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Yesterday (August 13) was the 477th anniversary of a small but symbolic event in Reformation history. On that date in 1541 John Calvin returned to Geneva from Strasbourg, where he had been a happy exile for about three years. On his first Sunday back in the pulpit in Geneva, as he later recalled, he gave a brief account of his ministry, so that the people in St. Pierre would not think that he been voluntarily neglecting them and his ministry, and then he resumed preaching just where he had left off 3 years earlier. This was intentional. He did not crow. He just returned to his ministry of Word, sacrament, and discipline.
Technically, he was only on temporary loan from Strasbourg but he never returned to Strasbourg, where he had been pastoring a French-speaking congregation. He was exiled from Geneva because he tried to reform their worship and church discipline according to the Word of God. This was, he thought, the reason they had called him to the ministry there in the first place but the influential, old-money families, whose names are still on the street signs (in the old city) in Geneva today, found that the reforms he proposed would mean that they would lose control over the churches and that some of them would find themselves excluded from the Lord’s Table for gross immorality—because that is just what Calvin, Farel, and the other ministers proposed to do.
Exile - Word - Calvin - Years - Strasbourg
Exile is a misleading word to describe Calvin’s three years in Strasbourg. It is a beautiful city. He had warm fellowship with Bucer, a humanist and Reformed theologian, who had become a Protestant at Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (1518). By the time Calvin joined him he had been thinking about and seeking to implement Reformation for 30 years. Bucer was a senior figure in...
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