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Archive for the ‘John Calvin’ Category

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Calvin. Theodore Beza, his close friend and successor, describes his death as having come quietly as sleep, and then adds: “Thus withdrew into heaven, at the same time with the setting sun, that most brilliant luminary, which was the lamp of the Church. On the following night and day there was intense grief and lamentation in the whole city; for the Republic had lost its wisest citizen, the Church its faithful shepherd, and the Academy an incomparable teacher.”

Calvin had not only forbidden the erection of any monument over his grave, but also expressly forbade any pomp at his funeral. Philip Schaff says, “He wished to be buried, like Moses, out of reach of idolatry. This was consistent, with his theology, which humbles man and exalts God.”

A few years ago, I met a university student from Geneva. He said he was an agnostic and when I asked him if he had ever heard of John Calvin, he became visibly upset, “Calvin! Calvin! We will never get away from the influence of Calvin!” You know you’ve done something right when unbelievers get upset at the mention of your name 500 years after your death.

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