This article shows that John Calvin was not only a theologian. He had a heart for mission work and evangelism. It shows how Calvin sent out pastors to reach other nations due to his love for the church and her unity in obedience to God’s Word.

Source: The Banner of Truth, 2010. 8 pages.

John Calvin and the Missionary Mandate

Critics of Calvin🔗

Although almost five centuries have elapsed since the initial publica­tion of John Calvin’s writings, he continues to be an object of scorn, often from sceptics who find his God-centred worldview repulsive. Pop­ular author Will Durant (1885-1981), for example, contended Calvin’s ‘genius lay not in conceiving new ideas but in developing the thought of his predecessors to ruinously logical conclusions’. Durant castigated the reformer’s Institutes of the Christian Religion as ‘the most terrible work in all the literature of religious revolution.’1

Such assertions from secular humanists are consistent with their own worldview and therefore do not surprise Christian students of the Reformation. It is much more distressing, however, to see learned scholars of an overtly Christian profession portraying Calvin harshly, especially when their complaints do not reflect adequate research in the reformer’s own writings. Misrepresentation about the sixteenth century Protestants’ attitude blemished their reputations, that of Martin Luther as well as John Calvin. Some critics have argued that the doctrine of election and the Reformers’ expectation of the soon return of Christ prevented them from organizing the churches for the work of world­wide evangelism.

The systematic study of Protestant missions began with the work of Gustav Warneck (1834-1910), author of an Outline of a History of Prot­estant Missions, which appeared late in the nineteenth century. While this scholar identified geopolitical, financial, and European ecclesiastical factors that hindered Protestant engagement in overseas missions, he nevertheless blamed the Reformers for a failure to discharge their duty in this regard. Warneck portrayed Luther as concerned with the work of reforming a corrupt church and society as his major occupation. He thought Christian rulers should promote the conversion of their unbe­lieving subjects, so he did not create any missionary agency for his own church. Luther, Warneck contended, seemed satisfied to urge Christians taken prisoner by the Turks to bear witness to their captors. In the light of Jesus’ imminent return, God had punished many regions of the earth by withholding the gospel from them. In the judgment of Warneck, Luther and other Wittenberg theologians believed the New Testament Apostles had already fulfilled the requirements of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).2 Calvin and the church in Geneva did not fare any better in this pioneer work of missiology.

Among historians of Christian missions, one, without dispute, holds the foremost position as the authority on the subject, and he is Ken­neth Scott Latourette (1884-1968), a former missionary to China and long-time Professor of Missions and Oriental History at Yale Univer­sity. This exceptionally erudite scholar, despite his usual thoroughness, like Warneck, failed to understand the position of Luther, Calvin, et al. on the important matter of spreading the gospel around the world. His own disdain for some features of the Reformers’ doctrine may have prejudiced Latourette against giving them their due, as when he asserted, ‘some of the Protestant Reformers were frankly not interested in mission to non-Christians.’3 This learned author blamed Protestants of the Reformation era for regarding missions as a hindrance to com­merce when their nations began competing with Roman Catholic Por­tugal and Spain for overseas trade.4

Although some Protestants may have believed rejection of the apos­tolic proclamation of the gospel left pagan peoples under divine judg­ment and thereby negated the church’s duty to evangelize them, that was not the conviction of the major Reformers.5 It is true they differed among themselves about the application of the Great Commission per se, but that did not keep them from seeking the salvation of lost sinners at home and abroad. When, for example, the faculty at the University of Wittenberg declared the Apostles had fulfilled the Great Commis­sion, Luther nevertheless called Christians to exert every effort to bring the gospel to everyone, because that is the means God has ordained to gather his elect into the body of Christ. Martin Luther did not create a missionary society, for he believed evangelism to be the work of the whole church, and Lutheran churches did send missionaries to Scandi­navia and to Slays in Eastern Europe.6

Whatever critics charged against Luther, they have levelled against Calvin with even greater vehemence. Writing his exposition of the Psalms, Calvin lamented, ‘because I ... maintain the world is managed and governed by the secret providence of God, a multitude of presump­tuous men arises against me and alleges that I represent God as the author of sin.’7 Although the reformer denied that charge emphatically, his opponents have continued to raise it and to conclude his doctrine of divine sovereignty made him ‘incapable of both missionary thought and action.’8 When such judgments come from writers to whom an abun­dance of evidence to the contrary is available, it is difficult to attribute them to anything other than prejudice. The assumption about the role of predestination as a retardant of evangelism is wrong, as the history of missions attests clearly.

