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      John Calvin was a famous social reformer, he was also a pastor and theologian. The famous religious reformer Martin Luther and He is most prominently known for the Protestant Reformation along with Huldrich Zwingli (1484–1531). Calvin synthesized the differing views of Protestant denominations in his Institutions of Christianity, which is considered one of the most important works of Protestant theology.


John Calvin

     Calvin is recognized as one of the most influential reformers because the institutions of Christianity organized the Protestant vision on the beliefs of the various denominations established by Luther, Zwingli, and others. After Zwingli’s death in 1531, Heinrich Büllinger (1504–1575) took over as leader of the Reformed Church and acted as a kind of bridge between Zwingli’s movement and Calvin, while at the same time, Calvin was directly Luther. and was influenced by Philip. Melanchthon (1497-1560) as well as the reformers Guillaume Farrell (William Farrell, 1489-1565) and Martin Busser (1491-1551). The result was a comprehensive vision of the early manifestations of Protestant Christianity explicitly synthesized by Calvin and clarified by his own theology.

     Although Calvin is better known today, Bullinger was actually more popular and influential in his time and contributed many concepts associated with Calvin’s later work, including covenant theology, while the concept of predestination, which Calvin was also closely related to, first suggested by Luther. , Nevertheless, it was Calvin who eventually became most influential to the point where Protestants were often referred to as Calvinists. Calvinists from England became separatists who objected to the Anglican Church and brought Calvinism across the Atlantic Ocean, founding the Plymouth Colony in 1621. Later, Calvinism became the dominant Christian doctrine of New England in North America and continued to exert significant influence in the early days. years of the United States and even into the present day.

Early life, education, and conversion

        Calvin was born on 10 July 1509 in Noyon, Picardy in the Kingdom of France and was given the name Jahan Couvin. His father, Gerard Covin, was a notary in the church’s court and his mother, Jean Le Franck, died sometime before Calvin was twelve years old. He had at least three brothers, all of whom Gerard encouraged to study for the priesthood. When he was 12, Calvin was awarded a benefit (stipend) to study in Paris (as did his older brother) and by enrolling at the Collge de Monteigue to study philosophy. Learned Latin first.

          “Calvin obtained his law license in 1532, but then began to lose interest in law and became increasingly attracted to theology.”

        In 1525 AD, Gerard had a dispute with the cathedral in Noyon over some issue, and he discouraged Calvin from further ecclesiastical studies, enrolling him as a law student at the University of Orleans. During his studies, he was introduced to the concepts of the humanist theologian, scholar, and philosopher Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536), as well as to other humanist thinkers and writers, including the jurist Andrea Alciato (1492–1550) founder of the French legal humanist school . ,

     Humanism emphasized the rights and responsibilities of the individual and focused on the present, in contrast to the teachings of the Church, which emphasized the divine and the afterlife. Although Erasmus always remained a member of the Catholic Church, he encouraged a humanistic approach, which included immersion in the classics of Greek and Roman literature. Calvin obtained his law license in 1532, but then began to lose interest in law and became increasingly attracted to theology, moving to Paris to continue his study of Latin, Greek and classical works. He seems to have applied humanistic concepts to the teachings of the Church and, possibly, this caused the spiritual crisis he later said he experienced prior to his conversion to Protestant beliefs. Scholar Mack P. Holt Comments:

         “Sometimes [in 1533] Calvin experienced a conversion to the Reformation and left the Catholic Church. The details of his conversion are sparse, as Calvin only commented on it very briefly after the event. At the same time, he abandoned any idea of ​​practicing law for the rest of his life and turned to theology, though not the scholastic theology of the medieval Church. (Rublack, 217)”

 Although Holt gives the year as 1533, it may have been 1530 or earlier. Luther’s teachings were translated and reached Paris by 1521, when he was denounced as a heretic, and his books were burned. Calvin may have read Luther earlier at this time, but this is not clear. Calvin chose to focus his written works almost entirely on Christianity, without providing biographical information.

       He appears to have experienced an existential crisis, during which he questioned the value of everything he had done up to that point in his life, as well as the truthfulness of the Church’s vision. In 1533, Calvin’s close friend Nicolas Cope (1501–1540) gave an inaugural speech at the University of Paris advocating for the Reformation and was accused of the heresy of Lutheranism. It seems that Calvin was also implicated and fled to Basel, Switzerland to escape persecution.

Strasbourg and Geneva

     Luther’s central argument was that only scripture was the source of truth and that a person was justified only by belief in God, not by actions, nor by following the teachings of the Catholic Church. Calvin responded to this message by writing the first edition of the Institute of Christianity in Basel (he would revise the work several times throughout his life), which expanded on Luther’s vision while also refuting many of his claims. He published the work in 1536 before moving to Italy and then returning to France to find pro-Catholic forces dominating the spiritual landscape and Protestant teachings were unwanted.

