When the world turns away from truth, if takes Reformers who love God and know His word to point the way back. Swimming up stream against the popular ideas is always met with obstacles and can be very dangerous. John Calvin is one man who would not rest until the world ran back to God.
John was born in France at a time when the leaders of the Church had been tricked by some bad ideas. They had forgotten that the Bible is the only book with answers to our questions about God and instead began to believe that one man, the Pope, had all the answers and that no one should ever disagree. This kind of problem became bigger because the Pope and his followers did there best to keep the word of God in a language that the common people could not understand; Latin.
John Calvin's father sent John to school Paris to become a priest. In school John learned to read and understand Latin, making him able to read the word of God. As he read the Bible, as well as books written by another reformer (Martin Luther), Calvin began to see the error in the doctrines of the Catholic Church.
His first work to help advance the reformation was his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Though at the time, Calvin was merely a young and passionate reformer, The institutes became a seminal work. This book put him on the radar of the Roman Catholic Church and caused him to flee France, making his way toward Strasburg. God has other plans for Calvin.
When Calvin has stopped in Geneva for the night, a preacher named Guillaume Farel, who had read Calvin's institutes, found out that he was there. He searched for Calvin and when he found him he requested his aid in Geneva. Calvin, who wanted to live the rest of his life writing for the reformation, refused the pastors request. Farel was persistent and even said that God would curse Calvin's quiet study if he refused to help. Calvin, fearing the wrath of God, moved to Geneva, Switzerland and began to teach the Bible, and organize the massive Protestant church of Geneva.
For two years, Calvin and Farel pastored together in Geneva, but after a disagreement with the magistrates over Calvin's code of conduct for Geneva, they were forced to flee. Calvin finally made it to Strasbourg during his exile form Geneva and pastored a church. While pastoring in Strasbourg, Calvin wrote many of his commentaries, and also expanded his Institutes.
He was welcomed back to Geneva when the magistrates has accepted his code of conduct. After this, Calvin's influence was so deep that he was able lead a Geneva-wide movement toward piety and faithfulness. Calvin died on May 27, 1564, in Geneva.
Calvin's gift to the reformation and to the church was a passion for the Glory of God and an affection for His word.