Concerns of Calvin🔗

Portrayals of Calvin as a systematic logician who deduced his world­view from the implications of his doctrine of divine sovereignty are misleading because they conflict with explicit statements from his own pen and from actions he performed in pursuit of his ministry. This is especially evident in his declarations about seeking the salvation of lost people. Rather than viewing their plight complacently, the chief pastor of Geneva promoted efforts to convert them. Since God alone knows the elect, the church must proclaim his Word to everyone, a duty which the doctrine of sovereign grace does not negate or diminish.9 In com­menting on John 3:16, Calvin cited the term whosoever as indicating Jesus intention ‘to unite all indiscriminately to partake of life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such also is the import of the term world ... God ... invites all men without exception to faith in Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.’ On John 3:17 the reformer remarked, ‘The word world is repeated that no man should think himself wholly excluded, if only he keep the road of faith.’10

While references to evangelistic outreach appear only incidentally in Calvin’s writings, they are abundant and sometimes pungent, and when taken together, they reveal a genuine zeal for the salvation of the world. Consider the reformer’s remark about the Christian duty to evangelize as that appears in his commentary on Daniel 12:3:

No one of God’s children ought to confine their (sic) attention pri­vately to themselves (sic), but as far as possible, everyone ought to interest himself in the welfare of his brethren. God has deposited the teaching of his salvation with us, not for the purpose of ... keeping it to ourselves, but of our pointing out the way of salva­tion to all mankind. This therefore is the common duty of the chil­dren of God – to promote the salvation of their brethren.11 

With specific reference to reaching heathen peoples, Calvin explained Isaiah 12:4, ‘make known his works among the peoples’, to apply to preaching the gospel to foreigners.

Hence it is evident what is the desire which ought to be cherished among all the godly. It is, that the goodness of God may be made known to all, that all may join in the same worship of God. We ought especially to be inflamed with this desire, after having been delivered from some alarming danger, and most of all after having been delivered from the tyranny of the devil and from everlasting death.12

These and many more declarations throughout his works demonstrate conclusively that John Calvin believed in the proclamation of the gospel without reservations to all peoples, and that he saw that enterprise as evidence that God would extend his kingdom progressively through time. Inclusion of the Gentiles (nations) within the kingdom would be an essential feature of the universal church to be gathered through its mission to the world,13 so, as Calvin stated it, ‘we must daily desire that God gather churches unto himself from all parts of the earth.’ 14

Calvin considered all false religions as products of corrupt human nature subsequent to the fall, and he admonished Christians to demon­strate compassion for helpless, blind sinners who worship gods of their own making. The reformer expected the gradual extension of Christ’s kingdom, as divine providence opened doors for witness. In Calvin’s era those doors were almost all in Europe, and he expressed full confidence in the final triumph of Christ, a belief which motivated the reformer and those who shared his faith to prosecute evangelism with the patience appropriate for Christians who understand the progressive character of God’s saving actions in history. The glory of God was their chief concern, and compassion for the lost was its necessary concomitant. As subsequent history attests, Calvin’s theology, rather than being an impediment, has been a powerful motivation for the work of missions throughout the world. The Reformed Church in Geneva eventually dis­patched missionaries to England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, the New World, and South Africa, while giving priority to France – Calvin’s native land, for which he had a special concern. That nation, so close to Geneva, was the scene of cruel persecution against adherents to the Reformed faith (the Huguenots) for whom Calvin had profound sympathy, so he longed for it to be a productive mission field. He kept himself well informed about conditions in his homeland and looked constantly for opportunities to penetrate it with the gospel.15 

