Sometimes it seems as if every message we hear is shouted and that we’re supposed to think that everything that happens is “huge.” Some are and some aren’t. Opportunities to learn and grow should be judged by their inherent worth, not by the amount of noise made about them. Few figures in Western history, however, are as significant as John Calvin. Love him or hate him he changed the world. Calvin is on any reasonable list of the most important and least understood figures in world history. Without him much of the history of the last five hundred years makes no sense. He influenced our theology, our politics, our church polity, our language, and our culture. This is what I mean by “inherent worth.” Calvin is a figure intrinsically worth considering, especially for those who identify with the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition.
Every hundred years arrives a centennial that provides the opportunity to reconsider Calvin. A century ago, giants in the Reformed faith such as B. B. Warfield were marking the 400th anniversary of Calvin’s birth. Some of literature that came out of that celebration is still read today. 2009 is the five-hundredth anniversary of Calvin’s birth giving us opportunity to reckon with Calvin once again.
WSC is proud to kick off the celebration with our annual January conference Calvin’s Legacy: Reforming the Church Today. The conference features addresses by Bob Godfrey, Mike Horton, Hywel Jones, Steve Baugh, and yours truly. The conference will remember Calvin but it will do more than that. At his request Calvin’s grave is unmarked. His legacy is his preaching, writing, and work for the Reformation of Christ’s Church according to God’s Word. So, in this conference, we will honor that legacy not by making more of Calvin than we should but by making much of Christ, his Word, and his revealed will for his church.
If you register before 1 December the cost of the conference is only $45.00. After 1 December it’s still only $55. Plan now and register early because the conferences registration fills up quickly and people are turned away every year. The conference begins on friday evening with an address by Bob Godfrey, “Calvin: Why He Still Matters,” and concludes early Saturday afternoon with a Q&A session following Bob’s second address, “Calvin the Friendly Reformer.” In between those bookends, I’ll speak on “Calvin and Worship,” Steve Baugh will speak on “Calvin and Bible Interpreter,” Mike Horton will speak on “Calvin on Law and Gospel,” and Hywel Jones will speak on “Calvin and Preaching.”