“Among all those who have been born of women, there has not risen a greater than John Calvin; no age, before him ever produced his equal, and no age afterwards has seen his rival. In theology, he stands alone, shining like a bright fixed star, while other leaders and teachers can only circle round him, at a great distance “” as comets go streaming through space “” with nothing like his glory or his permanence.” C.H. Spurgeon

John Calvin

John Calvin was a Christian Theologian born on 10 July 1509 in Noyon, Picardy, France and died on 27 May 1564 (aged 54) Geneva, Switzerland. His Notable works includes The Institutes of the Christian Religion which was first published in 1536. John Calvin is considered by most theologians as one of (if not the) greatest theologian who has ever walked the face of the earth (outside of the bible).

Calvin never really formulated or came up with any new doctrine, he simply resurrected doctrinal truths the church had forgotten. He too was influenced by the writings of Theologians who preceded him like Augustine of Hippo.

Calvin stressed the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, a doctrine which has been very much neglected in our day. Calvin taught that grace was efficacious and that salvation depended not on the free will of man but on God's Sovereign decree and purpose for man's salvation. Many objections have been produced against this biblical doctrine of sovereign Grace.

Today for many people the name of Calvin is known only in a vague sense and has become a label for attitudes that are negative, judgmental, and joyless. Theologians and biblical scholars however know him as a writer in theology and biblical studies whose work must still be carefully considered even today.

Calvin was an Expository preacher. He wanted to preach the bible verse by verse, from start to finish. For Calvin, it was not just Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), but Tota Scriptura (all of Scripture) i.e. we must preach only the reveal counsel of God and all of it. John Calvin is said to have preached more than two thousand sermons.

Many people know Calvin only for the five points of Calvinism, but Calvin never came up with the five points. The five points of Calvinism came to be known as such after his death; they were simply a respond to the five points of Arminianism that rejected the Sovereignty of God over man's salvation.

“Men like Luther and Augustine have had devoted followers, but few had as many equally enemies as Calvin has attracted over the years” John Piper

Calvin was a very controversial man and when one stands up for truth and is faithful to teaching the whole counsel of God as Calvin did, enemies will come. Calvin debated Catholics, heretics and other Reformers on issues like The Lord”™s supper, baptism, the Trinity, Predestination, justifications and almost every other Christian doctrine.

Calvin is the most influential figures in reformed theology. Calvin lived to magnify the glory of God. His works continue to shape to shape many churches today. John Calvin was “a man who lived out his Christian faith as a pilgrim and a pastor” (Robert Godfrey). May the Lord raise up more men and women like John Calvin, who will stand up for truth.

Soli Deo Gloria

Additional Reading:

  1. John Calvin pilgrim and pastor, W. Robert Godfrey, ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-0132-6
  2. John Calvin, John Piper, ISBN-13:978-1-4335-0182-1