John Calvin

Theologian, Founding Figure

1509 – 1564

54

Who was John Calvin?

John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions provoked a violent uprising against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he published the first edition of his seminal work The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536.

In that year, Calvin was recruited by William Farel to help reform the church in Geneva. The city council resisted the implementation of Calvin's and Farel's ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and was eventually invited back to lead its church.

Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite the opposition of several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard known for his heretical views, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and executed by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin's opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe.

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Born
Jul 10, 1509
Noyon
Parents
Spouses
Religion
  • Protestantism
  • Continental Reformed church
Nationality
  • France
Profession
Education
  • Collège de Montaigu
  • University of Orléans
  • University of Paris
  • University of Bourges
    (1529 - )
Lived in
  • Picardy
Died
May 27, 1564
Geneva
Resting place
Cimetière des Rois

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"John Calvin." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 9 Aug. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/john_calvin>.

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