Volume 49 - Issue 1

The Spiritual Utility of Calvin’s Correspondence during the Strasbourg Years

By Christopher Osterbrock


Calvin’s letters are no mere collection of personal correspondence but served him in his lifelong spiritual formation. Of note are those letters collected during his time in Strasbourg (1538–1541). This study argues for and assesses the unique spiritual utility of Calvin’s correspondence during the Strasbourg years. The reformer is observed in these letters examining himself, seeking counsel and companionship, and recording the evolution of his philosophy of ministry, all this while shepherding his French refugee church under Martin Bucer’s mentorship. Calvin’s letters evidence a desire for theological implication through reciprocated dialogue, which pastors and laypersons alike ought to consider.

“I Would Not Suffer Myself to Be Drawn Away from Writing to You.”
John Calvin to Willem Farel1

Reading the mail of significant figures is a long-treasured practice no matter the distance in time or difference in culture. Some of the most beloved letters among Reformed thinkers include those of John Calvin (1509–1564). Calvin’s correspondence reveals his inward meditations; he utilized letter-writing as a form of self-examination, both in the context of his friendships and his congregational affiliations.2 The goal of this essay is to isolate one particular season of such correspondence (the so-called Strasbourg years of 1538–1541) in order to identify how it impacted the theological development of Calvin.

While Calvin did not provide an explicit, overarching reason for his letter-writing, the subject matter contained within his extensive corpus allows for readers to infer a progression of theological and ecclesiological maturation. In the case of Calvin, this season served a greater purpose than mere correspondence for correspondence’s sake. Despite lacking an expressed pragmatic goal, Calvin clearly conveyed a desire for intimacy through the composition of letters. His growth as a theologian under the close shepherding of Martin Bucer (1491–1551) during the Strasbourg years proved to extend beyond the theoretical and blossomed into practicality, which was demonstrated through the network he amassed by paper and ink. The Christian community in which Bucer thrived comprised of a diverse blend of Reformed peoples—a group who, however counterintuitively, held to only what can be described as a “commonality of differences”: they welcomed sharing divergent opinions through constant communication.3 In these circumstances the practice of letter-writing coincided with a theological conviction of heterogeneous, intercongregational fellowship. It was into such a world that a young, teachable Calvin was plunged—swimming alongside Bucer in a fellowship that forced self-examination.

Calvin used this season to experience assurance through Christian communion while discerning his ministry calling. His correspondences, though not unique for the time, brought into focus the ecclesiological distinctives of Calvin’s faith. These aspects can be displayed first by noting the form of letters in the era and the utility of them for Calvin as it related to fellowship and spirituality. Through this dual utility, the significance of these letters becomes evident as it pertains to Calvin’s perseverance in exile. Finally, contours of Calvin’s theology during the Strasbourg season emerge from these considerations.

1. Calvin and the Utility of Correspondence

Broadly speaking, letter-writing in the 16th century was in the form of sharing news about oneself, similar to a modern newsletter.4 This was not intended as an academic or rhetorical device, but rather contained notable information and individualized appeals, typically being time-sensitive in nature. Calvin’s letters fit alongside the corpus of the sixteenth-century European style. As one author frames it, these were “highly context-sensitive [and] personal,” and yet they were also social interactions, with the expectation of response and further inquiry.5 Yet the purpose (or utility) as to why Calvin wrote during this period cannot be addressed simply by noting to whom he wrote (such as the frequency of his correspondence with William Farel [1489–1565]), nor can it be found by categorizing any one central dogma within the corpus—a faulty method for historical theology. A conclusion concerning the pragmatic component of Calvin’s writing, however, can be derived from two observations.

First, he had a perspective on the Christian community that influenced his desire to fellowship with those outside of his local church. Second, Calvin had a deeply analytical mind that found comfort in self-examination through unabashed honesty in the form of writing, both in sending and receiving forthright responses. This two-fold utility of fellowship and reflection were pervasive elements throughout. The tremendous blessing of Strasbourg (for Calvin’s sake) was the personal spiritual growth and corresponding perseverance he found through this highly personalized process, a process that, whether consciously or not, was impacted by Bucer’s community-driven, ecclesiological framework, even while in exile.

