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Calvin John Biography Essay, Research Paper

CALVIN JOHN (1509-64).

When John Calvin was a boy in France, Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Two decades later Calvin became the second of the great 16th-century reformers. His work and teachings had a profound impact on the development of Christianity. John Calvin was born in a upper middle class family in Noyon, France, on July 10, 1509. His father, Gerard, was procurator-fiscal of the Noyon district and secretary of the diocese.

In his youth Calvin studied in Paris for the priesthood. As Luther’s ideas spread in France, Calvin grew unsettled in his religious convictions and turned to law. When he was about 22, he experienced a “conversion”: he felt divinely called to forsake the Roman Catholic church for a simpler form of Christianity. His ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’ (1536) became a rallying point for Protestants all over Europe.

Calvin was soon forced to flee France. In 1536 he took up residence in Geneva, Switzerland. Under the iron will of Calvin, Geneva became a “city of God.” In the social life of the community, Calvin enforced the ideals of purity, simplicity, and devout religious faith. He was consulted in all civic as well as religious matters. Calvin made Geneva one of the most influential cities in Europe. Calvin’s later treatises included ‘Instruction in Faith’ (1537), ‘Commentary on Romans’ (1539), ‘Psychopannychia’ (1542), and ‘Short Treatise on the Lord’s Supper’ (1545). He died in Geneva on May 27, 1564.

One of Calvin s master work was the Institute of the Christian, which he revised at least five times. Calvin’s teachings are the basis of the Presbyterian and Reformed churches. They spread among the Huguenots of France, the Protestants of the Netherlands and Scotland, and the Puritans of England. The English Calvinists, unable to practice their religion at home, came to the New World in the 17th century. They laid the foundation for Calvinism in the United States.

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