David McKay, ‘The Missionary Zeal of Calvin’ (4 Nov 2008)

The Missionary Zeal of Calvin
Lecture given at the European Conference of the ICRC
Soest (NL) November 4, 2008

Prof. David McKay

In the minds of many people the words ‘missionary’ and ‘Calvin’ have little or no association with each other. When they think of John Calvin, the last thing they think about is a man characterised by missionary zeal. Even scholars who ought to know better share this outlook. For some, the (supposed) problem is the character of Calvin himself. Others, whose evaluation of Calvin would be much more positive, nevertheless argue that in practice he, like many of the other Reformers, took little interest in mission. In this paper we argue that in fact Calvin was a man who manifested great missionary zeal, contrary to the views which we have just noted. Our response will consider two issues; the practical expression of Calvin’s missionary zeal, and the theological foundations of Calvin’s missionary zeal.

Read the conference paper