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John Calvin, Missionary and Church Planter

So it will come about that, whoever we come across, we shall study to make him a sharer of peace…even severe rebuke will be administered like medicine, lest they should perish or cause others to perish. But it will be for God to make it effective in those whom He foreknew and predestined.

And let every man be sure to lock it up securely in his own heart. But it is not enough to have an eye to his own salvation, but the knowledge of God must shine generally throughout the whole world.

Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake of salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and no to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations. That God wishes the doctrine of salvation to be enjoyed by them as well as others, is evident from the passages already quoted, and from other passages of a similar nature…Now the duty arising: out of that love which we owe to our neighbor is, to be solicitous and to do our endeavor for the salvation of all whom God includes in his calling, and to testify this by godly prayers.

This was not just something he briefly mentioned during his teaching on the letter of 1 Timothy, Calvin taught on the importance and necessity of evangelism and missions from the Old Testament as well. For we see how great is the obstinacy of nearly all men, and what numerous and powerful methods of resistance Satan employs; so that, in short, all the ways of access to these principles are obstructed. Yet it behooves individuals to do their duty, and not to yield to impediments; and, finally, our endeavors and our labors shall by no means fail of that success, which is not yet apparent.

This is why the gospel is today proclaimed throughout the world, for God wished to testify to all the ages that he is greatly inclined to pity. Not only did Calvin teach that evangelism was a necessary, God-ordained duty for believers and that the gospel was to be preached to all peoples, but he also practiced it as well.

Seen & Heard

He evangelized to his congregation, and the city of Geneva and the complete transformation of the city is well documented. This gospel transformation of Geneva led by Calvin resulted in much evangelism and reform throughout Europe.

Calvin sought to harness the energies and gifts of many of the religious refugees so as to make Geneva central to the expansion of Reformation thought and piety throughout Europe. This meant training and preparing many of these refugees to go back to their native lands as evangelists and reformers. Calvin personally taught many of these men, and they were sent back to their homeland as pastors, evangelists, reformers, and missionaries knowing that death and martyrdom were likely.

Most the refugees that went back home after being in Geneva were French. Calvin never forgot his home country and was concerned for the evangelization of his homeland.

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Four years later, there were almost a hundred. Three years later, the number had reached 2, with a total membership estimated at 3 million out of a total population of 20 million.

John Calvin

Calvin was a spiritual father and pastor for many of these church planters and did all that he could to encourage and support them. Five young French pastors, who were trained in Lausanne, Switzerland, were caught as they tried to get back to France to start a ministry.

Calvin wrote this to them when he learned of their imprisonment:. We took care that help might be sent you with all speed, and are now awaiting the result.

John Calvin: Comeback Kid

Meanwhile all the children of God pray for you as they are bound to do, not only on account of the mutual compassion which ought to exist between member of the same body, but because they know well that you labor for them by maintain the cause of their salvation. We hope, come what may, that God will give a happy issue to your captivity, so that we shall have reason to rejoice. Calvin continued to write to them during their imprisonment to encourage their faith. Brully survived in the Netherlands for three months before he was martyred by the Catholics. France was the economic and military powerhouse of the day.

go to site But it was also staunchly Catholic and active in putting down Protestantism. In fact, Calvin and many other French Protestants were religious refugees who had fled their homeland to escape persecution. In order for this to happen, Calvin knew that Christians had to take the gospel into this hostile country since God uses the preaching of the gospel to accomplish his sovereign purpose. Knowing that God used the preaching of the gospel to convert sinners and establish churches, Calvin and the other leaders from Geneva sent out many young church planters who would be able they hoped to escape the Catholic authorities and start Protestant fellowships.

Therefore, they intentionally withheld the names of many missionaries in order to protect their identity and their ministries. Reid, ed.