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A HEART
AFLAME
AND A
MIND
RENEWED
A HEART
AFLAME
AND A
MIND
RENEWED
THE LEGACY OF
REFORMER
JOHN CALVIN
, John Calvin, became the
most influential man of
his age and his teachings
have proven to be some of
the most influential in the
shaping of Great Britain ,
South Africa and the
United States of America.
Some of the greatest philosophers, writers,
Reformers and Christian leaders in history have
described themselves as Calvinists.
Some of Calvin’s influential disciples include:
John Knox
William the
Silent
Oliver Cromwell
John Owen
John Milton
Richard Baxter
Jonathan Edwards
David
Brainerd
John Bunyan
Matthew Henry
The Covenantors in Scotland
The Huguenots
of France
the Pilgrim Fathers to
New England
George Whitefield
William Carey
William
Wilberforce
Sir Isaac
Newton
Lord
Shaftesbury
Charles Spurgeon
David Livingstone
FOLLOWING LUTHER and ZWINGLI
John Calvin was a second-generation Reformer.
He carefully and consciously built upon the solid foundations
laid by Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli.
Calvin looked to Luther as his father in the Faith, with great respect.
Luther was very aware of the up-and-coming distinguished scholar
and author, John Calvin, and praised his Institutes.
However, while their foundations were the
same, Luther’s central focus was justification
by faith, whereas Calvin’s focus was
primarily the sovereignty of God..”
These Reformers shared an overwhelming sense of the majesty of God.
Luther focused on the miracle of forgiveness, while Calvin went on to
give the assurance of the impregnability of God’s purpose. If Luther’s
central Biblical text was:
“the just shall live by faith,” Calvin’s was:
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
If Luther’s central Biblical text was:
“the just shall live by faith,” Calvin’s was:
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
SKILLED IN LOGIC AND LAW
• John Calvin was born at Noyon, Picardy, on 10 July 1509.
(He was 25 years younger than Martin Luther). Calvin
entered the University of Paris at age 14, studied Law, and
graduated at age 19 with a Master of Arts degree.
• He was described as having a brilliant writing style and a
remarkable skill in logical argument. In later years, it was
said that while people may not have liked what Calvin said,
they could not have misunderstood what he meant!
From LAW to OUTLAW
• While Calvin was
engaged in further studies
at Orleans University he
experienced what he
described as a “sudden
conversion” from papal
prejudice to Protestant
conviction. With this
spiritual quickening,
Calvin launched into
preaching, teaching and
counseling amongst his
peers.
This in turn
drew the
attention of the
state and soon
Calvin was on
the run as an
outlaw, living
under aliases
and having to
move
frequently to
avoid arrest.
THE
•In Basel, Calvin produced
the first edition of his
Institutes. The Institutes of
the Christian Religion has
been described as
•“the clearest, most
logical and most
readable exposition
of Protestant
doctrines that the
Reformation age
produced.”
INSTITUTES
• The full title of this 1536
edition of the Institutes reads:
“Basic Instruction in the
Christian Religion
comprising almost the whole
sum of Godliness and all that
it is needful to know of the
doctrine of salvation. A
newly published work very
well worth reading by all who
aspire to Godliness. The
preface is to the most
Christian King of France,
offering to him this book as a
Confession of Faith by the
author, Jean Calvin of
Noyon.”
This first edition was 516 pages long – divided into 6
chapters on The Ten Commandments, The Apostle’s
Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, The Sacraments (true and
false) and Christian Liberty.
The Institutes was an
immediate success
and catapulted
Calvin into
international
prominence. To the
French Protestants
no one had spoken
so effectively on
their behalf, and so
with the publication
of the Institutes,
Calvin assumed a
position of
leadership in the
Protestant cause, in
the French-speaking
world.
AN ACCIDENTAL DETOUR
And so it was as a respected young author that Calvin arrived in Geneva
a mere 5 months later. Calvin never intended to spend more than one
night in Geneva. He was heading for Strassburg, and compelled to take a
deviation to avoid a local war.
The Protestants in Geneva recognised him, and William Farel
(the redheaded evangelist and Reformer who had won
Geneva over to the Protestant Cause after a marathon debate
with the papists just 2 months previously) rushed over to
persuade Calvin to stay.
