Melvin does Calvin…

This morning Melvin Bragg’s programme ‘In our time’ discussed the life and influence of John Calvin, Protestant ‘guard dog’ of the reformation. You can listen again here.

Highly recommended for those of us who need to engage with some of the big theological ideas in bite sized chunks. And all the more important for those of us who perhaps stand as part of a new reformation.

It is all there- the passion, the seeking after the purity of truth distilled from correct study of the Bible, the desire to release people from what were regarded as empty superstitions fed by the Roman Catholic church.

But also the austere, sometimes brutal regime that emerged in Geneva around his teachings- the rigid inflixible and systematised faith. And the persecution of anyone who dared to hold a different view.

It also dealt quite well with the way that Calvin’s teaching fitted in with, and perhaps even inspired enlightenment thinking, and was able to spread and flourish via the new information technology of the printing press.

Oh- and the pre-destination thing.

Definitely worth a listen with a cup of coffee…

Happy 500th Birthday John Calvin!

So, this week marks the 500th birthday of John Calvin, something which, given the preoccupations of this blog, was something I did not think should pass unmarked.

Happy Birthday John.

You turned your world upside down, and we stand in your shadow.

Or at least we did. Some say it is time to walk out on our own adventure.

To make our own reformation.

Praying for patience and grace on our own modern versions of Michael Servetus.


You can listen to a radio programme called Beyond Belief here that reflects on the enduring legacy of Calvin- half an hour of theology and reflection- well worth a listen.