Contributions of Calvin🔗

When the religious controversies of the sixteenth century exploded soon after Martin Luther’s attack on the sale of indulgences (1517), the Roman Church had already been dispatching members of its orders of friars as missionaries along with explorers of foreign lands who claimed those territories for the sending nations. In that way Portuguese and Spanish priests were already in place enjoying the patronage of their governments. The Protestant churches did not yet have that advantage but had to concentrate on promoting church reform in Europe before they could acquire resources for missions abroad. Medieval popes such as Innocent III (1198-1216) and Boniface VIII (1294-1303) had asserted their authority as Vicars of Christ over the entire world, and Alexander VI (1492-1503) ceremoniously divided overseas lands between Portu­gal and Spain by drawing a Papal Line of Demarcation. New religious orders provided personnel to implement such claims, and in the era of the Counter Reformation, the Jesuits sent numerous missionaries in conjunction with Iberian occupations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In most cases Catholic monarchs regarded support for such mis­sions as a religious duty. Protestants at that time had no comparable bodies of disciplined agents to send abroad, and the Reformers decried the very existence of the friars as contrary to Scripture. It would be well into the seventeenth century before Protestant missions would penetrate non-Christian regions, although there were some earlier, rather unsuc­cessful, efforts. The enormous wealth of the papacy and that of the major Catholic rulers, of course, gave that Church great advantages in the missionary enterprise.

Among early Lutheran evangelistic efforts the work of Johann Bugenhagen (1485-1558) in Denmark is noteworthy. This theologian from the faculty at Wittenberg received an invitation from King Chris­tian III (1536-59) to reform the churches of his kingdom and to plant new congregations of the Evangelical faith. Since Norway was then subject to Denmark, the Lutheran effort progressed there too. In both cases, however, the political objectives of the monarch were decisively important in his patronage of the Reformation, so the Lutheran mission was, to some extent, a state affair.

A somewhat more effective Lutheran endeavour developed under Swedish auspices when King Gustavus Vasa (1523-60), who ruled Finland as well, patronized a mission to nomad Laplanders. Roman Catholicism had been imposed on the Lapps earlier, but their devotion to it was superficial. The first book to appear in the Lapp language was printed in 1619, but the whole Bible was not available in that tongue until the eighteenth century. After that the Church of Sweden worked vigorously to convert the people of Lapland but, once more, to make them adherents to the state church.16 While early Lutheran mission efforts merit recognition, the outreach of the Reformed Churches is the focus of this study, and the role of John Calvin is its primary consideration. In the words of historian George Frey of Capital University, Columbus, Ohio,

Calvin stands out as one of the most successful evangelists in mod­ern Church history ... Calvin was not simply to convert the city of Geneva or even the cantons of French-speaking Switzerland; he was to become an evangelist of Europe, spreading the evangelical faith from Scotland to Transylvania.17

The validity of that judgment becomes clear when one examines the role of the Reformed Church in Geneva as a dynamic centre of mission­ary activity. Calvin, as leader of that church, implemented theology in evangelism, for he knew sound doctrine to be the basis for a biblical witness, and church history shows how serious attention to theology has preceded great evangelistic advances as, for example, when Luther’s discovery of justification by faith alone led to the conversion of multi­tudes in Europe. Then too, the doctrinal labours of Pietists, Moravians, and the Puritans led to the Great Awakening in the eighteenth century. Clarity in doctrine is indeed essential for effective evangelism.

Soon after producing the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin undertook the work of spreading the gospel of salva­tion by grace alone, as his profound understanding of God led him to extol the worship of the Creator as the foremost Christian duty, and witnessing for Christ as its necessary companion activity. His Institutes is, in some ways, an evangelistic instrument by which he hoped to reach fellow Frenchmen inclined toward scholarship. His Catechism was designed specifically to teach the gospel to young people. In all of his writings the reformer endeavoured to communicate saving truth with ever improving lucidity, as the successive editions of his works display.18                                      

While the chief pastor of Geneva regarded universal evangelism as a solemn obligation of the church in every age, the missionfield most accessible to him was France, to which he devoted special attention. Even though Protestant Geneva was in danger of assaults from its Cath­olic enemies, the Reformed Church took its missionary responsibilities seriously. The Church and the city received multitudes of refugees from Calvin’s homeland, some of whom studied in Geneva in preparation for a return to France as pastor-evangelists. Eventually such ministers served in England, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, and further afield. As long as Geneva was beleaguered by enemies, there was lit­tle opportunity to compete with papal missions in distant parts of the world, much of which remained unexplored.19

