There are many people in history who have made a very big impact on their
culture, times, and or religion. John Calvin was by far one of these few great people. He
had such a big influence in the time which he lived from 1509 to 1564. John Calvin
devoted almost his whole life to the promoting of Protestantism and made such a
difference that his impact is still seen today in Christianity.
Calvin was born in France and was the second son in his family of five brothers.
He grew and then decided to go to the famous University of Paris to study to be a priest.
His father then had a conflict with the bishop who employed him so he then turned to the
study of law. While he was studying in Paris he came across the writings of Martin
Luther. His cousin then introduced him to the ideas of reformation. Protestantism began
gathering momentum all over Europe. Then by 1533 Calvin began getting involved with
the movement. That year Calvin had his salvation experience. He wrote about it later and
stated, "God subdued and brought my heart to surrender. It was more hardened against
such matters than was to be expected in such a young man." Calvin then knew to full fill
his place with God he would have to turn away from the Roman Catholic church, so that
is exactly what he did.
His first attempt was November first that year. He gave a speech just like Martin
Luther's, attacking the church and demanding a reform. He figured that if he spoke to
the people and educated them on Protestantism then they would be ready to make
changes in the Roman Catholic church. It did not turn out his way at all. This resulted in
anti-Protestant protests all over Paris, forcing him to flee for his own safety. He roamed
from place to place and then ended up in Basle, Switzerland. This is where he started his
writing. You see John Calvin was considered a quiet, timid natured man. The kind of
man who would never fight in disputes. In his time there he really got to do the things he
wanted to accomplish out of life. These were to study and learn about God and his holy
After this he went to Geneva after getting kicked out for his teachings he got
invited back to help turn the city around spiritually. He never held a political office in
Geneva but he ruled with strictness and sin was punished. He had laws passed to promote
Christian behaviour. Persecuted Protestants fled from all over Europe to reside here.
One last thing Calvin is known for is his theology. This is put together in a
Calvinism. The ideas of the Calvin doctrine are men are completely unable to save
themselves with their own works. Salvation is a matter of God's choosing those who will
be saved, and that God chooses without any consideration of a man's good works. If
someone is chosen of God, there was no way they could ever reject Christ or fail to
endure to the end of their Christian life. Finally, he taught that Jesus died only for the
people who God chose. This is called limited atonement and is one of Calvin's most
controversial doctrines in Calvinism.
As you can see John Calvin was truly a great man. Through his writings,
speeches, and Calvinism he really reached his goal in life to learn about God and his holy
word. John Calvin devoted almost his whole life to the promoting of Protestantism and
made such a difference that his impact is still seen today in Christianity.