I. Packer, John MacArthur, Timothy J. Keller, David Wells, and Michael Horton.

Reformed churches may exercise several forms of ecclesiastical polity; most are presbyterian or congregationalist, though some are episcopalian. Calvinism is largely represented by Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist traditions. The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches with more than 100 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. There are more conservative Reformed federations such as the World Reformed Fellowship and the International Conference of Reformed Churches, as well as independent churches.

Casey Donovan (actor)

Casey Donovan (born John Calvin "Cul" Culver; November 2, 1943 – August 10, 1987) was an American male pornographic film actor from the late 1960s until the mid-1980s, appearing primarily in adult films and videos catering to gay male audiences, during the Golden Age of Porn. Following a brief career as a Latin teacher and a stint as a highly paid male model, Donovan appeared in the film that would cement his status as a gay icon, Boys in the Sand, in 1971. Attempts to build on his notoriety to achieve mainstream crossover success failed, but Donovan continued to be a bankable star in the adult industry for the next 15 years. He was briefly a mainstream actor, who appeared on stage, as well as a theatre producer and manager and appeared as himself in TV series Emerald City.

Continental Reformed church

A Continental Reformed church is a Reformed church that has its origin in the European continent. Prominent subgroups are the Dutch Reformed, the Swiss Reformed, the French Reformed (Huguenots), the Hungarian Reformed, and the Waldensian Church in Italy.

The term is used to distinguish these churches from Presbyterian, Congregational or other Calvinist churches, which can trace their origin to the British Isles or elsewhere in the world. Continental Reformed churches are descended from the Protestant Reformation in respective European countries. Notably, their theology is largely derived from the Swiss Reformation, as Switzerland (specifically Geneva and Zürich) was a base for the most influential Reformed theologians of the era. It was inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli, who formulated the first expression of the Reformed faith. Swiss Reformation was more fully articulated by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and John Calvin. In the sixteenth century, the movement spread to most of continental Europe, sometimes aligning and secured by monarchs and other nobles, like in Switzerland, Hungary, and France.


Hyper-Calvinism is a branch of Protestant theology that denies the universal duty of human beings to believe in Christ for the salvation of their souls. It is at times regarded as a variation of Calvinism, but critics emphasize its differences from traditional Calvinistic beliefs.

Institutes of the Christian Religion

Institutes of the Christian Religion (Latin: Institutio Christianae Religionis) is John Calvin's seminal work of systematic theology. Regarded as one of the most influential works of Protestant theology, it was published in Latin in 1536 (at the same time as Henry VIII of England's Dissolution of the Monasteries) and in his native French language in 1541, with the definitive editions appearing in 1559 (Latin) and in 1560 (French).

The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant creed for those with some previous knowledge of theology and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone and Christian liberty. It vigorously attacked the teachings of those Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism, to which Calvin says he had been "strongly devoted" before his conversion to Protestantism.

The Institutes is a highly regarded secondary reference for the system of doctrine adopted by the Reformed churches, usually called Calvinism.

John Batchelor

John Calvin Batchelor (born April 29, 1948) is an American author and host of The John Batchelor Show. Based at AM 770 WABC radio in New York for five years from early 2001 to September 2006, the show was syndicated nationally on the ABC radio network. On October 7, 2007, Batchelor returned to radio on WABC, and later to other large market stations on a weekly basis. As of November 30, 2009, Batchelor was once again hosting a nightly show on WABC, from 9 p.m to 1 a.m Eastern Time and heard in many major markets across the country, now on the Westwood One network.The program for a time was heard seven nights a week, using prerecorded material on weekends. More recently, it has aired Monday through Friday on WABC and many Westwood One network affiliates. Batchelor describes the show as a "news magazine" since he does not take phone calls from listeners but does a series of interviews with guests and reporters.

