By Ray Van Neste
May 4, 2016
John Calvin is known today primarily as a systematic theologian, and this is not without reason. His Institutes of the Christian Religion have provided centuries of sustenance to the church’s theological formulations. His polemical struggles against the Catholic Church continue to clarify Protestant thinking about the nature of justification.
However, Calvin was fundamentally a preacher of the gospel. His theology was refined as he preached through the Bible book by book, as more than 4,000 sermons poured forth from his pulpit in Geneva. His printed sermons were in demand during his time and the century after, but in subsequent centuries they were largely overlooked, though his commentaries and theological writings continued to be celebrated.
Today, many are not aware of his sermons, yet it is in the sermons that we see Calvin the pastor as he really lived and breathed, or in the words of Calvin’s biographer, Emile Doumergue, as he stood in Calvin’s pulpit on the 400th anniversary of his birth, “That is the Calvin who seems to me to be the real and authentic Calvin, the one who explains all the others: Calvin the preacher of Geneva.”
Calvin, the preacher of Geneva, was, at his heart, a preacher of the gospel, as Parker says: “the centre of his pastoral work, around which all else resolved, was the preaching of the gospel.” Read the rest at Preaching.com.