Session 1: John Calvin
As many people now know, the year 2009 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, one of the most important figures in Western civilization. Through his faithful ministry of writing, preaching and teaching in Geneva, Calvin left a legacy that continues to impact the world to this day. Dr. Sproul ascended into the high pulpit in St. Pierre and reflected on the life and work of John Calvin, focusing in particular on his work as the theologian of the Reformation.
Notes from Around Town
Located today on the border of Switzerland and France at the southwest end of Lake Geneva, the city of Geneva was the seat of John Calvin’s ministry from 1536 to 1538 and from 1541 until he died in 1564. The Reformation of Geneva was not easy, but its impact was felt around the world. The tour enjoyed a sightseeing tour of Old Town Geneva with a local guide, visited St. Pierre Cathedral, walked into the Auditoire de Calvin where the Geneva Academy began and John Knox pastored the English refugees for several years, saw the site of John Calvin’s home, saw the Reformation Wall, and walked through CimetiÃ¨re des Rois (cemetery of the kings) where it is believed Calvin is buried. For all of his stunning accomplishments, his humble, singular devotion to God’s glory above all else is evidenced in his last will and testament wherein he directed his friends to bury him in an unmarked grave.
We’ve posted some photos from Geneva here.
At St. Pierre, there is an elaborate archaeological dig site under the existing church. It was truly remarkable. Ruins date a Christian church in that location from the 4th century. The church grew and was expanded many times over the centuries as the city grew in wealth and importance. For what it’s worth, one of the primary finds was several generations of baptisteries and it was interesting to see their decreasing size. It appears from the archaeological notes, even the largest and oldest from pre-5th century was used for people to stand in ankle deep water and have the water dipped and poured over the recipient of the sacrament.
The people of Geneva are kind and welcoming. They were very forgiving of my stumbling French language I dredged up from memory of my high school and college courses. How I wish I paid more attention then.
The tour now transfers to Zurich to visit the canton where Ulrich Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger ministered.