Today I was looking for a quote about Calvin’s love for France. I found this article about John Calvin on training Missionaries for France by Keith Coleman.
Here’s a delicious excerpt:
Calvin, however, did not want to send uneducated missionaries back to the dangers of Catholic France. He believed that a good missionary had to be a good theologian first. And so he inspired and educated them. He trained them theologically, tested their preaching ability, and carefully scrutinized their moral character. Calvin and the Genevan Consistory sent properly trained missionaries back to France to share the Gospel.
Calvin did not just educate them and send men back to France. These missionaries did not just become photographic memories on Calvin’s refrigerator door. On the contrary, Calvin remained intimately involved in all that they were doing….
Concrete information exists from the year 1555 onwards. The data indicate that by 1555, there were five underground Protestant churches in France. By 1559, the number of these Protestant churches jumped to more than one hundred. And scholars estimate that by 1562 there were more than 2,150 churches established in France with approximately three million Protestant souls in attendance.
This can only be described as an explosion of missionary activity, detonated in large part by the Genevan Consistory and other Swiss Protestant cities. Far from being disinterested in missions, history shows that Calvin was enraptured by it.
So even as Geneva had become a center for refugees and, in truth, a missionary hub, Calvinism and the gospel spread throughout Europe. In France, for example, the Reformed church grew from 100 in 1555 to 2150 by 1562. “From 1555 to 1562 we know for sure that 88 preachers were sent from Geneva into France. Of these, nine laid down their lives as martyrs. There may have been more than 88.
I find this encouraging and exciting. I hope you do to!
Grace and peace,