John Calvin: The Great Apostle of the 16th Century

You do not have to be considered a Calvinist to be acquainted with the person of John Calvin. This well known Protestant Theologian was one of the primary figures of the Reformation, alongside others like Martin Luther. Ligonier ministries refer to him as the "greatest influence on the church since the first century".

Even those who do not hold to the Christian religion refer to Calvin as one of the greatest western thinkers. But who was this man of faith, and how does his influence impact us today?

Who Was Calvin?

Born on July 10, 1509 to a layman administrator, Gerard, and his wife, Jeanne of France, there was a great emphasis on Calvin at a young age to study for the priesthood. At the age of fourteen, he entered the University of Paris to study theology, and he graduated in 1528, surpassing expectations in the knowledge of many different principles of study and thought.

His family, unfortunately, had a falling out with the Bishop of Noyon and the church, which resulted in Calvin's studies to turn towards law. He pursued study in classical literature, and finally in Bourges, he completed his legal studies and graduated in the year of 1532.

A Learned Man Learns of Christ

While reading the works of Martin Luther as a student at the University of New Orleans, Calvin would soon find these very works would be a segway to his conversion from Catholicism to Christianity. This learned man, through the sovereignty of God and the power of the Spirit, was beginning to mold into, as quoted by pastor Steve Lawson, "A self-taught theologian of no small stature".

It was in 1534 that Calvin moved to Switzerland to study alone. In this solitude of study, he began his work on one of the greatest works of literature, "The Institutes of Christian Religion". He had only been saved for a year and successfully completed the book at the age of 26.

Being a well-learned young man, at the age of 28 after moving to Geneva, he and his associates had established many schools throughout the city. This encouraged parents to send their children to these schools for a chance to get a secular education, but also, with the Catechism of Christian Doctrine he created, these students would be introduced to Christ while in their studies - much like Calvin himself.

Calvin's Impact on the Reformation

Alongside with his faithful work in and out of the pulpit, the influence of John Calvin reaches far beyond his time to us here in our modern time. His influence became supreme from the beginning of the Reformation in France, where his counsel was sought after much. His commentaries of the Bible are well sought out even today, along with many of his other written works.

Perhaps one of the most famous things John Calvin can be credited for is the reformed teaching of The Five Points of Calvinism, otherwise known as T.U.L.I.P. (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints).

Calvin is called the father of such teachings, and many who hold to reformed doctrine believe these principles to be biblically based and proven by Scripture.

Praise God for John Calvin

We praise God for men like John Calvin. Through Christ, this man's work paved the way for a clearer understanding of God's truth, for His glory and namesake. Alongside many great men of the Reformation movement, we remember and honor John Calvin's efforts for the Gospel of Christ and take the torch he held high, keeping it ablaze to point to our glorious SaviorA


1509 - 1564

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Born and raised in Texas, Emerald Zimny enjoys coffee, books, and spending time with loved ones. Her favorite breed of dog is a Corgi, and she loves listening to smooth jazz while learning a new word a day from the dictionary. Her heroes in the faith are Elisabeth Elliot, R.C. Sproul Sr., and John MacArthur.