But Calvin had other
plans, as he later
observed: “Being
by nature a bit
antisocial and
shy, I always
loved retirement
and peace…”
Calvin planned a
life of seclusion,
study and
“literary ease.”
CHALLENGED,
CONVICTED
and
CALLED
Farel would have none of this. He threatened Calvin with a curse:
“You are following only your own wishes, and I tell you, in
the Name of God Almighty, that if you do not help us in
this work of the Lord, the Lord will punish you for seeking
your own interests rather than His.”
Convicted by Farel’s serious
threat of imprecations, gripped
by the fear of God, and ashamed
by his selfish plans to avoid
controversy and conflict, Calvin
agreed to stay.
THE REFORMER OF
GENEVA
For the next 28 years,
apart from 3 years of
banishment, Calvin
devoted himself to
evangelising,
discipling, teaching
and nurturing the
churches in Geneva.
Calvin’s dedication to
duty and intense drive set
the highest standards of
Christian work ethic.
During those two and
a half decades in
Geneva, Calvin
lectured to Theological
students, preached an
average of 5 sermons a
week, in addition to
writing commentaries
on almost every book
in the Bible, as well as
various other
theological books. His
correspondence alone
fills 11 volumes.
PRODUCTIVITY DESPITE ILL HEALTH
• Calvin was never physically strong, and by the age of 30 he
had broken his health. He would not sleep more than 4
hours a night, and even when ill, he kept four secretaries
busy with his French and Latin dictation.
He ate little,
only one meal a
day, suffered
from intense
migraine
headaches, was
frequently ill
with fever,
gallstones,
chronic asthma
and tuberculosis
–
yet he maintained a steady discipline of study, preaching,
producing a river of theological treatises, a massive amount
of correspondence and sustained constant counseling, labour
in the courts and received a stream of visitors. How Calvin
managed to remain so productive while suffering from such
chronic bad health is one of the mysteries of history.
DISCIPLING A CITY
Calvin’s goal in Geneva was a well-taught,
faithful church, dedicated to honouring God
by orthodox praise and obedient holiness.
He prepared a Confession of Faith to be accepted by everyone who
wished to be a citizen, planned an educational programme for all, and
insisted on effective church discipline, including excommunication for
those whose lives did not conform to Biblical standards.
His was the most
strenuous
programme of moral
discipline in the
Protestant world.
And quite a lot more
than the City Fathers
of Geneva had
bargained for. In
April 1538, the City
Council expelled
Calvin and Farel.
In April 1538, the City Council expelled Calvin
and Farel.
EXILE and RETURN
• For the next 3 years Calvin pastored a church of French refugees in
the German city of Strassburg. These were the happiest years in
Calvin’s life. He married a widow, Idelette, was honoured by the City
of Strasbourg as a respected teacher of theology and was made the
City’s representative to important religious conferences in Germany.
However, the city of Geneva urged His return.
• In September
1541, with great
reluctance, he once
again took up the
burden of
discipling Geneva.
Calvin succeeded
in turning Geneva
into a model
example of a
disciplined
Christian
community, a
refuge for
persecuted
Protestants from all
over Europe, and a
centre for
ministerial
training.
Calvin considered Divine election to eternal life the deepest source of confidence,
humility and moral power. While Calvin taught that one could not know with a
certainty who were God’s elect, he believed that three tests could be adequate for
effective church discipline. A true Christian, John Calvin taught, could be recognised
by his or her public profession of faith, active participation in church life, including
participation in the two sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and by an upright
moral life.
PREDESTINATION AND PERSEVERENCE OF THE SAINTS
LAW AND GRACE
Calvin taught that though
Christians were no longer
condemned by the Law of
God, the true Christian
finds in the Law God’s
pattern for moral
behaviour.
Man is not justified by
works, but no man who is
justified is without works.
No one can be a true
Christian without aspiring
to holiness in his or her
life.
Calvin set justification by
faith in a God centered,
sanctification orientated
covenantal frame.
LIFE CHANGING and
LIBERATING
This rigorous pursuit of
moral righteousness, both
personally and in society,
was one of the primary
features of Calvinism. It
made character a
fundamental test of
genuine Christianity and
explains Calvinism’s
dynamic, social activism.
