Lesson Eighteen | Devotion #6: John Calvin
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor
Often when people think of John Calvin, they only speak of the TULIP. This is an acronym used to summarize five of his key theological (and maybe controversial) points: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints. Although you may not agree with him, he has had a huge affect on the church today.
Not much is written of his testimony, but Christianity Today records, “With his brother and sister and two friends, John Calvin fled Catholic France and headed to the free city of Strasbourg. It was the summer of 1536; Calvin had recently converted to the ‘evangelical’ faith and had just published The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which articulated his Protestant views. He was a wanted man.”
The Institutes of the Christian Religion was written as a basic guide to the Christian faith. Calvin described it, “The whole sum of godliness and whatever it is necessary to know about saving doctrine. I labored at the task especially for our own Frenchmen, for I saw that many were hungering and thirsting after Christ and yet that only a very few had any real knowledge of him.” His work is still read and respected today.
Calvin’s journey was unique. He started off studying for the priesthood, but then switched to the study of law. In studying to be a lawyer, his reading became quite diverse, and he was jolted by reading the Bible in its original languages.
Calvin’s final days were very active. Christianity Today reports, “Calvin drove himself beyond his body’s limits. When he could not walk the couple of hundred yards to church, he was carried in a chair to preach. When the doctor forbade him to go out in the winter air to the lecture room, he crowded the audience into his bedroom and gave lectures there. To those who would urge him to rest, he asked, ‘What? Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes?’” Calvin made a huge impact for the Lord right up to his death.
John Calvin made other noteworthy statements:
“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”
“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”
“I gave up all for Christ, and what have I found? Everything in Christ.”