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John Calvin in Geneva

23. January 2017

Features, Theme Articles,

  —Richard C. Gamble

Evangelization of Geneva

Conversion can only come after someone has heard the gospel, and it was through the evangelistic preaching of William Farel that many in Geneva had come to know salvation by grace alone through faith alone. They learned that no amount of human merit could save them, only Christ’s completed work of redemption.

In Geneva, Switzerland, as in other European cities during the Reformation, people from every walk of life became Christian. From the bottom levels of society to the ruling classes, hearts were warmed by the Holy Spirit’s power. The transformed Genevan citizens were hungering and thirsting for more and more instruction from God’s Word. They had never really heard it preached before, and now their ears were unstopped and an insatiable hunger developed. It was in this time of need when the young scholar John Calvin would be especially valuable to the new converts.

Hostility Toward Calvin

When the Genevan Reformation occurred, the lives of those who had been enslaved to sin began to change. Thievery and lawlessness decreased throughout the city. Eventually there was a cry from the people for the cessation of certain wicked activities like prostitution.

While the Reformation was swirling around about them, and was producing welcome fruit in the lives of their neighbors, there were those who did not have the ears to hear the good news. Their lifestyles began to be ...

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