God calls His elect for
His purposes. To Calvin,
the consequence of Faith
is strenuous effort to build
God’s Kingdom on earth.
Foundations for Freedom
The 19th Century German historian, Leopold Von Ranke described John
Calvin as the “virtual founder of America.” Reformer John Calvin laid
the foundations for the English and American Bills of Rights, freedom of
speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the privilege against
self-incrimination, the independence of judiciary, the right of habeas
corpus, the right not to be imprisoned without cause, and other key
principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, constitutional
and representative government, etc.
EVALUATING CALVIN
John Calvin stands out as one of
the finest Bible
scholars, one of greatest
systematic theologians
and one of the most
profound religious
thinkers in history.
John Calvin was Bible centred
in his teaching, God centred in
his living and Christ centred
in his Faith.
He integrated the confessional
principles of the Reformation –
Scripture alone is our
authority, salvation is
by the grace of God
alone, received by faith
alone. Christ alone is
the head of the Church,
everything should be
done for the Glory of
God alone – with supreme
clarity and conviction.
BIBLE BASED
The Institutes shows that Calvin was a
Biblical Theologian.
Nothing was in the Institutes for which
Scripture was not shown to support.
As Calvin made clear in his Preface to
the second edition, the Institutes is
meant to be a general preparation for
Bible study.
Calvin was a systematic
Theologian who
interpreted Scripture
with Scripture.
As a second-generation
Reformer he laboured
consciously to confirm
and conserve what those
who preceded him,
Luther, Zwingli,
Melancthon, Bucer and
others, had established.
He spoke as a
mainstream spokesman
for the true universal
Church.
A MONUMENTAL MASTERPIECE
• The final edition of the Institutes, published in 1559, contained 80 chapters
and more than 1000 pages.
•The Institutes stands
as the finest textbook
of Theology, apology
for the Protestant
Faith, manifesto for
the Reformation,
handbook for
Catechism, weapon
against heresy, and
guide to Christian
discipleship.
It is a
systematic
masterpiece,
which has
earned itself a
permanent
place amongst
the greatest
Christian
books in all of
history.
THE FIRST BIBLE
COMMENTARIES
• In addition to
writing the
Institutes, John
Calvin produced
the first Bible
commentaries.
• He wrote
commentaries on
every book in the
Bible, except for
Revelation.
• A theme that binds
all of Calvin’s
works together is
to know God and
to make Him
known.
A WORLD TO WIN
Calvin’s vision is
attested to by the fact
that during his ministry
over 2 000 Reformed
churches were
established in France
alone – with half a
million church
members in
congregations lead by
pastors and evangelists
he had trained and sent
out. Calvin sent
missionaries throughout
Europe and even as far
afield as Brazil.
The Reformation teachings of John Calvin were foundational in the
development of Europe, South Africa and North America. Calvin’s concept
of the separation of church and civil government – where each stand
independent of each other yet recognising each others Divine authority,
– transformed Western Civilisation.
Calvin’s ideals of
religious toleration,
representative
government,
constitutionalising
the monarchy,
Establishing the rights and
liberties of citizens and the
Christian Work ethic – in
which secular society is
seen as sacred (whereby
the arts, crafts, sciences
and industries are all
developed for the glory of
God) led to the industrial
and scientific revolutions
developing the most
productive and prosperous
societies in history.
FAITH and FREEDOM
Calvin taught that no man – whether pope or king –
has any claim to absolute power. Calvin encouraged
the development of representative governments, and
stressed the right to resist the tyranny of unbelievers.
Calvinist resistance to totalitarianism and absolutism
(the arbitrary abuse of power by leaders) was a key
factor in the development of modern limited and
constitutional governments.
The Church has the obligation, under Almighty God, to
guide the secular authorities on spiritual and ethical matters.
As a result, Calvinism rapidly assumed international
dimensions.
HOLLAND
In Holland,
Calvinism
provided the
ralling point for
opposition to the
oppression of
Catholic Spain,
which was
occupying their
country at that
time.
SCOTLAND
In Scotland, Calvin’s disciple, John Knox, taught that
Protestants had the right and duty to resist, by force if
necessary, any leader who tried to prevent their
worship and mission.
