The Legacy of John Calvin
David W Hall
P & R Publishing (2008), Pbk, 112 pages
An excellent little book published in the run up to the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin in July ’09.
Have you ever seen the Monty Python scene where the Jewish zealots are asking, “What have the Romans ever done for us?”? This book reminds me of it. I can imagine lots of people who might ask in the same spirit, “What has John Calvin ever done for us?” Well, David Hall lists the lasting legacy of John Calvin in Geneva for the western world, and it is pretty substantial.
Many of the things we consider as ‘givens’ of our day were not before Calvin. Geneva was the source of many great ideas we take for granted. In fact Hall states that for the 100 years or so after his death, Calvin was, by head and shoulders, the most influential man in Europe.
Add this to a brief account of his life and a string of appreciative testimonies of writers from various Christian evangelical traditions and you have an excellent little primer on Calvin which whet one’s appetite for more.
The only minor drawback is that it is written from an American perspective with lots of references to the Republic.