John Calvin - Mentor and Friend

'As the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads. Let this, then, be the first step, to abandon ourselves, and devote the whole energy of our minds to the service of God. By service, I mean not only that which consists in verbal obedience, but that by which the mind, divested of its own carnal feelings, implicitly obeys the call of the Spirit of God.'
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.7.1

'I call 'piety' that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him - they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless the establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.'
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.2.1

'It is enough that I live and die for Christ, who is to all his followers a gain both in life and death.'
- John Calvin in a letter to Guillaume Farel on May 2nd, 1564 only a few weeks before his death

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.

- John Calvin, I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art, c.1545,The Genevan Psalter

In less than two weeks, on July 10, 2009, the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin will be celebrated. I am one who will celebrate by thanking God for the gift of the man, John Calvin. He has been a spiritual mentor to me. Over the years I have gleaned from his pastoral wisdom, learned from his exegetical insight, been warmed by his passion for Christ, and been astounded by his grasp of all things theological. He was an astounding gift to the church. His caricatures have not been fair. He has been maligned and despised in some quarters, but often these mis-judgements have been made by those who haven't taken the time to get to know him. If you'd like a sample of John Calvin may I suggest The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life found here,http://www.monergismbooks.com/Golden-Booklet-of-the-True-Christian-Life-p-18184.html. This classic will introduce you to the man and his devotion to Christ. If you've never read it I don't think I can commend it highly enough. As Protestants we owe an incredible debt to this man. As a Christian and as a pastor I owe an incredible debt to this man.

I am grateful to God for the men and women who have gone before us and upon whose shoulders we stand upon. I consider John Calvin a dear friend and mentor I've never met.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks be to God for such beloved men who were so dedicated to the Lord and the Gospel. Gotta love Calvin. Jan Butz