ENGLAND
The Puritans in England
established the
supremacy of
Parliament
and constitutionally
limited the power of the
throne.
AMERICA
In North America, England’s 13 colonies
established the United States of America on
Calvin’s principles of representative government
and the rule of Law, Lex Rex.
John Calvin, transformed Geneva
through his preaching, teaching,
writings and Academy. Under John
Calvin's ministry, Geneva became
the intellectual centre and hub of
the Reformation, a place of
religious freedom and refuge for
Protestants fleeing persecution, a
sending base for evangelists,
pastors and missionaries who
established literally thousands of
Reformed churches throughout
Europe and further afield.
Yet, historians have
noted that:
“No good man has
ever had a worse
press; no Christian
Theologian is so
often scorned; so
regularly
attacked.”
Throughout his life Calvin
faced major opposition, often
from fellow Protestants and
other theologians: “whose
objections to Calvin were
incessant and, usually,
unpleasant.”
Even today, there are those
who maintain that John
Calvin was a vicious tyrant
who oppressed the people
under an unbearable
dictatorship, and that he had
people executed for
disagreeing with him.
The great Reformer, John
Calvin, declared:
“No greater
injury can be
inflicted upon
men than to
ruin their
reputation.”
Yet, the facts are that
Calvin never ruled Geneva.
The city was not a
totalitarian society, but a
republic with elections and
dissent. Calvin held no
civil office, he could
neither arrest nor punish
any citizen, nor could he
appoint or dismiss any
official. (To argue that his
eloquence and logic
constituted tyranny, is to
invent a new standard.)
History records that refugees from all over Europe
flooded to Geneva to find the freedom there that they
were not able to enjoy in their home countries.
Under Calvin,
Geneva developed
into Europe's greatest
concentration of
printers and
publishing firms. It
became the epicentre
of the movement for
freedom world wide.
Yet Calvin continues
to be slandered by
ignorant and
prejudiced people.
TO KNOW GOD
Calvin dealt with what can be known about God (Theology)
and how to know God personally (devotion).
Calvin’s
motto was
Prompte et
sincere in
opere Dei
(promptly
and
sincerely in
the service
of God).
His emblem
is of a heart
aflame in the
hand of God.
This is what Calvin
wished to be, and
this, in fact, was
what he was: a
heart aflame for
God who sought to
be faithful in the
service of God,
renewing his mind
according to the
Word of God.
To him it was not enough to know about God, but essential
that one knew Him personally, whole-heartedly,
with a heart aflame for God.
Not for Calvin the
dry-as-dust, cold-
hearted, external and
empty religion,
which epitomises so
many of those who
claim to follow him.
Calvin’s faith was
intense, passionate
and wholehearted
To the question:
What does it mean to
know God?
Calvin answered:
To know God is to
acknowledge Him as He
has revealed Himself in
Scripture and through
Christ – worshiping
Him and giving Him
thanks, humbling
ourselves before Him as
foolish and depraved
sinners, learning from
His Word,
loving God for His
love in adopting and
redeeming us, trusting
in God’s promises of
pardon, glorifying
what God has
accomplished through
Christ, living in
obedience to God’s
Law and seeking to
honour God in all our
human relationships
and in all connections
with God’s creatures.
To the question: From
where comes our
knowledge?
Calvin answers:
From the Holy Spirit,
speaking in and
through the written
Word of God
by uniting us to the
Risen Christ
for abundant life.
Calvin viewed music as a gift of God and encouraged
congregational Psalm singing, even putting to music a
number of the Psalms himself. Calvin was an Evangelist
who worked diligently to bring the lost to repentance
and faith in Christ.
A REASON TO SING AND A
MESSAGE TO GIVE
A CALL TO SUFFER AND SERVE –
CHANGING CULTURES FOR CHRIST
Calvin’s concept of the Christian life as a militant pilgrimage
leading safely home by a predestined path of service and
suffering – as we fulfill our cultural calling – has produced
some of the most humble, hard-working heroes of the Faith.
HAVE YOU READ CALVIN?
If you have never read
Calvin’s Institutes or benefited
from his commentaries,
perhaps this would be a good
time to invest the time in
studying these treasures.
