Portal:Calvinism

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John Calvin

Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the Christian life. The Reformed tradition was advanced by several theologians such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Huldrych Zwingli, but this branch of Christianity bears the name of the French reformer John Calvin because of his prominent influence on it and because of his role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 16th century.

Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches of which Calvin was an early leader. Less commonly, it can refer to the individual teaching of Calvin himself. The particulars of Calvinist theology may be stated in a number of ways. Perhaps the best known summary is contained in the five points of Calvinism, though these points identify the Calvinist view on soteriology rather than summarizing the system as a whole. Broadly speaking, Calvinism stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things — in salvation but also in all of life. This concept is seen clearly in the doctrines of predestination and total depravity.

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A young John Calvin
John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism or Reformed theology. In Geneva, his ministry both attracted other Protestant refugees and over time made that city a major force in the spread of Reformed theology. He is renowned for his teachings and writings, in particular for his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Calvin's father was an attorney and in 1523 sent his fourteen-year-old son to the University of Paris to study humanities and law. His Protestant friends included Nicholas Cop, Rector at the University of Paris. In 1533 Cop gave an address "replete with Protestant ideas," and "Calvin was probably involved as the writer of that address." Calvin later settled for a time in Basel, where in 1536 he published the first edition of his Institutes. John Calvin died in Geneva on May 27, 1564. He was buried in the Cimetière des Rois under a tombstone marked simply with the initials "J.C.", partially honoring his request that he be buried in an unknown place, without witnesses or ceremony.

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"There is not one little blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make men rejoice."

-- John Calvin (Wikiquote), As quoted in The Value of Convenience: Genealogy of Technical Culture (1993) by Thomas F. Tierney, p. 128

"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'"

-- Abraham Kuyper (Wikiquote), As quoted in Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader, (1998) James D. Bratt, editor, p. 488

"I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed."

-- Matthew Henry (Wikiquote), As quoted in Preaching Today, by John Yates, tape #110

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