Adam Neder, “The Humanness of Calvin” – Part 6 / Conclusion

[Ed. note: Adam Neder is associate professor of theology at Whitworth University, a graduate of PTS, an author, and a friend of DET.]

Concluding Observation

OK, I’d like to wrap up with one final observation.

The longer I reflect on Calvin’s personality, the clearer it becomes to me that he was, above all, a man of truth. And the more I think about it, the more convicted I become by the possibility that at least part of the reason we’re not attracted to him is because, unlike us, he simply refused to fake friendship for political reasons. He was so repulsed by duplicity and hypocrisy that he resolved never to pretend to be someone’s friend when he really wasn’t.

The drawbacks to that way of relating to people are perfectly obvious, but the motivation for Calvin’s honesty is entirely praiseworthy. It was because he regarded friendship as such a great gift and blessing from God that he refused to degrade it with insincerity and feigned kindness. In most Christian contexts, that way of operating just wouldn’t fly. But it’s hard not to respect Calvin’s courage and the clarity of his perception that of all God’s gifts to us, close friendship is certainly one of the best.

So let me suggest that we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth in an unconventional way. For the rest of the year, whenever we think of Calvin, or even better, as we’re reading one of his books, let us allow his memory to be an occasion for us to praise God for the incomparable blessing of friendship. Calvin was always uneasy with memorials, but I think even he would be pleased with that way of celebrating his life and legacy.


[Ed.: Thank you, Adam!]


Great lecture/blog series! Thanks for this, Adam.
Bobby Grow said…
Yes, thank you Adam; this was good stuff!
Adam, thanks for donating this gem to the internet. It still shocks me just how few decent biographies we have about Calvin. The purported bloodlessness of Calvin may have to do far more with his followers than with the man himself, I suspect. In any case, your portrait goes a long way to remedying the situation.

We had Dr. Scott Manetsch come speak to us at the Calvin and Current Calvinisms conference in Sioux Falls, SD. Your presentation is entirely consonant with his, so I would commend his work to you if you pursue a Calvin biography any further.

Again, thanks for these marvelous posts!
Kevin Hargaden said…
This was a great series and I really appreciate you guys sharing it!

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