John Calvin was born in 1509 in Noyon in France and was a genius beyond his time. He studied in humanism from an early age until his defection from the church of Rome where he became the most influential theologian in the protestant reformation.
Calvin lived most of his Christian life as a leader and pastor in Geneva even while having been exiled from the city for many years. While he was a mild man with a true pastors heart, Calvin was a strong defenders of the truths of Scripture and wrote many responses to criticisms of the theology of the reformation. Calvin also wrote one of the first systematic theology called “Institutes of the Christian Religion” which is to this day used to study the biblical theology. Along with his famous Institutes, Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book of the bible as well as a number of sermons that are still being circulated today.
While he has been branded a cruel dictator by some, his life and principles in living out the Christian faith seem to demonstrate a much different perspective on Calvin’s life and theology.
While many this week will be getting dressed up in all sorts of frightful costumes and celebrating Hallow’s Eve, Christians who are Reformed in their understanding of scripture will reflect upon the 497th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
In 1517, Martin Luther, a young German monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg challenging the great religious kingdom of his day in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a time of reflection on the story of those who took the word of God in their hands and brought it’s teachings to the common people. It was a time when God poured out His Spirit and lead men in different locations to rediscover the truths therein. These were men who stood for the principles laid out in scripture even under tremendousl persecution. The Protestant Reformation stands as a monumental time in Christianity to the extent that historian Philip Schaff could write that “next to the introduction of Christianity, it is the greatest event in history” . The spread of this movement reached the far regions of Europe and set the entire modern world into rethinking their faith and their allegiances. It brought about a focus on neglected biblical teaching including the five solas of the reformation.
While anyone today who possesses a bible in their hand has benefited from the Protestant Reformation, the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians have no idea what happened in this historical event or who was involved. Over the next 5 days I will be posting some materials on five of the most significant men who were part of the reformation movement in the 16th century. These will include Martin Luther, Phillip Melanchthon, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and Theodore Beza. Please join me in considering how God was moving in those days.
If anyone would like to get a head start and gain an tremendously full historical understanding of the Reformation, please take the time to listen to Dr. Trueman’s lectures on the Reformation.
We read in the book of Hebrews chapter 11 of men of whom the world was not worthy. These were individuals of great faith and whom God had chosen to glorify Him through extraordinary circumstances. These great fathers of the faith serve as incredible examples to us today and we should consider ourselves indebted to God for allowing us this testimony of their lives.
With that said, God didn’t stop working in this present age when the last word of the book of Revelation was written. Too many today don’t really appreciate that God is active in history and even today continues to accomplish the good pleasure of His will. He further has given us men throughout history who we can look at as great men/women of faith who serve as incredible examples to live by.
I have had the pleasure of reading many biographies throughout my few years as a Christian and I would like to share with you, my readers, some of the biographies that have influenced me the most. I pray that perhaps you will take the time to pick up these volumes and be blessed by the lives of those who have done so much and left us a testimony to the glory of God.
Continue reading “Christian Biographies”