This book consists of two open letters by the young John Calvin to evangelical believers who desired to stay and work within the Roman Catholic Church.
The first letter exposes the idolatry involved in the Mass, while the second denounces the papal abuses of the pastoral office of the church. Together, they form a resounding call for the necessity of a thoroughgoing Reformation.
This translation from David C. Noe makes the two letters available together for the first time in English. Noe also provides a helpful introduction to Calvin’s early life and the problem of evangelical believers remaining in the Roman Catholic Church.
This book does not merely provide a helpful view of how Calvin believed the moderate French reform movement should decide between God and the worship of false prophets. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the abiding significance of the need for reformation.
Table of Contents:
Foreword – Bruce Gordon
The First Letter: We Must Flee the Forbidden Rites of the Wicked, and Maintain the Purity of the Christian Faith
The Second Letter: The Christian Man’s Obligation Either to Fulfill or Renounce the Priestly Offices of the Papal Church
‘Brought together here for the first time in English are two of the most important public letters by the young John Calvin. Not yet the titan of the Reformation he would one day become-indeed, not yet truly famous but already here significant. These letters brim with passion; here we see the young John Calvin still finding his voice. But with a voice in tones both passionate and reflective, Calvin emerges from these pages as an acute reader of people and their plights. First published together in 1537 and meant to be paired, this fresh and vibrant translation finally brings them together for readers in English and adds depth and dimension to a man too often caricatured.’ — David M. Whitford, professor of Reformation studies, Baylor University
‘Two of the most significant texts penned by the young John Calvin are now available in English, thanks to this wonderful and meticulously annotated translation by David Noe. These two letters, written with a wide audience in mind, lay out Calvin’s understanding of the essence of genuine Christian worship and his adamant opposition to compromise and dissembling. As the detailed introduction and foreword make eminently clear, these texts are indispensable for anyone who wants to understand how Calvin’s theological consistency made it possible for Reformed churches to flourish and succeed in the face of persecution.’ — Carlos M. Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
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