I’d be remiss not to mention that today marks the 500th anniversary of Reformer John Calvin’s birthday. He has contributed much not only to theology, but also to government.
As Bob Hayton mentions in his post today:
His work in Geneva has an abiding relevance and lasting influence down to today in both the church and the state. Two hundred years before Montesquieu’s doctrine of the “separation of powers” (which was later adopted by our US Constitution), Geneva adopted political reforms operating on the same principle. In fact several historians have argued that Calvin is in large part responsible for the democratic experiment that is the United States of America.
John Samson at Reformation Theology in discussing Calvin’s legacy shares that Calvin would not be happy with how his name is tied to Reformation doctrine:
Its actually unfortunate that a man’s name is associated with the doctrines that came out of the Protestant Reformation. It is not something he would have wanted. He spoke and wrote very little about himself. He wanted his readers to be pointed to Christ, not to himself. In character, he specifically asked that he would be buried in an unmarked grave, such was his aversion to public interest. He did not wish for attention to be given to him – but to his Lord and Master.
Marvin Olasky at World challenges the notion that Calvin was mean-spirited as some would claim.
Calvin was a fallen sinner, as all of us are, but was he especially mean-spirited? He taught that God created the world out of love and loved the world so much that Christ came down from the glorious kingdom of heaven and plunged into this world’s muck. Calvin saw God as a generous giver and His mercy as an abundant resource. Jehovah’s Witnesses would later insist that heaven has room for only 144,000, but Calvin understood that God’s grace is infinite.
Puritan Lad reminds us that as much as some agree (or disagree) with Calvinism, we are not justified by it. Even at 500 John Calvin still holds relevance in social and theological thought, he still very much matters (HT: Rob Harrison).
Be sure to check out what people are sharing on Twitter today. Also, if you’ve never read it, you really should read his classic work Institutes of the Christian Religion. I’d also like to commend to you Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s outline of the Institutes.