Monday, May 25, 2009


Modern Reformation, special John Calvin quincentenary issue, June/July, 2009, features an article by Douglas Bond, On The Road: In the Footsteps of John Calvin. Click here to order a commemorative copy of the magazine Below is an excerpt:

History is filled with ironic convolutions. Consider the bungling of Scottish moderns placing a life-size bronze statue of John Knox in the ambulatory of St. Giles, Edinburgh, the very church in which Knox preached against idolatry. Or consider John Calvin decrying simony after his conversion when funding for his entire education had come from benefices his father had secured for him in his childhood.

Or consider thousands of Calvinists flocking to Geneva July 10, 2009 to commemorate the 500th birthday of the man who considered the medieval sacrament of pilgrimage to be one of the "faults contravening the Reformation." Is this yet another instance of self-contradictory theological buffoonery, a quest for merit tallied by stamps in the passport?

Tempting as these conclusions are to critics, I think not. As he lay dying, Calvin insisted that his body be buried in an unmarked grave. Some believe this was Calvin trying to avoid being the object of what he termed the “fictitious worship of dead men’s bones.” I’m inclined, however, to think that his dying request is yet another myth-buster; he didn’t want his bones enshrined because Calvin was so taken with the glory of Christ that the veneration of John Calvin never occurred to him. And for such humble piety alone Calvin would be worthy of our perennial attention.

Theodore Beza, Calvin’s successor, in whose arms Calvin died, wrote of him on the final page of his account of Calvin’s life, “Having been a spectator of his conduct for sixteen years… I can now declare that in him all men may see a most beautiful example of Christian character, an example which is as easy to slander as it is difficult to imitate.” ...

THE BETRAYAL, A novel on John Calvin, by Douglas Bond, available soon.

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