John Calvin’s Impact on History

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“The Reformation started in 1517 in Germany when Martin Luther, who was a monk there, published the 95 Theses. The 95 Thesis contained all of Luther’s opinions and questions about faith in hope to bring change to the Catholic Church. He was later excommunicated, but because he was so outspoken about his opinions, the Reformation started and spread. The Reformation became the basis founding of one of the three major branches of Christianity called Protestantism. John Calvin was one of the leading figures of Protestantism during the Reformation and helped spread the doctrine of the religion.

John Calvin was born in 1509 in Paris, France. Calvin originally went to school to study to be priest, but his father later decided that he should become a lawyer. While he studied at the University of Orleans, he was exposed to Renaissance Humanism. He read God’s scripture and was dramatically changed. He started a life devoted to God and left his school studies behind. He wanted to start studying the Scriptures of God and learned Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Those were the three main languages of ancient Christian discourse and he would need to know them to study the Scriptures. He then left for Geneva where he preached the word of God. He would preach on average of 10 times a week. He would preach on different scriptures by explaining them and relating them to the audience’s lives. In 1583, Calvin was expelled from Geneva due to his uncompromising attitude. He then took refuge in a German Protestant city called Strasbourg. There he was the pastor for French speaking refugees. While he was in the City he met and married his wife. They had children, but none of them survived the early stages of their lives. Calvin attended many religious conferences that got him interacting with many Roman Catholic theologians. This helped him become one of the biggest figures in Protestantism.

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Hearing of his reputation, John Calvin was invited to come back to Geneva in 1541. The Protestant Revolution there had grown very weak without strong leaders. The town council appointed Calvin to teach religion to the townspeople, especially children. He continued to study the Scriptures like the Old and New Testament in the Bible. Calvin also established the Genevan Academy, an academy where students were prepared and trained to be part of the ministry. He also preached, regularly did baptisms and weddings, and gave spiritual advice. Calvin died when he was 54 in 1564 due to the stress and burden of his work as well as Tuberculosis.

At first in 1553, being a Calvinist meant that you were a protestant who was willing to burn other non Catholic Christians. Because of how big of an impact Calvin made with his teachings, Calvinism became its own religion. Calvinism was a religion that was based on stressing how great God’s power was and how people were morally weak. Starting in Switzerland, Calvinism spread quickly into most parts of Europe after Calvin died. There were 5 main points of Calvinism that Calvinists believed. The first one is Total Depravity. This asserts that every person is enslaved to sin and by nature, people are inclined to reject the rule of God and to serve their own interests. The second point is Unconditional Election. This asserts that God doesn’t choose who can share eternal life with him by judging people on their faith and virtue, but by his grounded mercy alone. The third point is Limited Atonement. This stated that Jesus’ missionary was definite and certain and held its purpose. The fourth point is Irresistible Grace. This asserts that God’s saving grace is effectively applied to those whom he chooses to save. The last point was Perseverance of the Saints. This asserted that God’s will will not be frustrated and those who God calls to a communion with him will continue in faith forever.

John Calvin had a huge impact on culture and religion and changed the way people saw faith. No matter how hard things got for him, he would always stay strong in his faith and continue to spread God’s word. Because of John Calvin, churches were heavily impacted by Calvinism and many share the same doctrines. He helped shape what we know as our morals today.”

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John Calvin's Impact on History. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from