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Executive Committee

David W. Hall, PhD
Matthew Burton, CFA
Amb. Faith Whittlesey
Dianne Matthews
Nick Willborn, PhD
Eric Klein

Presidential Council

Peter Lillback, PhD
Bryan Chapell, PhD
Joseph Pipa, PhD
Jerry O’Neill, D.D.
Ric Cannada, DMin
Cornel Venema, PhD
Timothy Russell, PhD
Marvin Padgett
Michael Milton, PhD
David W. Hall, PhD
Matthew Burton, CFA
W. Robert Godfrey, PhD
Richard Burnett, PhD
Michael Horton, PhD
Brandon Vallorani

Tour Advisory Board

Timothy Russell, PhD (co-Chairman)
David Wicker (co-Chairman)
Joel Belz,Litt.D
William Edgar, PhD
L. Roy Taylor, DMin
Dianne Matthews

Conference Speakers

Joel Beeke
Henri Blocher
Richard Burnett
Bryan Chapell
Iain D. Campbell
R. Scott Clark
Ted Donnelly
Ligon Duncan
William Edgar
Sinclair Ferguson
Richard Gamble
Robert Godfrey
Darryl Hart
Michael Haykin
Martin Holdt
Michael S. Horton
Terry L. Johnson
Hywel R. Jones
Douglas Kelly
Robert Kingdon
Anthony Lane
Steven Lawson
Peter Lillback
William McComish
Bruce McCormack
James McGoldrick
Andrew McGowan
Hughes Old
Rt. Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
Philip Ryken
Herman Selderhuis
Derek Thomas
Geoffrey Thomas
Carl Trueman
John Witte, Jr.

Sponsors

Westminster Theo. Sem.
Reformed Pres. Theo. Sem.
Greenville Presbyterian Sem.
Covenant Theological Sem.
Reformed Theological Sem.
Mid-America Ref. Theo. Sem.
Midway Presbyterian Church
Invisible Hand Foundation
American Swiss Foundation
Presbyterian & Reformed Pub.
Memphis Ctr for Urban Theo. Studies
Westminster Seminary California
Modern Reformation
Tolle Lege Press
Erskine Theological Seminary

 

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The Official Site of the 2009
Quincentenary of John Calvin



 


Past Theological Publications

Below are past articles or contributions made in previous commemorations of John Calvin.

PAST MEMORIALS

· In 1735, for the 200th anniversary of the Reformation @ Geneva, see:

Click here for the link

BICENTENARY OF THE REFORMATION

CELEBRATED AT GENEVA

DASSIER, Jean: Swiss, 1735, Bronze, 55 mm
Obv: Geneva wearing a crown, is discarding a yoke and shackles and a shield bearing the arms of Geneva. Her arms are outstretched in adoration of Religion who is sitting on a cloud reading the Bible VERITAS LIBERAVIT VOS (The Truth Freed You)
Exergue: IUBILEMUS DOMINO (Let Us Rejoice in the Lord)
Rev: Aerial view of Geneva and harbor, city and hills in the background and barges on the lake. The sun bearing IHS with rays and clouds above POST TENEBRAS LUX
(After the Darkness, the Light)
Exergue: CELEBRATA ANNO GENEVAE REFORMATAE CENTESIMO M.DCC.XXXV (Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Reformation in Geneva 1735)
Signed: J. DASSIER
Edge: THEOPHILE COUTEAU (in script)
From Jean Dassier's Geneva Series
Ref: Forrer I, p. 515 (illustrated); Thompson 46/02; Haller II, 1912; Wunderly 3103; Whiting Collection 63/477; Europese Penningen # 1855

The Reformation was a movement to reform the Roman Catholic church. It was prompted by discontent with the church, its clergy, doctrine and practices. The reformation was a revolt not only against the doctrinal authority of the church, it was also a protest against the interference of the church in secular matters and the questionable activities of the clergy, notably the sale of indulgences and holy relics. The start of the Reformation is traditionally dated from 1517, when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses. Other powerful reformers appeared in Switzerland, including Ulrich Zwingli in Zurich and, later, the more radical Frenchman John Calvin in Geneva. This medal commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Reformation in Geneva. (From Encyl. World Hist).

