My pastor is working on a PhD on Calvin. One time he heard about a Calvin conference going on just a couple of hours away, so he signed up. He was excited to hear about new developments in Calvin studies, probably learn some things he didn’t know that would help with his research. Instead, the big items of discussion were things like petitioning the government for a John Calvin postage stamp. He left early. He told us “I felt like I was at a Star Wars convention or something.”
That’s the wrong way to honor somebody like Calvin. The right way is to be thankful for how he served God, and to continue to learn from him. Calvin was one of the most brilliant minds in church history, uniquely used of God to strip away a lot of the unbiblical baggage the church had accumulated by the Middle Ages. Whether you’re a Presbyterian or a Methodist or a Pentecostal or whatever, it’s unlikely you would have heard the gospel, the real gospel, if it weren’t for Calvin.
Today is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. I’m putting some links below to stuff I’ve done before, stuff people are posting today that I run across, and some places for general info on him. The point is not to say “Calvin is great,” but to say “Thank you, God, for servants like Calvin who help us understand your Word better.”
Earlier posts here on Calvin:
- Reading plan for Institutes of the Christian Religion.
- Calvin on how we’re easily led away from the things of God.
- Calvin on Patience.
- On Calvin getting a bad rap.
Posts from elsewhere:
- Kevin DeYoung: Calvin shows us how to be relevant 500 years later. (Via JT)
- Abraham Piper at the DG Blog: Celebrating Calvin for Christ.
- Calvin’s Wikipedia bio, which isn’t perfect but isn’t bad at all.
- Dr. Frank James: The Calvin I Never Knew, a great lecture. (Opens in iTunes.)
- Also from Frank James: Calvin the Evangelist. Blows up some stereotypes. Calvin sent out a lot more missionaries than the guys who say that Calvinism kills missions.
- Piper’s biographical talk on Calvin.
- My friend James-Michael, who’s not a Calvinist, has a good summary of his contributions and also of the “five points of Calvinism:” Happy Birthday John Calvin – from a non-Calvinist. (Did you know that Calvin basically invented the modern commentary?)