     He left Paris for Strasbourg, but left for Geneva, where he planned to stay only one night. The French reformer Guillaume Farrell, who was trying to advance reform in the city, convinced him that God had called him there to help with the work, and Calvin agreed to stay. Holt writes:

           Although Calvin was entirely self-taught in theology and had no formal ecclesiastical training of any kind, Ferrell appointed him as a “lecturer in Scripture” in Geneva. To be fair, Calvin’s humanistic education, as well as his biblical studies in Paris, gave him a pretty solid foundation for his theological views. And there is no doubt that both Farrell and Busser, their great mentors, considered the young Calvin their superior in their knowledge of Scripture. (Rublack, 217)

       Farrell and Calvin made great progress at first in Geneva, but their insistence on having things their own way without compromise resulted in the city council asking them to leave the city in 1538. The reformer Martin Busser invited him to come and preach in Strasbourg. , where he became pastor of a church of French Protestant refugees. In Strasbourg, he revised the institutions of Christianity, expanding it from chapters 6 to 17, wrote his first biblical commentary on the Book of Romans (he would eventually write on almost every book of the Bible), and two sermons every Sunday. Giving lectures every time in the academy.

Marital life of John Calvin

       In 1540, he married the widow Idélet de Bur (l. 1500–1549), by whom he had two children from a previous marriage. Idlet supported Calvin’s ministry, and their marriage was a happy one. Calvin’s time in Strasbourg was an important period in shaping his ideas as he was directly influenced by Booker on how Christianity should be practiced rather than emphasizing the details of theology. Rather than abstract, Busser focused on the practical application of the teachings of Jesus Christ to people’s daily lives. In Calvin’s works Bueser’s emphasis on the ‘improvement of ordinary people’ is clearly seen, as is the influence of Bullinger with whom Calvin began to correspond.

       In 1541, Geneva sent the message that it would like to bring back Calvin as the pace of the Reformation accelerated and church attendance dwindled. Calvin refused, but after being promised, it was only a temporary six-month reappointment, returned to Geneva with his wife and family. Idelet died of an illness in 1549, and Calvin never remarried. He would remain in Geneva for the rest of his life, publishing his major commentaries, revising institutions, becoming known as a defender of Christianity, and developing a full-fledged theology known as Calvinism.

The Five Points of Calvinism (Tulip)

      Calvin claimed that God is the source and meaning of one’s life because one did not exist solely from nothingness, and therefore, in recognizing God as the source of one’s existence, one found true purpose. God had provided people with the means to know this truth, and there was no need for arbitral measures of the Catholic Church as only one needed Scripture and personal belief to communicate directly with God. In chapter 1.1 of Institutions, he writes:

 Our intelligence, so far as it is to be understood as true and solid intelligence, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and ourselves. But since these are linked together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two gives rise to the other from the first. Because, first of all, no man can survey himself without turning his thoughts to the God in which he lives and walks; Because it is quite clear that the charity we have cannot possibly come from ourselves; No, that our existence is nothing but subsistence in God. In the second place, the blessings that take us eternally away from heaven are like the currents that lead us to the spring. Here, again, the eternity of goodness that resides in God becomes more apparent than our poverty. In particular, the pitiful devastation that First Man’s rebellion has plunged us into forces us to turn our eyes upward; Not only that, when hungry and hungry we can ask what we want, but can learn humility by being agitated by fear… God, none other than He, the true light of wisdom, concrete virtues, exuberant goodness lives in. Accordingly we are moved by our own bad things to consider the good things of God; And, really, we can’t really aspire for it until we’re displeased with ourselves.

      In this and other passages, Calvin may suggest that all people are able to recognize their sinful nature and turn to God in repentance to secure salvation, but in reality, he only believed that repentance by God. Those called to do were chosen by him to be done. Rescued. In the modern era the Five Points of Calvinism has been popularized by the abbreviation Tulip, which means:

  1.         Total Depravity
  2.         Unconditional Election
  3.         Limited Atonement -Limited Atonement
  4.         Irresistible Grace -Irresistible Grace
  5.         Perseverance of the Saints

      It should be noted that Calvin himself never used the tulip, a modern mnemonic device, but the concepts stem from Calvin and inform Calvinist teachings. Absolute corruption emphasizes the inherent sinfulness of humans who are unable to turn to God Himself, because after Adam and Eve fell from grace in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and a person controls every aspect of life.

      Unconditional choice states that only those chosen by God can be saved because all humanity is spiritually dead in sin and can only be awakened to life by the will of God, not their own will. From. A person is predestined by God for either salvation or destruction, and nothing can be done to change him. When this happens, limited atonement means that not all will be saved, only those chosen by God, and irresistible grace refers to the power of the Holy Spirit, which shines a light on the chosen ones so powerfully that their Have no choice but to hug. A relationship with God.

