“The Care of Souls: John Calvin’s Shepherding Ministry”

Many Christians today have distinct impressions of who John Calvin was, but most have never read a single line from the Institutes or his Commentaries on the Bible. In brief, the reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) has been misinterpreted, misread, and misunderstood. He is, perhaps, best known for his views on predestination and his role in the prosecution of Michael Servetus. But none of these disconnected pieces of information can demonstrate, in my opinion, the true character of the man. And so, who really was John Calvin? Hughes O. Old states that, “John Calvin is chiefly remembered as a biblical scholar and a systematic theologian.” It is clear that Calvin distinguished himself through his theological writing. However, he was also the preeminent pastor of the city of Geneva during the Reformation. John T. McNeill notes, “Jean Daniel Benoit, the expert on Calvin’s work in the cure of souls, states boldly that the Genevan Reformer was more pastor than theologian, that, to be exact, he was a theologian in order to be a better pastor. In his whole reforming work he was a shepherd of souls.” Thus, it is Calvin’s role as a “shepherd of souls” that will be explored in this paper.

1 thought on ““The Care of Souls: John Calvin’s Shepherding Ministry””

  1. Good idea but already done
    Scott Manetsch’s recent book on the company of Pastors focuses on the role of shepherding. Any paper on this topic should refer to this work and interact with it.


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