Has your mind been
renewed by the Word
of God?
Is your heart aflame
with devotion to
Christ?
And are you applying
the Lordship of
Christ to all areas of
life, promptly and
sincerely in the service
of God?
REFORMATION SOCIETY
PO Box 74
Newlands, 7725
Cape Town
South Africa
E-mail: info@ReformationSA.org
Web: www.ReformationSA.org
John Calvin - A Heart Aflame and a Mind Renewed
John Calvin - A Heart Aflame and a Mind Renewed
John Calvin - A Heart Aflame and a Mind Renewed

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John Calvin - A Heart Aflame and a Mind Renewed

  • 2.
  • 4. THE LEGACY OF REFORMER JOHN CALVIN , John Calvin, became the most influential man of his age and his teachings have proven to be some of the most influential in the shaping of Great Britain , South Africa and the United States of America.
  • 5. Some of the greatest philosophers, writers, Reformers and Christian leaders in history have described themselves as Calvinists.
  • 6. Some of Calvin’s influential disciples include: John Knox
  • 7.
  • 17. The Covenantors in Scotland
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21. the Pilgrim Fathers to New England
  • 29.
  • 30. FOLLOWING LUTHER and ZWINGLI John Calvin was a second-generation Reformer. He carefully and consciously built upon the solid foundations laid by Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli.
  • 31. Calvin looked to Luther as his father in the Faith, with great respect. Luther was very aware of the up-and-coming distinguished scholar and author, John Calvin, and praised his Institutes.
  • 32. However, while their foundations were the same, Luther’s central focus was justification by faith, whereas Calvin’s focus was primarily the sovereignty of God..”
  • 33. These Reformers shared an overwhelming sense of the majesty of God. Luther focused on the miracle of forgiveness, while Calvin went on to give the assurance of the impregnability of God’s purpose. If Luther’s central Biblical text was: “the just shall live by faith,” Calvin’s was: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
  • 34. If Luther’s central Biblical text was: “the just shall live by faith,” Calvin’s was: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
  • 35. SKILLED IN LOGIC AND LAW • John Calvin was born at Noyon, Picardy, on 10 July 1509. (He was 25 years younger than Martin Luther). Calvin entered the University of Paris at age 14, studied Law, and graduated at age 19 with a Master of Arts degree.
  • 36. • He was described as having a brilliant writing style and a remarkable skill in logical argument. In later years, it was said that while people may not have liked what Calvin said, they could not have misunderstood what he meant!
  • 37. From LAW to OUTLAW • While Calvin was engaged in further studies at Orleans University he experienced what he described as a “sudden conversion” from papal prejudice to Protestant conviction. With this spiritual quickening, Calvin launched into preaching, teaching and counseling amongst his peers.
  • 38. This in turn drew the attention of the state and soon Calvin was on the run as an outlaw, living under aliases and having to move frequently to avoid arrest.
  • 39. THE •In Basel, Calvin produced the first edition of his Institutes. The Institutes of the Christian Religion has been described as •“the clearest, most logical and most readable exposition of Protestant doctrines that the Reformation age produced.” INSTITUTES
  • 40. • The full title of this 1536 edition of the Institutes reads: “Basic Instruction in the Christian Religion comprising almost the whole sum of Godliness and all that it is needful to know of the doctrine of salvation. A newly published work very well worth reading by all who aspire to Godliness. The preface is to the most Christian King of France, offering to him this book as a Confession of Faith by the author, Jean Calvin of Noyon.”
  • 41. This first edition was 516 pages long – divided into 6 chapters on The Ten Commandments, The Apostle’s Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, The Sacraments (true and false) and Christian Liberty.
  • 42. The Institutes was an immediate success and catapulted Calvin into international prominence. To the French Protestants no one had spoken so effectively on their behalf, and so with the publication of the Institutes, Calvin assumed a position of leadership in the Protestant cause, in the French-speaking world.
  • 43. AN ACCIDENTAL DETOUR And so it was as a respected young author that Calvin arrived in Geneva a mere 5 months later. Calvin never intended to spend more than one night in Geneva. He was heading for Strassburg, and compelled to take a deviation to avoid a local war.
