Few great Christian leaders have suffered quite so much misunderstanding as John Calvin. He is often dismissed as a theologian without humanity. In fact the very reverse is much nearer the truth, as these letters amply demonstrate. He was a man of deep and lasting affection, passionately concerned for the cause of Christ in the world—a man who burned himself out for the gospel.
Calvin wrote to kings and princes, Reformers and friends, nobility and common people alike. The Letters of John Calvinreveal a man of deep pastoral concern, consistent and exemplary evangelistic zeal, with a humble sense of the final authority of God and his word. This selection contains a number of letters written in connection with the establishment of the Reformation in England; a cross-section of Calvin’s correspondence with his closest friends, especially William Farel, and also Luther and Melanchthon. There are also letters of pastoral counsel and encouragement, and perhaps most moving of all, Calvin’s exhortations to five young men imprisoned in Lyons, France, awaiting the day of their certain martyrdom.
This selection of seventy letters is taken from the collection edited by Jules Bonnet, first published in 1855–7, with an introductory biographical sketch.
About the Author
This French theologian and Genevan pastor is one of the most preeminent of all the 16th-century Christian reformers. After learning about Martin Luther’s teachings, Calvin passionately embraced Reformation beliefs, sharing his conversion story in his Commentary on the Psalms. Writing this book of Psalms commentary put Calvin at great risk, given that many of his fellow believers were being martyred at the stake for their beliefs. He was not daunted, however, and another of the John Calvin books is now known as Protestantism’s magnum opus: The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Additional books of note include A Guide to Christian Living, which offers clear direction to believers, and encouragement to everyone wanting to live according to the Gospel; and Truth for All Time, this book written to show French monarchs the beliefs of Protestants in the country.
‘[Letters of John Calvin] is one of my favourite books. My copy is highlighted, underlined, and falling apart from constant use. Students of Calvin, as well as pastors and serious Christians, will enjoy these letters. I’m thrilled that Banner of Truth has reissued this classic.’ —Kevin DeYoung