Saturday, April 1, 2017


Reformation 500 WEEK 14    John calvin

     “John Calvin was born, July 10, 1509 in Noyon, a little town in northern France, near Paris…. Because of the early death of his mother, Calvin was brought up in the household of a nobleman in the neighborhood of his own home.”

     “In 1512, when Luther was still unknown, Professor Jacques Lefevre of the Sorbonne in Paris published a Latin translation of, and commentary on, the epistles of Paul. It is God who saves ‘by grace alone,’ said the professor. One of his students, Guillaume Farel, saw with the eyes of faith what his teacher was telling him.

     “Many others in France rediscovered the truths of God’s Word. Churches were changed. Margaret, the king’s sister, was converted. The new faith spread throughout the country. As in all lands, this raised fierce opposition. Lefevre’s writings were condemned in 1525, as were the writings of Luther and a little book by Margaret. Anyone found possessing such writings could expect to pay dearly. Into such a Paris came John Calvin in 1523 [to study at the university].

     “Calvin drove himself to master all his studies: the classical languages, logic, the writings of the Church Father’s, law. At his father’s wish, Calvin changed from the study of theology to that of law. On his father’s death, Calvin decided to practice neither, but to live the life of scholar in Paris.

     “Late in 1533 Nicholas Cop, now rector of the University of Paris, made his annual All Saints’ Day address. The speech sounded like the ideas of Erasmus and Luther. It was rumored that Cop had written it with the advice of Calvin. Both had to flee for their lives. John Calvin escaped through a back window while some friends talked to the bailiffs in the front” (above quotes taken from Kuiper, 189-190).

     In the preface to his commentary on Psalms, Calvin writes of his conversion. “At first, since I was too obstinately devoted to the superstitions of the papacy, that it was extremely difficult to drag me from the depths of the mire, God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame… 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, I yet pursued them with less zeal.”

     In his Letter to Sadoleto, Calvin says that prior to his conversion he was “overwhelmed by the consciousness of sin, just as Luther was… He tells us that his conversion was not, as has sometimes been maintained, a cold intellectual decision, but an act in the depths of a heart which trusts. He shows us his struggles, his hesitation in leaving the Church of his childhood, and his repentance with tears…. But especially do we feel in these pages this grip of God on his life, this impossibility of resisting the heavenly vision, this ‘I can do no other’ which is indeed the hallmark of Reformation piety” (John Cadier, The Man God Mastered, 41-42).

      “Calvin was hunted from city to city. He often used assumed names such as Charles d’Esperville or Martianus Lucanius. Everywhere he went he taught small groups in secret places. A new torture was devised about this time, a device to lift the victim in and out of the fire, roasting him slowly instead of burning him all at once. Nowhere in France was a Protestant safe” (Kuiper, 190-191).

NOTE: These Posts were written and  designed as bulletin inserts by Pastor David Fagrey of the Grace Reformed Church of Rapid City, SD .  

Link to this blog entry as a bulletin insert:  Reformation500 John Calvin

For a double-sided PDF for easy printing: Reformation 500 Week 14

Official Seal of  the RCUS
This is the seal of the Reformed Church of the United States (RCUS).  As you can see its history goes back to 1748, when the RCUS began.  We celebrate with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we praise God for what is probably the most amazing spiritual revival in the history of the world.

Page on Omaha Reformed Church's Website: Links to all Bulletin Inserts.

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