John C. Brown

John Calvin Brown (January 6, 1827 – August 17, 1889) was an American politician, soldier and businessman. He served as Governor of Tennessee from 1871 to 1875, and was president of the state's 1870 constitutional convention, which wrote the current Tennessee State Constitution. Although he originally opposed secession, Brown fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, eventually rising to the rank of major general.A leader of the state's Bourbon Democrats, Brown dedicated much of his time as governor to solving the state's mounting debt issues. Following his gubernatorial tenure, he advocated railroad construction, briefly serving as president of the Texas & Pacific Railroad in 1888, and as president of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company in 1889.

John Calvin Coolidge Sr.

John Calvin Coolidge Sr. (March 31, 1845 – March 18, 1926) was an American politician and businessman from Vermont, and the father of John Calvin Coolidge Jr., the 30th President of the United States. He administered the presidential oath of office to his son at their family homestead on the early morning of August 3, 1923, following the death of President Warren G. Harding.

Born in Plymouth, Vermont, John C. Coolidge was a farmer and store owner, and worked at a variety of other occupations, including banker and insurance broker. In addition, he was a veteran of the Vermont militia, and held the law enforcement posts of town constable and county deputy sheriff. Considered a prominent local leader, he served in numerous Plymouth town offices, and was elected to terms in both the Vermont House of Representatives and Vermont State Senate.

John C. Coolidge remained active in his farming and business interests until his death in Plymouth in 1926; he was buried in Plymouth Notch at a village cemetery where several generations of his family are also buried.

John Calvin International School

Sekolah Dasar Swasta John Calvin International School was an international school in Pulomas, East Jakarta, Indonesia. It was an English-medium school that opened in 2007, with elementary and secondary education. Prior to its 2008 indefinite closure it had 110 students. A former Minister of Education, Wardiman Djojonegoro, had shares in the school.In 2008 the school announced that it was closing indefinitely and that students may instead attend another school operated by the same organization, Saint Peter's School. Multiple parents reacted negatively against the school closure and stated they would not send their children to Saint Peter's.Parents filed complaints with the police and lawsuits, accusing the school of fraud.

John Calvin Mason

John Calvin Mason (August 4, 1802 – 1865) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky.

Born near Mount Sterling, Kentucky, Mason attended country and city schools in Montgomery County and Mount Sterling Law School in Lexington, Kentucky.

He was graduated from Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, in 1823.

He was admitted to the bar and practiced in Mount Sterling.

He engaged extensively in the manufacture of iron.

He served as member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1839, 1844, and 1848.

He served in the war with Mexico in 1846 and 1847 in Ben McCollough's company of Texas Rangers, Worth's division, under General Taylor.

He moved to Owingsville, Kentucky, in 1847.

Mason was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses (March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1853).

He served as chairman of the Committee on Accounts (Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses).

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1852.

Mason was elected to the Thirty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1859).

He served as chairman of the Committee on Accounts (Thirty-fifth Congress).

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1858.

He served as delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention at Charleston, South Carolina.

He served as presidential elector on the Democratic ticket of Douglas and Johnson in 1860.

During the Civil War served with Texas State troops from Brenham, Texas in 1863.

He died in August 1865 near New Orleans, Louisiana on board a steamer on the Mississippi River.

He was interred in the State Cemetery, Frankfort, Kentucky.

John Calvin Stevens

John Calvin Stevens (October 8, 1855 – January 25, 1940) was an American architect who worked in the Shingle Style, in which he was a major innovator, and the Colonial Revival style. He designed more than 1,000 buildings in the state of Maine.

John Calvin bibliography

The French Reformer John Calvin (1509–1564) was a theological writer who produced many sermons, biblical commentaries, letters, theological treatises, and other works. Although nearly all of Calvin's adult life was spent in Geneva (1536–38 and 1541–64), his publications spread his ideas of a properly reformed church to many parts of Europe and from there to the rest of the world. It is especially on account of his voluminous publications that he exerts such a lasting influence over Christianity and Western history.