· 1759 (250th of JC’s birth)

· 1764 (200th of JC’s death)

· 1809 (300th of JC’s birth)

· 1859 (350th of JC’s birth)

Note: no publishings in the Southern Presbyterian Review (major southern organ) between 1858-1866; of course, many of those years were preoccupied with war. Correspondingly, no northern Presbyterian observance in the same period. Between 1845-1887, a few articles were devoted to Calvin (Adger and Graham)

No articles in BRPR in 1859

· In 1864, (300th of JC’s death) Charles H. Spurgeon noted:

    The months of June and July, 1860 were given to a Continental tour; Mr. Spurgeon's first holiday in seven years. Belgium, the minor German states, and Switzerland were visited. The chief interest lies in his visit to Geneva, where he preached twice in Calvin's pulpit. "The first time I saw the medal of John Calvin, I kissed it," he says. "I preached in the Cathedral of St. Peter. I did not feel very comfortable when I came out in full canonicals, but the request was put to me in such a beautiful way that I could have worn the Pope's tiara if they had asked me. They said, 'Our dear brother comes to us from another country. Now when an ambassador comes from another country, he has a right to wear his own costume at court, but as a mark of a very great esteem, he sometimes condescends to the weakness of the country which he visits, and will wear court dress!' 'Well,' I said, 'yes, that I will, certainly; but I shall feel like running in a sack.' It was John Calvin's cloak, and that reconciled me to it very much."
    Among the books he most valued were Calvin's works; in the first volume of Calvin's commentaries in his library is written, "The volumes making up a complete set of Calvin were a gift to me from my own most dear and tender wife."
    It may be said of Spurgeon, as of Calvin, that "nowhere does the whole personality stand out in such clear relief as in his sermons." The style of preaching was also very similar. The following estimate of Calvin with slight changes might have been written of Spurgeon:

He was a born preacher. For years the spacious church of St. Pierre in Geneva was thronged, not once or twice, but several times a week to hear him. He was the star of the Genevan pulpit, but his words carried far beyond the city in which they were spoken. Seldom has any man addressed a wider audience or received a more grateful response. His sermons became models and standards for hundreds of pastors who were confined to such help as their publication supplied.
    Admiral Coligny, warrior, diplomatist, and saint, was not the only one who made them his daily provender. It was on John Calvin's sermons on Ephesians that John Knox stayed his soul as he lay on his deathbed.
    There is something of a perennially modern note in Calvin's preaching. He was not afraid to risk the charge of vulgarizing his theme by the use of the picturesque language of colloquial social intercourse. Whatever enabled him to grip the people's attention and penetrate to their consciences and hearts was legitimate. Much of his preaching was familiar talk poured forth by a man whose humanism could accord with a love for popular speech. If vernacular and classical alternatives presented themselves, the vernacular commonly received the preference.
    Proverbs tripped from his tongue as though coined on the spot for the occasion, and gave agreeable piquancy to his words. Illustrations and metaphors he drew from all sources, sometimes surprising by their unexpectedness, coming from the lips of such a man. An early translation, reproducing the flavor of the original, represents him as saying, "We would fain live in pleasure that God should dandle us like little cockneys." Often he indulges in quite dramatic passages, making the characters with whom he is dealing express themselves in racy soliloquy or dialogue. Instead of making Moses, on receiving the order to ascend the mountain, point out how fatiguing and dangerous that would be for one of his years, Calvin pictures him as exclaiming, "That's all very fine! And I'm to go and break my legs climbing up there, am I? Of all things in the world! That's a fine prospect!"
    Beza tells us that he despised ostentatious, pretentious eloquence. He held it wrong to seek to give brilliance and charm to God's Word by embellishment of language and subtleties of exposition. In his case the man was the style, and the man shaped the style. All was nervous, spirited, earnest, eager, mostly level to the intelligence of the humblest man who came to hear him, with that throb of suppressed passion often beating through it which touches the fringes of one's consciousness as the sound of a distant . . . drum.[6]