  • 44. The Protestants in Geneva recognised him, and William Farel (the redheaded evangelist and Reformer who had won Geneva over to the Protestant Cause after a marathon debate with the papists just 2 months previously) rushed over to persuade Calvin to stay.
  • 45. But Calvin had other plans, as he later observed: “Being by nature a bit antisocial and shy, I always loved retirement and peace…” Calvin planned a life of seclusion, study and “literary ease.”
  • 47. Farel would have none of this. He threatened Calvin with a curse:
  • 48. “You are following only your own wishes, and I tell you, in the Name of God Almighty, that if you do not help us in this work of the Lord, the Lord will punish you for seeking your own interests rather than His.”
  • 49. Convicted by Farel’s serious threat of imprecations, gripped by the fear of God, and ashamed by his selfish plans to avoid controversy and conflict, Calvin agreed to stay.
  • 50. THE REFORMER OF GENEVA For the next 28 years, apart from 3 years of banishment, Calvin devoted himself to evangelising, discipling, teaching and nurturing the churches in Geneva.
  • 51. Calvin’s dedication to duty and intense drive set the highest standards of Christian work ethic.
  • 52. During those two and a half decades in Geneva, Calvin lectured to Theological students, preached an average of 5 sermons a week, in addition to writing commentaries on almost every book in the Bible, as well as various other theological books. His correspondence alone fills 11 volumes.
  • 53. PRODUCTIVITY DESPITE ILL HEALTH • Calvin was never physically strong, and by the age of 30 he had broken his health. He would not sleep more than 4 hours a night, and even when ill, he kept four secretaries busy with his French and Latin dictation.
  • 54. He ate little, only one meal a day, suffered from intense migraine headaches, was frequently ill with fever, gallstones, chronic asthma and tuberculosis –
  • 55. yet he maintained a steady discipline of study, preaching, producing a river of theological treatises, a massive amount of correspondence and sustained constant counseling, labour in the courts and received a stream of visitors. How Calvin managed to remain so productive while suffering from such chronic bad health is one of the mysteries of history.
  • 56. DISCIPLING A CITY Calvin’s goal in Geneva was a well-taught, faithful church, dedicated to honouring God by orthodox praise and obedient holiness.
  • 57. He prepared a Confession of Faith to be accepted by everyone who wished to be a citizen, planned an educational programme for all, and insisted on effective church discipline, including excommunication for those whose lives did not conform to Biblical standards.
  • 58. His was the most strenuous programme of moral discipline in the Protestant world. And quite a lot more than the City Fathers of Geneva had bargained for. In April 1538, the City Council expelled Calvin and Farel.
  • 59. In April 1538, the City Council expelled Calvin and Farel.
  • 60. EXILE and RETURN • For the next 3 years Calvin pastored a church of French refugees in the German city of Strassburg. These were the happiest years in Calvin’s life. He married a widow, Idelette, was honoured by the City of Strasbourg as a respected teacher of theology and was made the City’s representative to important religious conferences in Germany. However, the city of Geneva urged His return.
  • 61. • In September 1541, with great reluctance, he once again took up the burden of discipling Geneva. Calvin succeeded in turning Geneva into a model example of a disciplined Christian community, a refuge for persecuted Protestants from all over Europe, and a centre for ministerial training.
  • 62. Calvin considered Divine election to eternal life the deepest source of confidence, humility and moral power. While Calvin taught that one could not know with a certainty who were God’s elect, he believed that three tests could be adequate for effective church discipline. A true Christian, John Calvin taught, could be recognised by his or her public profession of faith, active participation in church life, including participation in the two sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and by an upright moral life. PREDESTINATION AND PERSEVERENCE OF THE SAINTS
  • 63. LAW AND GRACE Calvin taught that though Christians were no longer condemned by the Law of God, the true Christian finds in the Law God’s pattern for moral behaviour. Man is not justified by works, but no man who is justified is without works. No one can be a true Christian without aspiring to holiness in his or her life. Calvin set justification by faith in a God centered, sanctification orientated covenantal frame.
