Here is an excerpt from my paper on Calvin for the Bristol & Clifton Protestant League at Buckingham Chapel, Bristol on Saturday 26th September, 2.30pm.
I hope it will become more than evident in the couse of this address that John Calvin and what he stood for is relevant for us today. But there is always a danger in trying to make a figure in history ‘relevant’ to present day issues. After all Calvin was born half a millennium ago. His concerns as a man of the sixteenth century are not necessarily the pressing concerns of today’s church. We must be careful not to make Calvin an artificial debating partner in 21st century arguments. Would Calvin have had a telly? What might he have thought about the Credit Crunch? What may be Calvin’s take on the implications of Globalisation for the mission of the church? Who knows? I certainly don’t. But the great thing about Calvin is that he transcends his own time because his life and thought were radically shaped by the living and active Word of God. He was not often sidetracked from the big and central themes of biblical revelation. If Calvin has relevance for us today it is because his teaching brings us back to what the Holy Spirit is saying in Scripture.