    These paragraphs, as we have said, might almost have been written of Spurgeon. And not only did he resemble the great Reformer in style, and in the number of sermons he preached—Calvin is supposed to have preached between three and four thousand—his heart was established in the same faith in God's sovereignty. "I can recall the day when I first received those truths into my soul," he says, and from his diary we know that day was April 7, 1850, "when they were, as john Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man, that I had found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the House of God—I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it—the thought struck me, 'How did you come to be a Christian?' I sought the Lord. 'But how did you come to seek the Lord?' The truth flashed across my mind in a moment. I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I; but then I asked myself, 'How came I to pray?' I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. 'How came I to read the Scriptures?' Then in a moment I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith; and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed." "And his Calvinism was no nineteenth-century Laodicean compound."[7]
    "You may take a step from Paul to Augustine," Spurgeon once said to his students, "then from Augustine to Calvin, and then—well, you may keep your foot up a good while before you find such another." In another student talk he said that John Newton put Calvinism in his sermons as he put sugar into his tea, his whole ministry was flavoured with it; then he added, "Don't be afraid of putting in an extra lump now and then."
    Mr. Spurgeon was among the most eager celebrants of the tercentenary of Calvin's death on May 27, 1864. He agreed with John Knox, who said that in Geneva, in Calvin's day, was "the most perfect school of Christ that ever was on the earth since the days of the apostles."
    Preaching in Leeds for the Baptist Union in a Methodist Chapel on a memorable occasion, he read the tenth chapter of Romans. Pausing at the thirteenth verse, he remarked, "Dear me! How wonderfully like John Wesley the apostle talked! 'Whosoever shall call.' Whosoever. Why, that is a Methodist word, is it not?"
    "Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!" came the responses.
    "Yes, dear brothers," the preacher added, "but read the ninth chapter of the epistle, and see how wonderfully like John Calvin he talked—"That the purpose of God according to election might stand.'" Smiles on the faces of those that had before been silent were the only response to this utterance. "The fact is," continued the preacher, "that the whole of truth is neither here nor there, neither in this system nor in that, neither with this man nor that. Be it ours to know what is scriptural in all systems and to receive it."

http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/bio6.htm

1909 400th Anniversary

Le Mur des Reformateurs (Reformation Wall) it is located inside the Park des Bastions. It was began in 1,909 and finished in 1,917.This massive and impressive sculpture is 5 metre tall and 100 metres wide.It was began on the 400th anniversary of Calvin's birth. This wall is dedicated to the whole Reformation Movement and its four main figures: Jean Calvin,Théodore de Béze,John Knox,and Guillaume Farel, these nice and huge sculptures realate 150 years of the history of Protestanism in Switzerland,specially on Geneva area.

- Bb Warfield

Numerous articles (several by B. B. Warfield) were published in (1909-1910) The Princeton Theological Review Vol. 7 (09) and Vol. 8 (1910) and Vol. 12

http://scdc.library.ptsem.edu/mets/mets.aspx?src=PTRIndex.txt

Available from http://www.solid-ground-books.com/books_WarfieldTitles.asp

CALVIN MEMORIAL ADDRESSES
Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Calvin's Birth

B.B. Warfield, Thomas Cary Johnson, James Orr, R.A. Webb and others

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States gathered in Savannah, GA in May 1909 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. After an Introduction by Charles S. Wood, the following addresses were given and printed:

Chapter One: Calvin's Contribution to the Reformation by Rev. Richard C. Reed (Columbia Seminary)

Chapter Two: Calvin the Theologian by Rev. Henry C. Minton (Trenton, NJ)

Chapter Three: Calvin's Contribution to Church Polity by Rev. Thomas Cary Johnson (Richmond, VA)

Chapter Four: Calvin's Attitude Towards and Exegesis of the Scriptures by Dr. James Orr (Glasgow, Scotland)

Chapter Five: Calvin's Doctrine of Infant Salvation by Rev. R.A. Webb (Kentucky Theological Seminary)

Chapter Six: The Relation of Calvin and Calvinism to Missions by Rev. S.L. Morris (Sect. of the Home Missions of Presbyterian Church US)

Chapter Seven: Calvin's Influence on Educational Progress by President George H. Denny (Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA)

Chapter Eight: Calvin's Influence Upon the Political Development of the World by Frank T. Glasgow (Lexington, VA)

Chapter Nine: How Far Has Original Calvinism Been Modified By Time? by Rev. Samuel A. King (Austin Theological Seminary)

Chapter Ten: Present Day Attitude to Calvinism by Rev. Benjamin B. Warfield (Princeton Theological Seminary)