  • 64. LIFE CHANGING and LIBERATING This rigorous pursuit of moral righteousness, both personally and in society, was one of the primary features of Calvinism. It made character a fundamental test of genuine Christianity and explains Calvinism’s dynamic, social activism. God calls His elect for His purposes. To Calvin, the consequence of Faith is strenuous effort to build God’s Kingdom on earth.
  • 65. Foundations for Freedom The 19th Century German historian, Leopold Von Ranke described John Calvin as the “virtual founder of America.” Reformer John Calvin laid the foundations for the English and American Bills of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the privilege against self-incrimination, the independence of judiciary, the right of habeas corpus, the right not to be imprisoned without cause, and other key principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, constitutional and representative government, etc.
  • 66. EVALUATING CALVIN John Calvin stands out as one of the finest Bible scholars, one of greatest systematic theologians and one of the most profound religious thinkers in history. John Calvin was Bible centred in his teaching, God centred in his living and Christ centred in his Faith.
  • 67. He integrated the confessional principles of the Reformation – Scripture alone is our authority, salvation is by the grace of God alone, received by faith alone. Christ alone is the head of the Church, everything should be done for the Glory of God alone – with supreme clarity and conviction.
  • 68. BIBLE BASED The Institutes shows that Calvin was a Biblical Theologian. Nothing was in the Institutes for which Scripture was not shown to support. As Calvin made clear in his Preface to the second edition, the Institutes is meant to be a general preparation for Bible study.
  • 69. Calvin was a systematic Theologian who interpreted Scripture with Scripture. As a second-generation Reformer he laboured consciously to confirm and conserve what those who preceded him, Luther, Zwingli, Melancthon, Bucer and others, had established. He spoke as a mainstream spokesman for the true universal Church.
  • 70. A MONUMENTAL MASTERPIECE • The final edition of the Institutes, published in 1559, contained 80 chapters and more than 1000 pages. •The Institutes stands as the finest textbook of Theology, apology for the Protestant Faith, manifesto for the Reformation, handbook for Catechism, weapon against heresy, and guide to Christian discipleship.
  • 71. It is a systematic masterpiece, which has earned itself a permanent place amongst the greatest Christian books in all of history.
  • 72. THE FIRST BIBLE COMMENTARIES • In addition to writing the Institutes, John Calvin produced the first Bible commentaries. • He wrote commentaries on every book in the Bible, except for Revelation. • A theme that binds all of Calvin’s works together is to know God and to make Him known.
  • 73. A WORLD TO WIN Calvin’s vision is attested to by the fact that during his ministry over 2 000 Reformed churches were established in France alone – with half a million church members in congregations lead by pastors and evangelists he had trained and sent out. Calvin sent missionaries throughout Europe and even as far afield as Brazil.
  • 74. The Reformation teachings of John Calvin were foundational in the development of Europe, South Africa and North America. Calvin’s concept of the separation of church and civil government – where each stand independent of each other yet recognising each others Divine authority, – transformed Western Civilisation.
  • 75. Calvin’s ideals of religious toleration, representative government, constitutionalising the monarchy,
  • 76. Establishing the rights and liberties of citizens and the Christian Work ethic – in which secular society is seen as sacred (whereby the arts, crafts, sciences and industries are all developed for the glory of God) led to the industrial and scientific revolutions developing the most productive and prosperous societies in history.
  • 77. FAITH and FREEDOM Calvin taught that no man – whether pope or king – has any claim to absolute power. Calvin encouraged the development of representative governments, and stressed the right to resist the tyranny of unbelievers. Calvinist resistance to totalitarianism and absolutism (the arbitrary abuse of power by leaders) was a key factor in the development of modern limited and constitutional governments.
  • 78. The Church has the obligation, under Almighty God, to guide the secular authorities on spiritual and ethical matters. As a result, Calvinism rapidly assumed international dimensions.
  • 79. HOLLAND In Holland, Calvinism provided the ralling point for opposition to the oppression of Catholic Spain, which was occupying their country at that time.
  • 80. SCOTLAND In Scotland, Calvin’s disciple, John Knox, taught that Protestants had the right and duty to resist, by force if necessary, any leader who tried to prevent their worship and mission.
  • 81. ENGLAND The Puritans in England established the supremacy of Parliament and constitutionally limited the power of the throne.
