John Calvin

[John Calvin]
Profile

The first to give Protestantism a system of theology. He was never an ardent Catholic, though he became a cleric and by family influence obtained a benefice. He became curé of Saint Martin de Marteville in 1527 and of Pont l’Evêque in 1529. In 1528 he was a law student at Orleans, France, then went to Bourges, France (where in 1529 occurred his conversion) and in 1531 to Paris, France. He gave up his benefice at Noyon in 1534. Calvin published the Institutes in 1536, in Latin; a French translation appeared in 1541. It is an exposition of his theological belief, including his doctrine of predestination, and was the first definite and systematic formulation of Protestantism. He next taught theology at Geneva, Switzerland, and gained influence there, his children‘s catechism appearing at this time. Exiled from Geneva in 1538, Calvin went to Strasbourg to preach. Returning to Geneva in 1541, he instituted an intolerant regime of discipline, administered despotically by the clergy. Castellio and Bolsec opposed his extreme views, and were banished. Servetus entered into controversy with Calvin, and published his Restitutio in 1553, whereupon he was imprisoned at Vienne, France, but he escaped and went to Geneva, where he was arrested and burned at the stake for his doctrinal views. Gentile was also condemned for his Unitarianism, and beheaded. Calvin was untiring in preaching and controversy. He founded the University of Geneva, and made the city the Rome of Protestantism.

Born

Died