1.1. Intercongregational Fellowship

The context of Calvin’s Strasbourg letters presents a strange dichotomy. As Richard Muller notes: “his letters from those years reveal, his perturbation, particularly concerning his calling, took place in a context in which his ministry was well received, his pen productive, and his engagement with other Reformers … fruitful.”6 The time spent in Strasbourg is considered some of the best in all of Calvin’s life; it is where his theology was truly born.7 And yet, Calvin and Farel had fled Geneva on unpleasant and personally heartbreaking terms. Though Calvin had interactions with Bucer prior to this context, Farel was his only real personal connection outside of Geneva. But Farel had departed to Neuchatel while Calvin settled in Strasbourg. Despite this, Calvin affirmed God’s providence in these events. The exilic pressures served to steady him and polish the rough edges of his naïveté concerning ministry, which led to a surer and more resolved mindset. The complexities of Calvin being a refugee serving refugees led to a freedom to lead this church as he saw fit, thus nurturing within him a willingness to receive the advice of others.8

Alister McGrath articulates the consensus on Calvin’s context in Strasbourg: “it seems that this new confidence in his calling is to be attributed to the new sphere of ministry and literary activity to which he had been called.”9 In a statement that proved to be a comfort to both his Strasbourg and Genevan churches, Calvin writes in the French 1541 Institutes that “the universal church consists of the very many who agree with God’s truth and with the teaching of his word.”10 This language of a universal church is how Calvin conceives of all those local, “individual churches dispersed in various towns and villages.”11 His context in Strasbourg did not end his spiritual connection to the church in Geneva. Calvin and Farel both saw themselves in the community at Geneva, even if their proper ministry was in another location.12 As Bruce Gordon attests, their pattern of continued correspondence would actually lead Calvin back to a warm reception in Geneva in the future.13

Over the course of the Strasbourg years, Calvin not only wrote to Farel and the church in Geneva, but fervently sought out other Reformation-minded individuals, to whom he attached himself by pen and paper. Though Calvin acknowledged the convenience of letter-writing, he considered the enterprise an almost daunting task and even saw his own reluctance to participate stemming from what he perceived as the intimate nature and utility of his letters. He eventually garnered the motivation to write Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575):

I came to the conclusion that I must do now what I had too long delayed. What ought we rather, dear Bullinger, to correspond about at this time than the persevering and confirming, by every possible means in our power, brotherly kindness among ourselves? We see indeed of how much importance that is, not only on our own account, but for the sake of the whole body of professing Christians everywhere, that all those on whom the Lord has laid any personal charge in the ordering of his Church, should agree together in a sincere and cordial understanding.14

He persisted in this personal correction and conviction. Examining himself before Bullinger, he writes: “it is our duty carefully to cultivate friendly fellowship with all the ministers of Christ, so we must needs also endeavour by all the means we can.”15 Calvin also wished to grow a more intimate bond between Strasbourg and Zurich, which came about by the strengthening of his friendship with Bullinger: “I might wish there was a closer connection or rather relationship.”16 There is no doubt, then, that exchanging letters was the means for exercising spiritual connection. To that end, Calvin and Bucer agreed that the “Spirit’s bond of fellowship is determinative for the church.”17 This ecclesiological underpinning stirred ever more in what we see through Bucer’s concept of the christlichen Gemeinschaften (Christian communities), which certainly played a role in Calvin’s thinking (even if not sustainable in Strasbourg as a whole).18

The conceptual centrality of a disciplined community that held together, even if only exercised through pen and paper, can be further evidenced in his thought. Philip Benedict argues with brevity, “Calvin’s sojourn in Strasbourg was instrumental in shaping his thinking about ecclesiology.”19 This is not only based upon theological conviction, but—taking the point as argued above further—one can say that Calvin’s sojourn was shaped with practical conviction as seen through his letters. The letters, however, went beyond the building of bonds.

