31 Days with John Calvin

Other than Jesus Christ, and Augustine of Hippo (importance in that order), no one has had a more profound and lasting effect on the development of western civilization than John Calvin (or Jean.  He was French).

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July 10, will be Calvin’s 500th Birthday.  There is even a big celebration to commemorate the event, you can check it out here.  There is also a short bio of Calvin on the site.

In honor of Calvin’s birthday, I have decided to post a small section from Calvin’s magnum opus, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, every day for the month of July.  Come August 1, I will return to the normal blogging schedule, which is posting when I think I have something of value to post.  That works out to be not very often.

As you read these “sound bytes” from the Institutes, keep in mind that Calvin is supremely concerned with ascribing to God all the glory and honor He is due.  Calvin had a high view of God as Sovereign and it is easy to see throughout his writings.

Here is the first quote.  It is taken from Volume 1 (it is a 2 volume work), Chapter 2 section1. 


Although our minds cannot conceive of God, without rendering some worship to Him, it will not, however, be sufficient to hold that He is the only being whom all ought to worship and adore, unless we are persuaded that He is the fountain of all goodness, and we must seek everything in Him, and in none but Him. John Calvin – Institutes 1.2.1


8 Responses

  1. The guy is French? I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him. You are quoting a French theologian! Are you sure about this? 🙂
    He does make sense. No one should worship any other. No not even Jean Calvin.

  2. Martyn, thanks. I will add your blog to my RSS feed to read your thoughts.

    Yes, Mark, I know. Calvin is in fact French, and as you well know, I am not a fan of France. I think that Calvin may be the only thing that France produced that I appreciate. Perhaps there is something else, but I can’t think of it.

    There is probably much you would like about Calvin’s theology. Remember that the 5 points were codified at Dort, many years after Calvin’s death. Much of what we call the Puritan work ethic comes from Calvin, as well as how many Christians view civil government, weather they know it or not, decends from Calvin’s writings on the subject.

  3. He spoke French, but wasn’t he from Switzerland? Therefore, Swiss not French. Anyway, France has a very rich history and many great people, inventions, and other great things came from France. They are just going through a hard time right now.

    • He was born in Noyon, France, thus is was French. here is a link to Noyon on a map. It is an hour north and a bit west of Paris.


      What else great came from France? I have never really had much intrest in French culture. I have always preferred Scottish, Irish, English, German, and Russian cultures.

  4. Also, I do not think that you adequately addressed Mark’s comment about Calvin worship.

    • It is a natural thing to celebrate certain historical events and people. Calvin is certainly a very important figure in the development of western civilization. He also lived in a time that still has huge implications for western culture.

      There are certainly things that I disagree with Calvin on. He believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. There are probably other things I would disagree with him on, but this comes to mind at the moment. However, if you were to sum up Calvin’s works into one primary idea, it would have to be that Calvin was first and foremost concerned with ascribing to God all the supremacy, glory and honor that He alone deserves.

      Ultimately, remembering Calvin, or any one else in church history, is an opportunity to thank God for that person, the gifts God granted them, and reflect on how God used them to further the advancing of the Kingdom, for without God doing all of this, what do we have that is worth celebrating? Of course this should only apply to those who have not taught something contrary to the Gospel. That would be heresy, and we should not look fondly upon heresy.

  5. I recently learned of Calvins strong influence on early American history and am anxious to learn more about John Clavin. Joanmary W.

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