John Calvin, His Friends, and A Quick Lesson for the Theologians

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

This winter break I am, once again, devoting a good bit of time to reading works by John Calvin, as well as a number of biographical works and books that deal with aspects of his theology.  This morning I finished working through Theodore Beza’s The Life of John Calvin, completed in August of 1564.  Beza, one of Calvin’s companions and co-laborers has written an excellent first-hand account of Calvin’s life and ministry.

As I have contemplated the life of this theological giant, one of the glaring realities of Calvin’s life was that he invested in people.  The number of close friends that Calvin spent time with, the letters that he wrote to encourage dignitaries, pastors, and church members, is itself testimony to the value this man placed on ministering to real people.  This can get lost in many’s perception of Calvin as they focus solely upon his academic undertakings.  Even the academic was meant to protect the gospel, the Christian, and point them towards God and faithful living for the glory of King Jesus.

Men like Pierre Viret, William Farel, and Theodore Beza bear testimony of Calvin’s love for the saints.  Up until his dying breath the pastors and city council members in Geneva were not far from Calvin’s heart, thoughts, and exhortations.  John Calvin may have been the leading theologian of the reformation, and one of the greatest of all time, but he was not a man stuck in the ivory tower of speculative theology.  He was a man who took his studies and used what he learned to rebuke the sinner, encourage the fainthearted, slay the heretic, and protect the sheep for the glory of God.

My prayer is that I learn from this aspect of Calvin’s life.  I love to read, study, and think.  At times, I do this to the neglect of those around me.  I can fail to remember that my intellectual labors should be done first so that I know God and His Word better and secondly that I can help others do the same.  If I miss this point, I miss my calling.  When it comes to thinking deeply and investing in people, I hope to imitate John Calvin.



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