Chapter Eleven: How May the Principles of Calvinism be Rendered Most Effective Under Modern Conditions? by Rev. A.M. Fraser (Staunton, VA)

Chapter Twelve: John Calvin - The Man and His Times by Dr. Charles Merle D'Aubigne (Paris, France)

· 450th anniversary (1959)

From http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/oct1959/v16-3-editorial2.htm

Theology Today, vol 16, no 3 (1959), see:

THE CALVIN YEAR

If John Calvin could see the stir he is causing among his spiritual descendants, he might be a little disturbed. When the great man died, his body was wrapped in a simple white sheet and placed in a modest cedarwood coffin. There were no speeches at his grave, and there was no monument to mark its location. Not long after, people did not know where his body was buried. The glory of God was his consuming passion, and even an instrument that bad served him so dutifully, manifoldly and influentially must not rob him of his sovereign grandeur.

And yet, in spite of Calvin's humility, and in face of the danger of substituting the celebration of our fathers' faith for a living faith our own, it is right that the sons and daughters of Calvin should recall his life and work, understand his thought and ministry, repent his mistakes and failures, recognize his influence and power, and lend his person and integrity.

So 1959 has been designated as the 450th anniversary of Calvin's birth, the 400th anniversary of the definitive edition of his Institutes the Christian Religion, the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Academy of Geneva, the 400th anniversary of the first Synod of Reformed Church of France, and the 100th anniversary of Presbyterianism in Brazil. Suitable celebrations have been held in various places, the most significant of which were in France, Geneva, Brazil. And it has been a most suitable time to dedicate the freshly restored Calvin Auditoire in Geneva, which is associated with teaching and preaching ministry of Calvin and with the European refugees who made Calvinism an international force.

Geneva, where Calvin lived and worked for twenty-five years, aged in a three-day celebration marked by procession, reception, worship, convocation, " spectacle," and the first showing of the movie Soli Deo Gloria. Thus was Jean Cauvin, the son of an ecclesiastical lawyer, the converted classicist, the brilliant student, who was challenged by the fiery Farel to choose the life of public leadership rather than the peaceful life of the scholar, honored in this Calvin year. John Calvin was a man of many gifts and of historical significance. He was educator, theologian, correspondent, reformer, author, expositor, preacher, administrator, counselor, friend. Contrary to population, his letters indicate he was a man of friendly compassion. The flaming heart on the extended hand of God on Calvin's seal

portrays the core of the Gospel by which he lived. And his doctrine of predestination insists that no Church or man or state can control the free grace of God who elects in mercy. And in consenting to the burning of Servetus, he was a child of his time, giving a reluctant permission to an execution -which might have been carried out by Roman Catholic authorities had not Geneva acted. A monument was later erected by the citizens of Geneva to acknowledge the mistake that was made.

On the occasion of this notable anniversary, an Address has been delivered to Christians everywhere, rededicating the sons of Calvin and their Churches to simple service to a common Lord and reaffirming their readiness to follow the Spirit into new and active forms of life, order, and witness. They greet all Christians and call them to a recollection, a repentance, and a reaffirmation which God may use in the renewal of the Church.

The Address expresses gratitude to the Reformers for proclaiming Christ alone as Saviour and Lord; for uncovering the Gospel of the unmerited love of God; for establishing the authority of Scriptures for purging the Church that it may find new ways to claim the world for its true Lord; for teaching that God is free to effect man's salvation as he wills and use the Church without being in bondage to it; for teaching that men may address God directly, search the Scriptures, and be God's priests in all the parishes of the common life.

The Address also recognizes and regrets the failures of our fathers and of ourselves: words that obscured the Word; tardy and timid testimony; license substituted for Christian freedom; shrinking from the pain of applying the mind of Christ to all the vexing issues of public life; reflecting the world's hatreds that lead to war.

It closes with an eloquent plea for an ecumenical encounter in ,which the Presbyterian order, Calvinistic tradition, and Reformed faith are laid upon the altar and offered to fellow Christians for what ever use they may be to the whole Church. "With the whole Church we hold ourselves alert for the surprises with which the Lord of history can alter the tempo of our renewal, and for the new forms with which an eternally recreating God can startle us while he secures hi Church. And we strain ahead toward the great day when the right ness of our joined memories will be a small sign of the strength of our conjoined forces, and when each Church's anniversaries will be eve: Church's celebrations."