Calvin believed the church is to prosecute the spread of the gospel in preparation for the return of Christ, and during his tenure in Geneva people in various countries appealed for pastors to instruct them in the Word, requests to which the Reformed Church responded with missionaries whenever possible. Calvin maintained correspondence with such pastors to advise them and to console them with his prayers on their behalf. To enhance the labours of those ministers, printers in Geneva published much Reformed literature. The Geneva Bible in Eng­lish is one example of the great contribution the printers made to the Reformation.

Beginning in 1555, by which year Calvin was secure in his position as chief pastor, after most of his critics had been discredited, the number of missionaries ready for service in France increased substantially. Eighty-three of them were dispatched between 1555 and 1563, and by 1562, 2,150 local congregations were operating on French soil serving about 3,000,000 adherents.20 The year 1562 was, however, one which wit­nessed the start of a savage persecution of French Protestants who, nev­ertheless, organized consistories and synods, while seamen of Reformed conviction took the gospel to North America, as they sailed along the St Lawrence River in Quebec.21

While oppression raged in several European nations, refugees in Geneva worshipped in churches of their own, and from one of them Guido de Bres (1522-67) emerged as a leader of the Dutch Reformed Church, when he compiled the Belgic Confession of Faith (I561), which became the official statement of that body. During the wars of religion in France (1562-98), missionary service in France was very dangerous, and casualties among the Huguenots were many.

The focus of Calvin and the Reformed Church on France did not inhibit them from investing in missions elsewhere, even overseas, when an opportunity arose in Brazil. In this case, Calvin went beyond Luther in becoming personally involved in organizing an outreach to the non-European world. Reformed engagements in foreign missions began then when Henry II (1547-59) authorized the creation of a French colony near the site of the present city of Rio de Janeiro in 1555. That deci­sion occurred at the same time as Phillip II (1556-98) initiated an effort to crush all Protestants in the Spanish Netherlands. Calvin, consistent with his conviction, ‘it is a sacrifice well pleasing to God to advance the spread of the gospel’,22 readily endorsed the proposal to comply with a request for Reformed pastors to serve in the new colony. The request came from the colonial governor who was distressed by the un­ruly character of some of the original settlers (criminals among them). He appealed to Admiral Gaspard de Coligny (1519-71), who, at that point, enjoyed considerable influence with the French king, even though the admiral was sympathetic toward the Huguenots. Coligny saw an opportunity in the New World to provide a haven for oppressed French Protestants and to evangelize the natives. An entry in the Register of the Company of Pastors of Geneva declares:

On Tuesday 25 August (1556), in consequence of the receipt of a letter requesting this church to send ministers to the new islands (Brazil), ... M. Pierre Richer and M. Guillaume Charretier were elected. These two were subsequently commended to the care of the Lord and sent with a letter from the church.23

Along with designated pastors, eleven men and five women sailed to Brazil, and one of that company, Jean de Léry (1534-1611), wrote an account of the voyage and life in the colony. His acute observations of plant life in the region astound modern botanists, as his descriptions of Indian culture impress anthropologists. De Léry’s major interest was, however, to plant Christianity in that land by evangelizing the Tupinamba Indians, who were cannibals. De Léry’s work, much to his dismay, lasted only a little more than a year.24 This was due to the duplicity of the royal governor who reneged on his promise to support the creation of a Reformed Church and a mission to the natives. The governor eventually returned to Catholicism and denounced Calvin as a heretic. When he abused the Protestant settlers and moved to impose the Roman religion on the territory, several Calvinists suffered death at his hands. When the governor returned to France to seek additional aid for his enterprise, the Portuguese destroyed his colony and thereby brought the entire endeavour to an end.25

