Tag Archives: reformer

10 People Who Influenced John Calvin

Why would a young man with a bent for the quiet life of literature open himself up to the turmoil of the 16th Century Reformation?

One word…


Discover ten people who influenced and guided the life of one of history’s most important Christian figures.

1. Gerard Cauvin

Calvin’s father wanted his son to join the priesthood, but upon a breakdown with the church he recommended his son study law. Calvin faithfully submitted.

2. Martin Cordier

French schoolmaster who taught Calvin Latin and stoked his love for a literary life.

3. Nicholas Cop

Late 1533, Cop devoted his inaugural address–an address Calvin influenced–as rector of  to renewal and reform in the Catholic Church. The Church denounced the address as heretical. Cop and Calvin fled Paris.

4. William Farel

Fellow French Reformer living in Geneva, Switzerland, who persuaded Calvin to stay and assist in reforming the church there, circa 1536. Calvin faithfully submitted.

5. Martin Bucer

German Reformer who invited Calvin to  in Strasburg, Germany. Many reforms Calvin implemented in Geneva–like the liturgy and church organisation–were originally developed in Strasburg.

6. Calvin’s Friends

Caught up in his studies, Calvin forgot to marry, so close friends recommended Idelette de Bure as a suitable wife. Calvin was 30.

7. Idelette de Bure

Anabaptist widow with children married Calvin in August 1540. They were married for 8 years before she died.  About Idelette , “I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life, of one who, had it been so ordered, would not only have been the willing sharer of my indigence, but even of my death.”

8. Martin Luther

Calvin wrote a catechism during his first stay in Geneva which was largely based on Martin Luther’s Large Catechism.

9. Micahel Servetus

Spanish theologian who pulled out the worst in Calvin. When , Calvin had him arrested as a heretic. Servetus was eventually burned alive.

10. Lorem Ipsum

My name for the person or people who convinced Calvin to become a Reformer. To date, Calvin’s conversion to Reformation theology is a mystery.

Naturally, such a short post can’t do justice for a giant like Calvin. But hopefully this will provoke your appetite to learn more about this great Reformer who turned 500 this year.

Now, who did I miss? Anybody you can think of who influenced Calvin that I didn’t mention? Share your thoughts.