July 10, 2009 marks the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s first birth. To commemorate the occasion, Princeton Seminary has published a public one year reading plan that also includes an audio/ podcast format designed to complete Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion over the course of the year (RSS link). A ‘Public is Welcome’ sign has been hung out at a discussion forum set up for those in the Presbytery of New Brunswick who will be reading the Institutes in ’09. That may be fun to check in on from time to time. Finally, Douglas Wilson at Blog and Mablog will be posting study/discussion questions in sync with the Princeton daily readings.
It seems that John Calvin was a bit reluctant to talk about himself in any detail and I couldn’t find a specific date he was born again. Several commentaries I have read places that event sometime between 1527 and (November 1) 1533 however about that event Calvin wrote this in his Preface to the Psalms:
“God in His secret providence finally curbed and turned me in another direction. At first, although I was so obstinately given to the superstitions of the papacy, that it was extremely difficult to drag me from the depths of the mire, yet be a sudden conversion He tamed my heart and made it teachable, this heart which for its age was excessively hardened in such matters.”
It is my prayer that the Lord uses the occasion of the celebration of John Calvin’s 500th First-Birth day in 2009 to allow many others to experience that same taming which can only come from Above through the second birth.