Although the Reformed Church in Geneva failed in Brazil, establish­ing gospel truth in Europe continued to be its priority, for there could have been no effective missionary outreach without that foundation. Zeal to spread the faith did not diminish after the debacle in the New World, and the future would see many missionary efforts launched based on the principles of Reformed theology. So much was this the case, that one perceptive observer remarked, ‘the Calvinism which made heroes and martyrs of men also gave them such an exhibition of missionary zeal ... as has never been paralleled in the history of the world.’26 Belief in divine sovereignty arouses and sustains evangelis­tic commitment among those who regard themselves as agents of the divine master-plan for humanity. In accord with this conviction, Calvin corresponded with believers in several nations to urge them to spread the gospel, and his influence eventually led Admiral Coligny, Oliver Cromwell, and the Dutch Reformed Church to seek overseas colon­ies where they could proclaim Christ to lost sinners. The reformer of Geneva often admonished believers to pray fervently for the conversion of the heathen.27 The seriousness with which the Dutch Reformed Church took Calvin’s advice is evident in its missions to Asia. Agents of that Church were very active in the East Indies and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), where they translated the Scriptures into the Malay tongue. The initial Protes­tant efforts to evangelize Muslims in this region came from Reformed Churches which, for over a century, were the only Protestants engaged in that work.

The first missionary to the Turks was Wenceslaus Budovetz (b. 1551) from Budapest, who had studied at Reformed universities in Western Europe and subsequently proclaimed the principles of Calvinism with great evangelistic zeal. Budovetz was a diplomat serving Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1576-1612) at the court of the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople, a post he held from 1577 to 1581. There he bore wit­ness to Muslims and the clerics of the Greek Orthodox Church. Careful study of the Quran convinced him that Islam is a fraud, so he laboured to defend Christianity against Islamic claims. His major work of apolo­getics is entitled Anti Al-Quran. Budovetz ended his mission work in Eastern Europe, where he died a martyr during persecution of Protes­tants in the Habsburg Empire. Although not officially commissioned by a Reformed Church, he was a pioneer Calvinist evangelist to Muslims, Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholics.28

Although, like the Lutherans, leaders of the Reformed Churches sometimes debated the precise meaning of the Great Commission, they sought the extension of Christ’s kingdom at home and abroad. One of the first among them to promote a worldwide missionary effort was Adrianus Saravia (1531-1613), who from 1582 to 1587, was a profes­sor at the University of Leyden. Saravia had no doubts about the appli­cability of Matthew 28:16-20 to the entire church until Christ returns. He wrote Concerning the Different Orders of the Gospel, a chapter in which he explains the Saviour’s intent in the Great Commission. Much to his dismay, the initial response to his book was negative, but he had raised an issue which could not long be ignored. This became particu­larly evident in the East Indies.

While the Netherlands fought for independence from Spain, Dutch merchants sailed to the East Indies, where they dislodged the Portuguese and established trading posts. A major contribution to this enterprise was the cartography of Petrus Plancius (1552-1622), a Reformed pas­tor with an extensive knowledge of geography. As an investor in Dutch commerce, Plancius gained much wealth with which he promoted in­creased trade and convinced ship captains to accept pastors who would minister to European settlers in the colonies. After overcoming some opposition from Reformed authorities, he persuaded the Classis of Amsterdam in 1599 to accept responsibility for a mission in Asia. The commercial operation became the Dutch East India Company in 1602, and company officials supervised the work of the missionaries within its territorial possessions. Some governor-generals were more supportive than others. Jan Pieterzoon Coen (1614-23 and 1627-29) was one of the most helpful. Most company officials were, however, more concerned about profits than about evangelizing the natives.

It is important to note that Petrus Plancius was a staunchly confes­sional Calvinist and therefore an opponent of the Arminian faction that sought to move the Reformed Church away from its commitment to the theology of sovereign grace. In other words, those who were believers in election spearheaded the missionary efforts, even while their Armin­ian critics accused them of fatalistic resignation to divine sovereignty! The mission work in the East Indies begun in the seventeenth century continued thereafter, and by the twentieth century the Protestant presence in the Dutch East Indies was stronger than in any other country of East Asia, although a long period of decline occurred in the eighteenth century, until the Netherlands Mission Society, a para-church agency, revived the work, beginning in 1797.