Query: Did OPC, RPCES, or BP celebrate a 450Th in 1959?

J Piper in 1997 wrote an address: “The Divine Majesty of the Word: John Calvin: The Man and His Preaching http://www.desiringgod.org/library/biographies/97calvin.html

500th

http://www.pcusa.org/oga/perspectives/may05/calvin.htm

Calvin and Economic Justice

by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches

An international consultation on “The Impact of Calvin’s Economic and Social Thought on Reformed Witness” was held in Geneva in November 2004. Thirty scholars, pastors, and laypersons attended. The event was conceived in response to the 24th General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), held in Accra, Ghana three months earlier.

The participants of the consultation issued a statement, parts of which follow:

“We believe that rediscovering Calvin can help members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to take up the challenge of the 2004 General Council which, in the face of the financial and economic powers, called churches to covenant on matters of economic injustice and environmental destruction,” the consultation statement said. “In Accra, in addition to confessing the guilt of those of us who benefit from complicity in these systems of destruction, we affirmed ‘that God is a God of justice…and in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor, the exploited, the wronged and the abused.’”

The consultation, sponsored by WARC, the John Knox International Reformed Centre, and the Faculty of Theology of the University of Geneva, said Calvin was convinced that the “earth is the Lord’s” and that its wonders are entrusted to humanity as a shared resource.

“Material things are not personal possessions but means to serve the common good; individual talents of mind or physical skill or artistic creation find their right purpose in mutual support within the whole society.

“The creator intended every human being to know that because she or he is a member of the global human family by birth, each one must recognize every other person as his or her ‘own flesh and bone.’”

The consultation stated that Calvin, who has been called the father of capitalism, has often been misrepresented and may in fact be better characterized as an inspiration for Reformed churches’ efforts around liberation, justice and the common good. “We believe that the rediscovery of Calvin has something relevant to contribute to the witness of Reformed people and churches today with regard to social and economic issues,” the consultation says in its statement.

Anticipating the 500th anniversary celebrations of Calvin’s birth in 2009, the consultation issued a challenge to all Christians to reconsider whether Calvin might offer some insights into new or better ways to approach social and economic issues. “Calvin was certainly no stranger to challenges in these aspects of life but he met them with a biblical vision of the spiritual and practical coherence of God’s world. Calvin did not compartmentalize any dimension of human life or separate it from all the others.

The scholars, pastors and lay people said that Calvin has been at times represented selectively, misrepresented and sometimes deliberately distorted. The consultation argues, for example, that there has been “deliberate or at least practical denial of Calvin’s inconvenient insistence that Christians must do for their neighbours what they would have their neighbours do for them, even to the point of expending their lives, honour and possessions.” It adds, “No doubt Calvin, like the originator of any historical movement, would be utterly amazed at many things ascribed to him today.”

Today when the global market holds a hegemonic control over people that reminds many of political empires, daily working toward the renewal of all life remains the calling of all Christians, the statement continues. “However, for Calvin, working together to renew the social and economic world is also the responsibility of the church as church, both in local situations and international contexts, acting both with those of the same confession and with all followers of the gospel - the ecumenical church.

“The rediscovered Calvin is a person working with church and other civil leaders. Eminently practical, Calvin knew that ‘what is everyone’s job is no one’s job,’ which is one compelling reason to have specific offices leading the church or community to be actively engaged.”

Calvin’s teaching reminds Christians of their responsibility to learn God’s will and teach it to fellow Christians, that they ought to seek and offer reproof, forgiveness and reconciliation. In addition, “All Christians are obligated to serve the poor, needy and afflicted - recognizing that these brothers and sisters are their equals in God’s sight, they embody Christ.”

“All Christians are also part of the larger church and the church as church is called to fulfill these ministries and so it establishes structures of leadership to enable corporate witness,” the consultation stated.

The statement concludes that Calvin reconsidered offers nourishment - in the form of vision and resources - for such a justice journey. “Calvin was deeply and personally convinced that stewardship of all earthly gifts for the common good and justice and love in all human relationships, are not optional for any human being.”

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