  • 82. AMERICA In North America, England’s 13 colonies established the United States of America on Calvin’s principles of representative government and the rule of Law, Lex Rex.
  • 83. John Calvin, transformed Geneva through his preaching, teaching, writings and Academy. Under John Calvin's ministry, Geneva became the intellectual centre and hub of the Reformation, a place of religious freedom and refuge for Protestants fleeing persecution, a sending base for evangelists, pastors and missionaries who established literally thousands of Reformed churches throughout Europe and further afield.
  • 84. Yet, historians have noted that: “No good man has ever had a worse press; no Christian Theologian is so often scorned; so regularly attacked.”
  • 85. Throughout his life Calvin faced major opposition, often from fellow Protestants and other theologians: “whose objections to Calvin were incessant and, usually, unpleasant.” Even today, there are those who maintain that John Calvin was a vicious tyrant who oppressed the people under an unbearable dictatorship, and that he had people executed for disagreeing with him.
  • 86. The great Reformer, John Calvin, declared: “No greater injury can be inflicted upon men than to ruin their reputation.”
  • 87. Yet, the facts are that Calvin never ruled Geneva. The city was not a totalitarian society, but a republic with elections and dissent. Calvin held no civil office, he could neither arrest nor punish any citizen, nor could he appoint or dismiss any official. (To argue that his eloquence and logic constituted tyranny, is to invent a new standard.)
  • 88. History records that refugees from all over Europe flooded to Geneva to find the freedom there that they were not able to enjoy in their home countries.
  • 89. Under Calvin, Geneva developed into Europe's greatest concentration of printers and publishing firms. It became the epicentre of the movement for freedom world wide. Yet Calvin continues to be slandered by ignorant and prejudiced people.
  • 90. TO KNOW GOD Calvin dealt with what can be known about God (Theology) and how to know God personally (devotion).
  • 91. Calvin’s motto was Prompte et sincere in opere Dei (promptly and sincerely in the service of God). His emblem is of a heart aflame in the hand of God.
  • 92. This is what Calvin wished to be, and this, in fact, was what he was: a heart aflame for God who sought to be faithful in the service of God, renewing his mind according to the Word of God.
  • 93. To him it was not enough to know about God, but essential that one knew Him personally, whole-heartedly, with a heart aflame for God.
  • 94. Not for Calvin the dry-as-dust, cold- hearted, external and empty religion, which epitomises so many of those who claim to follow him. Calvin’s faith was intense, passionate and wholehearted
  • 95. To the question: What does it mean to know God? Calvin answered: To know God is to acknowledge Him as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and through Christ – worshiping Him and giving Him thanks, humbling ourselves before Him as foolish and depraved sinners, learning from His Word,
  • 96. loving God for His love in adopting and redeeming us, trusting in God’s promises of pardon, glorifying what God has accomplished through Christ, living in obedience to God’s Law and seeking to honour God in all our human relationships and in all connections with God’s creatures.
  • 97. To the question: From where comes our knowledge? Calvin answers: From the Holy Spirit, speaking in and through the written Word of God by uniting us to the Risen Christ for abundant life.
  • 98. Calvin viewed music as a gift of God and encouraged congregational Psalm singing, even putting to music a number of the Psalms himself. Calvin was an Evangelist who worked diligently to bring the lost to repentance and faith in Christ. A REASON TO SING AND A MESSAGE TO GIVE
  • 99. A CALL TO SUFFER AND SERVE – CHANGING CULTURES FOR CHRIST Calvin’s concept of the Christian life as a militant pilgrimage leading safely home by a predestined path of service and suffering – as we fulfill our cultural calling – has produced some of the most humble, hard-working heroes of the Faith.
  • 100. HAVE YOU READ CALVIN? If you have never read Calvin’s Institutes or benefited from his commentaries, perhaps this would be a good time to invest the time in studying these treasures.
  • 101. Has your mind been renewed by the Word of God? Is your heart aflame with devotion to Christ? And are you applying the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life, promptly and sincerely in the service of God?
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  • 108. REFORMATION SOCIETY PO Box 74 Newlands, 7725 Cape Town South Africa E-mail: info@ReformationSA.org Web: www.ReformationSA.org