500 Years On - Why John Calvin Still Matters
July 10, 2009 marks 500 years since the birth of John Calvin in Noyon, France. Dr. Robert Godfrey in an article "Calvin: Why He Still Matters" writes:
There can be no serious doubt that Calvin once mattered. Any honest historian of any point of view and of any religious conviction would agree that Calvin was one of the most important people in the history of western civilization. Not only was he a significant pastor and theologian in the sixteenth century, but the movement of which he was the principal leader led to the building of Reformed and Presbyterian churches with millions of members spread through centuries around the world. Certainly a man whose leadership, theology, and convictions can spark such a movement once mattered.
Historians from a wide range of points of view also acknowledge that Calvin not only mattered in the religious sphere and in the ecclesiastical sphere, but Calvin and Calvinism had an impact on a number of modern phenomena that we take for granted. Calvin is certainly associated with the rise of modern education and the conviction that citizens ought to be educated and that all people ought to be able to read the Bible. Such education was a fruit of the Reformation and Calvin.
Later in the article, concerning Calvin's insights into Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, Godfrey states:
Calvin is the first in the history of the church to develop the work of Christ in terms of those three offices. Martin Bucer had talked about it but had never developed it. Calvin is the pioneer here. What has Christ done for us? He has been our prophetâ€”he has told us the truth, the full truth of Godâ€™s saving plan. What has Christ done for us? He has been our priestâ€”he has offered himself as a sacrifice in our place to cover our sin, that we might belong to him. What has Christ done for us? He has been our kingâ€”he has promised us an eternal kingdom that will never pass away and never be shaken into which he will take us by his power. He has also promised us right now that we are citizens of that kingdom. Right now we enjoy his kingship and his care for us. That is his promise to us.
Read more here. - JS