Calvin's first published work was an edition of the Roman philosopher Seneca's De Clementia, accompanied by a commentary demonstrating a thorough knowledge of antiquity. His first theological work, the Psychopannychia, attempted to refute the doctrine of soul sleep as promulgated by Christians whom Calvin called "Anabaptists." He finished it in 1534 but, on the advice of friends, didn't publish it until 1542. The work demonstrates that since his conversion, Calvin had undertaken serious study and now showed a mastery of the Bible, and he had become, using Karl Barth's words, a "theological Humanist" and a "biblicist" — that is, "no matter how true a teaching might be, he was not ready to lend an ear to it apart from the Word of God."At the age of twenty-six, Calvin published the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (Latin title: Institutio Christianae Religionis), a seminal work in Christian theology that is still read by theological students today. It was published in Latin in 1536 and in his native French in 1541, with the definitive editions appearing in 1559 (Latin) and in 1560 (French). The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant faith for those with some learning already and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone and Christian liberty, and it vigorously attacked the teachings of those Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism to which Calvin says he had been "strongly devoted" before his conversion to Protestantism. The overarching theme of the book – and Calvin's greatest theological legacy – is the idea of God's total sovereignty, particularly in salvation and election.Calvin also produced many volumes of commentary on most of the books of the Bible. For the Old Testament, he published commentaries for all books except the histories after Joshua (though he did publish his sermons on First Samuel) and the Wisdom literature other than the Book of Psalms. For the New Testament, he omitted only the brief second and third Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. These commentaries, too, have proved to be of lasting value to students of the Bible, and they are still in print after over 400 years.

Calvin also wrote more than 1,300 letters on a wide range of topics.

Predestination in Calvinism

Predestination is a doctrine in Calvinism dealing with the question of the control that God exercises over the world. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, God "freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass." The second use of the word "predestination" applies this to the salvation, and refers to the belief that God appointed the eternal destiny of some to salvation by grace, while leaving the remainder to receive eternal damnation for all their sins, even their original sin. The former is called "unconditional election", and the latter "reprobation". In Calvinism, people are predestined and effectually called in due time (regenerated/born again) to faith by God.

Protestant views on Mary

Protestant views on Mary include the theological positions of major Protestant representatives such as Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as some modern representatives. While it is difficult to generalize about the place of Mary, mother of Jesus in Protestantism given the great diversity of Protestant beliefs, some summary statements are attempted.

While reformers such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin at different points in their writings had expressed what seem to be examples of a residual Catholic Marian piety, the Protestant emphasis on sola scriptura, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, among others kept the honoring of Mary to a minimum, and Protestant teaching about Mary co-terminous with her short part in scripture and creeds. A newer Protestant view of Mary emerging out of the Evangelical movement sees Mary as a feisty, assertive, and radically Christian woman.

Reconciliation (theology)

Reconciliation, in Christian theology, is an element of salvation that refers to the results of atonement. Reconciliation is the end of the estrangement, caused by original sin, between God and humanity. John Calvin describes reconciliation as the peace between humanity and God that results from the expiation of religious sin and the propitiation of God's wrath. Evangelical theologian Philip Ryken describes reconciliation in this way; "It is part of the message of Salvation that brings us back together with God. ... God is the author, Christ is the agent and we are the ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5)." Although it's only used five times in the Pauline corpus (Romans 5:10-11, 11:15, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Ephesians 2:14-17 and Colossians 1:19-22) it is an essential term, describing the "substance" of the gospel and salvation. Ralph Martin writing in the Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, suggests reconciliation is at the center of Pauline theology. Stanley Porter writing in the same volume suggests a conceptual link between the reconciliation Greek word group katallage (or katallasso) and the Hebrew word shalom, generally translated as 'peace.'

Theology of John Calvin

The theology of John Calvin has been influential in both the development of the system of belief now known as Calvinism and in Protestant thought more generally.

The Encyclopedia of Christianity suggests that:

His theological importance is tied to the attempted systematization of the Christian doctrine. In the doctrine of predestination; in his simple, eschatologically grounded distinction between an immanent and a transcendent eternal work of salvation, resting on Christology and the sacraments; and in his emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit in producing the obedience of faith in the regenerate (the tertius usus legis, or so-called third use of the law), he elaborated the orthodoxy that would have a lasting impact on Reformed theology.


Middle Ages

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