In addition to Petrus Plancius, the profound theologian Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676) was a vigorous champion of evangelism based on the Great Commission. He too was a pronounced opponent of Armini­anism, and at the Synod of Dort (1619) he urged the Dutch Reformed Church to increase its mission outreach. As a professor at the University of Utrecht, Voetius functioned as a missiologist, the first in Protestant history. He was a well-informed scholar in the history of Christian doctrine and an expert in Roman Catholic missionary history and tech­niques. In order to prepare effective apologists, Voetius taught what be­came the discipline of comparative religion. He stressed the duty of the churches to be sending agencies, and always his foremost concern was to extol God’s glory through the proclamation of the gospel. He denied to the state and the East India Company the right to send missionaries, and he held that God’s purpose in election realizes its fulfilment as his church carries his Word to the world.29 


Contrary to the stereotype of Calvinism as a cold, logical system of thought of interest only to a small number of intellectuals, it is the faith of millions around the world, a faith which has inspired multitudes of Christians to proclaim the message of Christ throughout the earth. In addition to the ones cited above, it would be easy to compile a long list of unselfish evangelists aflame with a zeal produced by their love for God and deep concern for the salvation of sinners. Such a compilation might include John Eliot (1604-90) and David Brainerd (1718-47) and their ministries to North American Indians; William Carey (1761-1834), founder of the Particular (Calvinistic) Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen; Henry Martyn (1781-1812), Anglican missionary to India and Persia; Robert Morrison (1782-1834), first Protestant missionary to China; John G. Paton (1824-1907), evangelist to cannibals in the New Hebrides Islands.

In pursuing their evangelistic-missionary vocation, Reformed believ­ers have implemented the theology of John Calvin. In the providence of God, his mission, with the exception of the effort in Brazil, was confined to Europe, but his vision was much broader, and had he lived to see the witness and the fruits of the evangelism he encouraged, he would have been delighted. As a pastor Calvin evangelized through preach­ing, teaching, writing, and counselling. He promoted true ecumenism through evangelistic outreach, and the union of the Reformed Churches of Geneva and Zurich attests to his success, as the two communities espoused the same doctrine. His friendship with Lutheran theologian Phillip Melanchthon (1497-1560) and his subscription to a version of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of Faith reflect Calvin’s concern to achieve unity among Christians on the basis of mutual acceptance of revealed truth. ‘Through his conscientious labours original Calvinism seemed to reproduce the miracle of Pentecost, as it attracted men of all nations.’30 Calvin sought the universal extension of the evangelical faith because he believed the gospel is for all humanity.

The term Calvinism is a misnomer when used theologically, since the reformer of Geneva introduced nothing new. His doctrine is the teach­ing of Christ and the apostles, the Apostle Paul in particular. This most famous of all Christian missionaries was a vigorous herald of salvation by sovereign grace, and his opponents could never accuse him of indo­lent fatalism. On the contrary, they complained that his teachings had ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6). True Calvinists aspire to do likewise, as they trust in their heavenly Sovereign to gather his elect, all over the world, through the fervent preaching of his Word, reinforced by the ardent prayers of his earthly human ambassadors.


