John Calvin or to give him his proper French name, Jean Cauvin was a powerful French theologian and pastor.
He was one of the most important persons of the Protestant Reform movement in sixteenth century Europe. Although he is considered to be the successor to German reformer Martin Luther, he was an independent thinker and his tenet, known as Calvinism, differed to a great degree from Luther’s. The first time when he started to work Renaissance humanism was while he was studying law at the University of Bourges. It affected him so much that he decided to dedicate his life to its propagation. However, he could not work in France and was forced to escape after a severe revolt against the Protestants. Finally, he was convinced by William Farrel to help him to reform churches in Geneva. The responsibility was not at all simple and he had to overcome lots of opposition and dissent before he could bring in the desired reforms. Politically, he worked to protect the concern of the general public and believed that although the state and church are separate, they must work all together for the utility of the people.
John Calvin was born as Jehan Cauvin on 10 July 1509 in Noyon, where it is located in the Picardy area of France. His father, Gérard Cauvin, was the apostolical secretary to the Bishop of Noyon and also the prog in the section of the diocese and the fiscal procurator of the district. His mother, Jeanne Le Franc, was noted for her beauty and godliness during that time. John was their second remaining son. Charles was his elder brother and Antoine was the youngest one. His father wanted all of them to attend the church and brought them up according to this.
His mother, Jeanne Le Franc died four or five years after his birth. Shortly after that, his father married again and he was sent to live with the Montmors family which was really an effective in the vicinity. He had always been an remarkable child in the family. When he turned twelve, he was worked as a clerk by the Bishop.
So, he received his tonsure first time as clergy. Later in 1523, he was sent to Paris for education of theology. Here in Paris he attended the Collège de la Marche and studied Latin under Mathurin Cordier/ Corderius. On completion of the program, he entered the Collège de Montaigu to study philosophy. Thus far he was being trained to become a priest. But now his father decided that John should become a attorney. In 1528, he was withdrawn from Collège de Montaigu and accepted first to the University of Orléans and then to the University of Bourges to study law.
When he was at the University of Bourges, he came into contact with humanist lawyer Andrea Alciato and also experienced the Renaissance humanism spreaded by Erasmus and Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples. All these left an inerasable sign on Calvin. He now wanted to study the scriptures in their original form. That’s why he began to learn Latin, Greek and Hebrew, which all of them were used in ancient Christian dissertation. In 1531, Calvin earned his degree in law.
After his father died in that year, he followed his academic greeds freely. He now engrossed himself in the education of Renaissance ideas. In 1532 he published his first book, a interpretation on Seneca’s De Clementia. He turned back to Paris in October 1533. Then, dissent to the Roman Catholic Church had already begun.
At Collège Royal, the discord between the reformers and the associates of conservative faculty was the higher than it had been. On November 1, 1533, Nicolas Cop, one of Calvin’s bosom friends and also a protestant humanist and the Rector of the Collège, gave a speech. In it, he emphasised the requirement for innovations within the Roman Catholic Church and advocated the tenet of the Sola fide which means the justification by faith alone.
The conversation teased the conservatives to such an extent that Cop was not only pushed him to run away to Basel, but Calvin was also blamed and had to hide. But by that time, France preserved a mediatory behavior to the Protestant movement and so Calvin was substantially safe. Then on 17 October 1534 an event, accepted in the records as the ‘Affaire des Placards’ occured. It resulted in a violent reaction to the Protestant humanists and Calvin was forced to leave France. At the end, he participated Cop at Basel in January 1535. “Institutio Christianae Religionis” which is Calvin’s well-known work was published in March 1536.
And then, he left for Ferrara, where he worked as secretary to Princess Renée of France for a short term. In June, he turned back to Paris but realized that there was little extent for him in there.So, in August 1536, he departed for the free emperor town of Strasbourg, taking a detour over Geneva. Geneva was a place where he actually started his career as a reformer. At Geneva, William Farel, French evangelist, convinced John Calvin to stay back and help him in improving churches of that territory. But in 1538, both Calvin and Farel were contradictory with the city council and abandoned Geneva for Basel. Later on, Calvin was asked to be leadership of a church for the French refugees in Strasbourg, a mission which he took by September 1538.
Shortly after that, he was given citizenship of the city. On 13 September 1541, Calvin once more turned back to Geneva upon the call of the city council. Here he came up with a few offers for reform. One of them was to maintain religious instruction to the townsfolk, in backing of which the city management passed the Ordonnances ecclésiastiques. On his suggestion, the city council also set up four groups of church officials: pastors and teachers to clarify the scriptures, doctors to teach the worshippers in the faith, elders to conduct the church, and deacons to keep in