1.2. Personal Spirituality

Calvin’s understanding of personal piety was not individualistic, but ecclesial. Joel Beeke and Ray Pennings remark, “Growth in piety is impossible apart from the church, for piety is fostered by the communion of the saints. The community constrains believers,” and does so to the extent that they grow according to the love and gifts shared among one another.20 The letters of Calvin during his time in Strasbourg were one such means of achieving this social aspect of piety, wherein he explored his own innerworkings and pleaded for his friends to consider his thoughts alongside him. This spiritual concern led him both to ruminate on possible chastisement from the Lord as well as to discern whether his vocation in ministry was still evident from God.21

This practice was a vital mechanism that gave him the necessary outlet to share his mind and scrutinize his own behavior with Farel, in both an honest and edifying manner.22 Since Farel was the overwhelming recipient of Calvin’s mail throughout the Strasbourg years, a relationship emerged in likeminded ministry. Calvin was not shy to write tersely (or even at times rudely) to Farel, but he also wrote warmly, with Farel noting that Calvin had done so as if talking to himself.23 Likewise, Farel was prone to question Calvin and reproof him in personal ways. At one point it was implied that Farel had written in the same manner as Calvin when Farel had accused him of becoming too comfortable in Strasbourg and thus prone to “flatteries.”24

In a two-part letter, Calvin unpacked his thoughts on the state of the Reformation within the church, the current debates on doctrine, and his conversations with Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560). He did all this in a framework of quasi self-examination, yet he still desired Farel’s input on the matters. This continues the themes of friendship and intellectual refinement within the larger context of a unified, global church.25 He elaborated to Farel specific church affairs, personal confrontations between Melanchthon and Bucer, and even personal desires. Though he shared little concerning his ministry within the French refugee church during this season, his influence over those who return letters weighed heavy on Calvin’s soul as he examined how he would lead his part of reforming God’s kingdom on earth.

There were also lighter notes of exchange, such as Calvin expressing personal desires concerning matrimony when Bucer and Farel attempted to find him a wife. Calvin reminded Farel of the type of woman he would like to marry, saying that he would “speak more plainly” for their sake about a companion.26 Based on Calvin’s allusions it may also be inferred (about the nature of Farel’s letters) those things about which Calvin complained, proffered advice, and elicited clarity.27 In keeping with brutal honesty, Calvin shared his sickness report, freely discussing his dysentery and discomfort in sitting.28 As vital as these two considerations were, the aid from these correspondences went beyond fellowship and friendship and into real-world impact.

2. Letter-Writing as Key to Perseverance

At this point, one of the tangible benefits that Calvin received through his letter-writing becomes clear. Those internal exercises of spiritual examination and external endeavors to engage a mutual holiness led Calvin to practical employment of his theoretical ecclesiology—even if he had done so subconsciously. The desire to commune with other Christians was inextricably linked to self-analysis in Calvin’s heart, and thus the letters of those to whom he was spiritually connected produced perseverance. As means of his endurance in ministry, such letters solidified a familial connection for Calvin as a reformer among many reformers—and with it, a desire for experiencing greater connection with those co-laborers. Correspondence with Farel reveals these innerworkings of Calvin with clarity as he took refuge in Strasbourg.

To Geneva he wrote, “we have been called to the fellowship of this ministry among you,”29 and in one of Calvin’s earliest letters to Farel, he expressed his affection for Farel along with the anxieties he experienced ever since Farel had left him to go serve in Neuchatel. Calvin also included letters from Bucer seeking advice or shared considerations.30 Farel’s role as a confidant is seen in other occasions as well; for example, Farel had even asked Calvin to share the content of his letter and the response from Pierre Viret (1510–1571), demonstrating how typical it was for Calvin to seek wider counsel among his network of friends, and how intimate these relationships were even through long-distance correspondence.31

The last struggles in leaving Strasbourg were ceremonially written for Farel in August 1541. Calvin shared how feeble he felt in the work of reforming Geneva, but the letter also served as a spiritual journal for his internal wrestling with how the Spirit would use those with whom he was corresponding in order to understand God’s purpose. He begged, “I submit my will and affections … to the obedience of God; and whenever I am at a loss for counsel of my own, I submit myself to those by whom I hope that the Lord will speak to me.”32 Thus, he demonstrates a mutual union with Christ, as he would later expound upon how such a union is executed in an ecclesiological practice—nevertheless, these letter exhibit the personal development of the practicality of his union with Christ and correspondence with fellow believers.