The perseverance of the saints actually refers to the perseverance of God, not the chosen ones, to sustain the saved. Once one is called by God, one cannot lose his salvation, no matter how he behaves, because it is not the individual soul working in a person that brings them salvation, but a The gift that God has chosen to give, which He cannot revoke. ,

Libertines and Cervantes

     This gift created an agreement between humanity and God—a covenant—that people were bound to honor, a concept known as covenant theology, first developed by Bullinger. Since there was nothing one could do to earn salvation, one could live a life of gratitude for that gift through one’s actions. What he did or did had nothing to do with his salvation; One’s actions were simply the way in which one respected God’s gift, and by living a godly life, one declared one’s salvation, even though one could not know whether he had actually been saved. .

          “Calvin’s claim that salvation cannot be lost gave rise to the movement he called freedom.”

 However, not everyone understood the perseverance of the saints in the same way. Calvin’s claim that salvation cannot be lost gave rise to the movement he called freedom. The movement was led by the city’s upper-class, powerful, citizens, who claimed that, since they were saved by God’s grace, they could do whatever they wanted without fear of civil or ecclesiastical consequences. When Calvin condemned him, he accused her of false teaching, and when he tendered his resignation, he declined because he felt they could better control him in his current situation, and his He lacked the support to expel him from the city. Calvin struggled for some time with independent opposition on political and ecclesiastical issues until an unexpected event united them.

     Calvin reversed his fate through the persecution of the Spanish polymath Michael Cervatus (1509–1553), a scholar who was associated with Calvin and who severely criticized the institutions of Christianity to Calvin’s annoyance. Cervatus was condemned in France as a heretic for denying the Christian Trinity and rejecting infant baptism and fled to Italy when he stopped in Geneva to visit Calvin. He is arrested and imprisoned, and later, Freedom and Calvin join forces to condemn him. In October 1553, Sevetus was burned at the stake in Geneva.

     In the case of Cervatus Calvin’s part earned him the status of ‘Defender of the Faith’ and more support from the city council. When several candidates from Calvin’s faction won election to the council in 1555, the libertarians lost their political power. After staging a resistance, which the civilian authorities interpreted as an attempted coup, he was condemned and banished. Calvin supported the proposal to execute anyone living in Geneva, and later, he became the undisputed authority on ecclesiastical matters, which affected civil matters at the time. From 1555 until his death in 1564, Calvin was the most powerful political and religious figure in Geneva and the most famous of all the early reformers.


     Calvin died of an illness on 27 May 1564 at the age of 54. In keeping with his last wish, he was buried in an unmarked grave to prevent any of his followers from making his grave a place of pilgrimage because Calvin felt it would encourage idolatry. , After his death, his works – already translated into the vernacular of many other countries – spread further and became more popular. When he lived, Bullinger’s works were more popular in England, but this changed now, as Calvin’s vision, due to Luther, Melanchthon, Bullinger, Busser, and others, came to be regarded as the fullest expression of the Protestant vision.

       From Geneva, Calvinism spread to the Netherlands, France, England, Italy and Scotland, where it was championed and further developed by John Knox (1514–1572). In England, Calvinists advocated the use of the Geneva Bible, which was published in Geneva in 1560 under Calvin’s authority. After Calvin’s death, leadership went to the French theologian and scholar Théodore Beza (1519–1605), who, among other aspects of Calvinism, maintained Calvin’s claim that the Geneva Bible was the most accurate translation. Since the work was completed and approved under Calvin’s authority, it naturally supported his theology. The belief in Calvinism and the Geneva Bible as the true expression of Christianity encouraged religious discontent among England’s Puritans and separatists even before the Geneva Bible was translated into English in 1576.

     Dissenters rejected the doctrines of the Anglican Church and the King James Bible of 1611, claiming that, like the Catholic Church, these were human endeavors that separated a believer from direct communication with God. The Separatists would eventually take the Geneva Bible with them to North America in 1621, establishing the Plymouth Colony, and opening the land to further immigration by other Puritans and Separatists, who also followed Calvin’s theology. From 1621 to c. 1700, Calvinism was the standard by which ‘true Christianity’ was measured in the so-called New World, and even denominations rejecting Calvinist doctrine continued to be influenced by their vision, as they were in the modern world. are in their acceptance or rejection in the era. of Calvinist theories.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Question- Who was John Calvin?

Answer- John Calvin (l. 1509-1564) was a Protestant theologian who systematized the Protestant vision and established its principles.

Question: Why is John Calvin important?

  ANS-John Calvin is important because he took the beliefs of various Protestant denominations and harmonized them in his most famous work, The Institute of Christian Religion.

 Question- What is a tulip in Calvinism?

Ans- The tulip is a modern-day concise and memorable device of the Five Points of Calvinism. It means total corruption, unconditional choice, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints.

Question- Was John Calvin ever married?

Ans- John Calvin was married to the widow Idélet de Bur (1500–1549), who had two children from his first marriage. He was broken by her death and never remarried.

Question- How did John Calvin die?

Answer- John Calvin died of illness in 1564 at the age of 54.

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