Saturday, February 28, 2009

Calvin on Missions

Our Sunday School class has been considering a series of lectures titled "The Provocative Church" Graham Tomlin. A couple of weeks ago he began to address the Reformer's lack of missionary effort. He did come back around to explaining that their theology provides a healthy foundation for missiology, but nonetheless, he gave the impression that Calvin and others were too concerned about existing churches to put much effort into establishing new churches.

Well, a number of years ago I attended a lecture at RTS (Charlotte) presented by Dr. Frank James on the topic of Calvin and Missions. This was wonderfully eye opening. Afterwards, I did a bit of research to follow up on this matter. I'm no scholar, and I don't have access to Calvin's correspondence, which is where James found the bulk of support for his lectures, but I did find some information on the missionary endeavor to Rio de Janeiro. Here are some links to a handful of articles on the subject.

The lecture I heard is titled "The Calvin I Never Knew." You can download the audio files at itunes ( There are four parts.

Here is another article by Dr. Frank James - "Calvin the Evangelist."

Dr. Michael Haykin, a Reformed Baptist and church historian, has an (archived) article at Reformation21 on Calvin and missions.

See also Ray Van Neste's "John Calvin on Evangelism and Missions" in the Founders Journal and Henry R. Van Til's The Calvinistic Concept of Culture, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1959), page 93.

Here are a handful of links lifted from Timmy Brister's blog:

John Calvin and Missions: A Historical Study by Scott J. Simmons

John Calvin's Missionary Influence in France by Michael Haykin (Reformation & Revival vol. 10 no. 4 [Fall 2001])

John Calvin and His Missionary Impulse by Erroll Hulse

John Calvin the Church Planter (doc) by Frank James