As shown above, not only was letter-writing personally edifying, but Calvin’s correspondences served to network and organize those in ministry connected to him. As with Viret and Farel, even from Strasbourg (and at Geneva as soon as he arrived), Calvin’s writing helped to shape and affectionately cultivate the church in Neuchatel.33

Although exhaustion had begun to set in for Calvin, he had discovered a necessary key to perseverance in the practice of writing intimate letters to his friends and colleagues, an essential spiritual practice that increasingly gave him a resilience and purpose, that he “would not suffer to be drawn away from writing.”34

3. Theological Themes in Correspondence

Having observed the context, utility, and significance of letters in this reformer’s life, it becomes evident that Calvin did not practice letter-writing absent from theological implications. These implications can be identified in three particular contours, namely, Calvin’s views on friendship, the church, and the unifying power of faith.

3.1. Friendship

While Calvin believed that union with God brings an experiential knowledge of God, the nature of this union is not situated in some kind of personal monastery, in isolation from others. A perseverance rooted in regular correspondence was one way in which despondency, accrued through isolation, was blunted—particularly for him while ministering. The isolation felt during the Strasbourg years accentuated this facet of friendship for Calvin. He realized on a deeper level that to experience union with God is to be in union with God’s people. Developing a deeper bond in Christian friendship and mutual union with God, therefore, is the means by which one develops a greater sense of satisfaction in the circumstances of life. This stands in stark contrast to the worldly friendships that are devoid of the Divine component, as Calvin expressed when he said that Christ “will no more allow his believers to be estranged from him than that his members be rent and torn asunder.”35

3.2. The Church

As a functional shepherd for the flock of Geneva (though in Strasbourg, and while Farel was in Neuchatel) Calvin contended that he and Farel may, as a conduit of blessing, bind the people of Geneva to the pastors who were serving over their churches—with sincere and friendly affection.36 The fact that Calvin issued advice to the church of Geneva in absentia, reveals his mentality toward the church and the intimacy he felt for them, and the spiritual obligations of stewardship he felt for those churches. He was one who could instruct and appeal to them as an overseer from a distance. He wrote with what may be considered brazen spiritual authority, “I require you, in the first place, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that so far as may be, you will first of all weigh the matter in your mind, and without any hastiness of judgment. For since we all of us owe this on the score of charity to one another, that we may not rashly pass sentence against others.”37 His letter does not seem to be a mere suggestion but a bona fide spiritual charge, uneclipsed by distance or material means. He understood a bond of fellowship (and even a degree of authority) to remain intact, which is communicated via letter. The church was local, but also global. The way such a connection is possible is through his conception of the role of faith.

3.3. The Bond of Faith

Calvin believed that faith is gifted by “action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual believer,” yet is experienced and stirred in maturity through the life of the church and through the providential hand of God.38 Fellowship should not cease, even if miles apart, but ought rather be “gladly and wholeheartedly share[d] with one another, as far as occasion requires.” Again, although Calvin was apart from his Genevan congregation and his close friends, he desired this particular kind of fellowship with them—even if it had to be mediated through pen and paper, and not merely on “occasion” but as much as “special affection” required.39

Calvin expressed a certain expectation concerning the church with regard to this faith, namely, that through the favored communion gifted in Christ to the members of the church, even that which is invisible would be clearly demonstrated, as he writes: “it is signified this way, so that even though it is invisible to us, we recognize it no less, than if we could see it evidently.”40 He called upon the churches to evidence their union one with another, including with him and those at distance, as an evidence of their union with Christ. Even though Calvin was physically separated from those to whom he wrote, including those in Geneva, he held to a theological principle that “the union into which Jesus Christ draws his faithful people is of such a significance that they share together in all good things.”41