  1. ^ Will Durant, The Reformation, vol. VI, The Story of Civilization (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), see pp. 460-85 for the author’s hostile portrait of Calvin.
  2. ^ Gustav Warneck, Outline of a History of Protestant Missions, 3rd ed. Ed. George Robson (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1906), pp. 9-17.
  3. ^ Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, III (New York: Harper & Row, 1939). Latourette cited several factors that retarded the development of missionary consciousness among Protestant leaders, while he attributed some indifference to them. See pp. 25-2
  4. ^ Ibid.
  5. ^ A keen study of such matters appears in Jun Ho-Jin, ‘Reformation and Mission: a Brief Survey of the Missiological Understanding of the Reformers’, Acts Theological Journal 5 (1994), pp. 160-78. Cf. Thomas Coates, ‘Were the Reformers Mission Minded?’ Concordia Theological Monthly XL (1969), pp. 600-11: Waiter von Holsten, ‘Reformation and Mission’, Archiv für Reformations-Geschichte 44 (1953), pp. 1-32: an especially effective rebuttal of Warneck, et al. is that of John Warwick Montgomery, ‘Luther and Missions’, Evangelical Missions Quarterly 3 (1967), pp. 193-263.
  6. ^ Jun, ‘Reformation and Mission’, p. 171.
  7. ^ John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms I, tr. James Anderson for the Calvin Translation Society (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, rpt. of 1845 ed.), p. xlvi.
  8. ^ Stephen Neil, G. I. Anderson, and John Goodwin, eds. Concise Dictionary of the Christian World Mission (London: Lutterworth Press, 1970), p. 511
  9. ^ This is particularly clear in Book III, pp. xxiv of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, tr. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1960).
  10. ^ John Calvin, The Gospel According to John, I, tr. William Pringle for the Calvin Translation Society (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House rpt. of 1847 ed.), pp. 125-26.
  11. ^ John Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Daniel II, tr. Thomas Myers for the Calvin Translation Society (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, rpt. of 1852 ed.), pp. 376-77. 
  12. ^ John Calvin, The Book of the Prophet Isaiah I, tr. William Pringle for The Calvin Translation Society (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. rpt. of 185o ed.), pp. 402-3.
  13. ^ Charles Chaney, ‘The Missionary Dynamic in the Theology of John Calvin’, Reformed Review 17 (March 1964), pp. 24-38. This is a fine collection of relevant passages from Calvin on this subject, from which I have profited much.
  14. ^ Calvin. Institutes, III: xx, 42.
  15. ^ J. Douglas MacMillan, ‘Calvin, Geneva, and Christian Missions’, Reformed Theological Journal (November 1989), pp. 5-17, is an excellent review of this subject.
  16. ^ A. C. Thompson, Protestant Missions: Their Rise and Early Progress (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 94), pp. 3-21
  17. ^ George Frey, ‘John Calvin: Theologian and Evangelist’, Christianity Today XV (October 23, 1970), pp. 3-6.
  18. ^ Ibid., pp. 3-4.19
  19. ^ W. Stanford Reid, ‘Calvin’s Geneva: a Missionary Centre’, Reformed Theological Journal XLII (September-December 1953), pp. 65-74, covers this subject well.
  20. ^ Ibid., pp. 66-69; the statistical report comes from the research of Robert M. Kingdon, Geneva and the Coming of the Wars of Religion to France (Geneva: Librarie E. Droz, 1953), pp. 79 ff.21
  21. ^ See W. Stanford Reid, ‘Protestant Pioneers in New France’, Presbyterian Record IX (1974), pp. 16-18.
  22. ^ John Calvin: Tracts and Letters 5, eds. Henry Beveridge and Jules Bonnet (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2.009, rpt. of 1858 ed.), letter of 1553, p. 453.23
  23. ^ The Register of the Company of Pastors of Geneva in the Time of Calvin, ed. & tr. Phillip Edgcumbe Hughes (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), p. 317
  24. ^ De Léry’s book is available as History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, tr. Janet Whattley (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990). See David Smith, ‘The Forgotten Grandfather of Protestant Mission’, Missiology: an International Review XXXIV (2.006), pp. 349-59
  25. ^ G. Baezd-Camargo, ‘The Earliest Protestant Missionary Venture into Latin America’, Church History XXI (June 1951), pp. 135-45, is a graphic account of this effort. Cf. David B. Calhoun, ‘John Calvin: Missionary Hero or Missionary Failure?’ Covenant Seminary Review V (September 1979), pp. 16-33.
  26. ^ S. L. Morris, ‘The Relation of Calvin and Calvinism to Missions’, in Calvin: Memorial Addresses, eds. B. B. Warfield, et al. (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 1007, rpt. of 1909 ed.), pp. 135
  27. ^ Samuel M. Zwemer, ‘Calvinism and the Missionary Enterprise’, Theology Today VII (1950), pp. 206-16. This author was an outstanding example of a Calvinist missionary.
  28. ^ Josef Soucek, ‘Wenceslaus de Budovetz: First Protestant Missionary to the Mohammedans’, The Moslem World XVII (1927), pp. 401-4
  29. ^ A succinct account of these missions appears in Peter Y. De Jong. ‘Early Reformed Missions in the East Indies’, Mid-America Journal of Theology 6 (1990), pp. 33-74.
  30. ^ Frey, ‘John Calvin: Theologian and Evangelist’, p. 5.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.