Era of Reform John Calvin
(1509 - 1564
Era of Reform

French reformer of the city of Geneva and premier theologian of the Reformed tradition.

John Calvin as a young man;
by an artist of the Flemish School

A refugee from religious persecution in France, John Calvin led the reform of the Swiss city of Geneva. He provided an order of worship that emphasized preaching, teaching, and the administration of the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Calvin saw baptism as an initiation into the body of Christ through which Christians receive forgiveness, the mortification of sin, and communion with Christ. He taught that the glorified body of Christ is present in the Lord's Supper through the work of the Holy Spirit. The polity created by Calvin for the church of Geneva and articulated in the Ecclesiastical Ordinances of the city provided for collegial governance of the church by four groups: doctors, pastors, deacons, and elders. Calvin summarized his theology in his extensive Institutes of the Christian Religion.

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Photo - Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY. Used by permission.