In their reciprocal letters, both Calvin and Bucer articulated a theological understanding of the church’s communion to be far more societal than what is often understood by personal faith: the community embraces Christ together. Although localized expressions will be observed (such as in the Lord’s Supper), such practices still in some sense remain seated in the universal community as a whole.42 Thus the foundation for Calvin and Bucer in writing to one another and relishing in the other’s insights (as well as the aforementioned cases of Farel and the Genevan congregation) is based upon this communal edification—even while Calvin pastored his small French refugee church. These letters give verification for the notion of a communion of the saints that exists beyond the walls of the local church, with sincere regard for piety within the individual. The interplay between the roles of local and universal fellowship is not resolved in this essay but could be explored further by considering Calvin’s apparent need for communion with others outside his proximity, constrained by a new community in a seeming personal exile.

4. Conclusion

Letter-writing as a discipline helped Calvin consider his words and his calling, preserved his connection to the ministry in Geneva, and kept his friendships flourishing both in Strasbourg and beyond. While he remained in Strasbourg for a short time, it was because of his correspondences that his return to Geneva was smooth and his partnership with the reformed ministries throughout Europe had yielded fruit—simply through the means of sincere words on paper. He noted to Bucer that he is “not unmindful” of the benefit and honor he received.43 The Strasbourg letters were a means of perseverance amidst the turmoil in his personal ministry, as well as for the development of a rich ecclesiology—in Calvin personally and in the future community of Geneva. Perhaps Calvin was not so far from the apostle Paul in the framework of his letter-writing, even if Calvin is not writing for the canon of Scripture.

Today, those who study the letters of Calvin and appropriate his thought for theological advantage are not “stealing” from the venerable scholar by procuring his mail. Rather, they are continuing this communal bond he saw through his correspondence united in faith, which remains true even for those temporally distant from Calvin. More investigation is needed concerning the nature of letter-writing within the framework of this reformer’s ecclesiology, as well as its relation to union in Christ and practical spiritual examination on the part of Christians.

[1] John Calvin, “XXX—To Farel,” in Tracts and Letters, reprint ed. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 4:112, written from Strasbourg, February 28, 1539.

[2] Richard A. Muller, The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 27.

[3] Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (New York: Penguin, 2003), 181–82.

[4] See James Daybell, Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 151–52. Though Daybell’s book draws specific attention to women in Tudor England, the research likewise proves the genre of letter writing was similar throughout 16th century Europe.

[5] Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti, “Letters and Letter Writing in Early Modern Culture: An Introduction,” Journal of Early Modern Studies 3 (2014): 29. Though the use of rhetorical, or polemic, literature may be observed accompanying letter writing, the distinction between personal letters and letter-type treatises should be obvious to the reader.

[6] Muller, The Unaccommodated Calvin, 27.

[7] Herman J. Selderhuis, John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 86–87. Selderhuis regards this time and this place as where “all the theological influences came together to form the Calvin—and Calvinism—known today.” Selderhuis’s biography is helpful in considering the Strasbourg letters, as it was written primarily from a synthesis of Calvin’s letters, even to the neglect of Calvin’s theological writings.

[8] Selderhuis, John Calvin, 89.

[9] Alister E. McGrath, A Life of John Calvin (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1990), 100.

[10] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Robert White, reprint ed. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2017), 264.

[11] Calvin, Institutes, trans. Robert White, 264.

[12] Matthieu Arnold, ed., John Calvin: The Strasbourg Years (1538–1541), trans. Felicity McNab (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2016), 30–31.

[13] Bruce Gordon, Calvin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 86.

[14] John Calvin, “XXXI—To Bullinger,” Tracts and Letters 4:113, written 12 March 1539.

[15] John Calvin, “XXXI—To Bullinger,” Tracts and Letters 4:114.

[16] Willem van ’t Spijker, “Bucer’s Influence on Calvin: Church and Community,” in Martin Bucer: Reforming Church and Community, ed. D. F. Wright (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 33.

[17] Spijker, “Bucer’s Influence on Calvin,” 33.

[18] Gottfried Hammann, “Ecclesiological Motifs Behind the Creation of the ‘Christlichen Gemeinschaften,’” in Martin Bucer: Reforming Church and Community, ed. D. F. Wright (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 134.

[19] Philip Benedict, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 84. Benedict notes that Bucer was already an influence upon Calvin’s thinking prior to the three years they were together in the close quarters of Strasbourg, but this season shows a particular distillation of Calvin’s understanding of church community.

[20] Joel R. Beeke and Ray Pennings, “Calvin the Revolutionary: Christian Living in a Fallen World,” in Calvin, Theologian and Reformer, eds. Joel R. Beeke and Garry J. Williams (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2010), 125, (109–36).

[21] Gordon, Calvin, 93, 95.

[22] Gordon, Calvin, 90–91. The subject matter here concerns Calvin, “XL—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:151–57, written 8 October 1539.

[23] For example, see this language used in both “XL—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters 4:157; and “XLIV—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:171, written 6 February 1540.

[24] Calvin, “LIV—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:212, written 27 October 1540. “You allege that I am too nice and delicate, and after having been daubed with these flatteries [from the French refugee church and from Bucer], cannot now bear with patience to hear any harsher sound.” This referring to Farel calling Calvin to return to Geneva and handle the conflicts unavoidable in the Swiss community.

[25] Calvin, “XXXII—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:116; “XXXIII—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:128, “Fearing lest the further delay of my writing to you might be inconvenient, I chose to forward a part or portion of the letter rather than to keep you waiting….” Both the above letters were presumably written at the same time, 15 March 1539.

[26] Calvin, “XXXVI—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:141, written 19 May 1539.

[27] Calvin, “XLIII—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:170, written 31 December 1539.

[28] Calvin, “LII—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:205, written in October 1540. For those who desire to learn of Calvin’s dysentery, see “XXVI,” Tracts and Letters, 4:90, written October 1538.

[29] Calvin, “XXV—To the Church of Geneva,” Tracts and Letters, 4:83, written 1 October 1538.

[30] Calvin, “XXII—To William Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:74–76, written 4 August 1538.

[31] Calvin, “XLVI—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:182, written May 1540. Calvin likewise writes to Viret to share how he has explored his decision regarding Geneva with Farel at length, see “LXI—To Viret,” Tracts and Letters, 4:230, written 1 March 1541. He says, “I therefore left … to write to Farel and let him understand what were my thoughts.”

[32] Calvin, “LXXIII—To Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:281. He notes in this letter that he spoke with Bucer and they jointly sent letters to the overseers in Strasbourg.

[33] Gordon, Calvin, 150–51. Gordon notes, Calvin’s 1541 letters, shortly after arriving back in Geneva and beyond, are noted as being read and moderated by Viret.

[34] Calvin, “XXX—Farel,” Tracts and Letters, 4:109, written 28 February 1539.

[35] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006), 4.1.3.

[36] Calvin, “XXXVII—To the Church of Geneva,” Tracts and Letters, 4:143, written 25 June 1539. This letter shows Calvin’s continued overseeing hand in the spiritual concern for Geneva while pastoring his French refugee flock.

[37] Calvin, “XXXVII—To the Church of Geneva,” Tracts and Letters, 4:147.

[38] Dennis E. Tamburello, Union with Christ: John Calvin and the Mysticism of St. Bernard (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994), 17.

[39] Calvin, Institutes 3.20.38.

[40] Jean Calvin, Institution De La Religion Chrestienne: Texte De La Première Edition Française, ed. Abel Lefranc, reprint ed. (Paris: Librairie Honore Champion, 1911), 269. Original text: “…en cela il nous est signifié, qu’il ne nous la faut point moins recognostre, quand elle nous est invisible, que si nous la voyons évidemment.”

[41] Calvin, Institutes, trans. Robert White, 262.

[42] Spijker, “Bucer’s Influence on Calvin,” 34, 38.

[43] Calvin, “LXXVIII—To Bucer,” Tracts and Letters, 4:293, written 15 October 1541.

Christopher Osterbrock

Christopher Osterbrock is senior pastor at First Baptist Church Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and a PhD student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

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