Calvin and Mission?

So you’ve heard it, “The Reformers didn’t do missions.” I’ve heard it. I believed it. I defended it by saying that they were busy with other things and couldn’t do it all. Well it turns out that it just isn’t true. From a very old edition of St. Anne’s Pub comes this (1MB MP3). Proof that Calvin actually did send out missionaries and was interested in sending out more.

This is good news. The Reformation and the Reformers were the most thorough Biblicists, examining and applying the Word to life and the Church. For them to somehow miss missions is inconceivable. 1Yes, the word does mean what I think it means. I’m glad to hear that they didn’t.

Added: Here is the article they refer to in the MP3.

Update: MP3 link is fixed (sorry Cartee!)

1 Yes, the word does mean what I think it means.
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  • When Calvin sent missionaries back to France they sold all of their property beforehand because they knew they were going to die. But Calvinsits aren’t really that mission oriented right? Not so says history.

  • I don’t know. William Carey, father of the modern missions movement, was a Calvinists. John G. Patton, missionary to the New Hebrides, was a Calvinist. Adonirum Judson, missionary to Burmah, was a Calvinist. David Brainard, missionary to the American Indians, Calvinist. Jonathan Edwards, Calvinist. George Whitefield, Calvinist. John Piper who sends a lot of missionaries, Calvinist.

    There are many unnamed Calvinistic missionaries today in the field. I think detractors of Calvinism make the statement that Calvinists are not missionaries. I don’t think history bears it out.

  • finally! vindication for Calvinists …. :)
    I appreciate the piece, Tim, and the pointer to the mp3.

    As Piper says, “If you aren’t doing missions, you probably aren’t a real Calvinist!”

  • dude. The RTS post is still up, but the audio at St. Annes seems to be down. Know where else to get it?

  • […] A while ago, I pointed to some information on Calvin as a missionary supporter and sender. Michael Haykin, a Reformed Baptist and church historican, has an article at Reformation21 on the same issue. Again, it is really helpful and refreshing to see that Calvin was not apathetic towards missions as the caricatures that have been painted of him have held. Cat:  […]

  • […] I can see huge omissions from the work of the reformers, such as a theology of cross-cultural missions and much more. – Well, sort of, at least on the missions thing. Three comments here: 1) They were a product of the Sixteenth Century and the prevelent method of mission didn’t look like the Modern Missions Movement of the Ninteenth Centruy. 2) They were busy reclaiming the gospel of grace. You kind of have to do that before you can carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. 3) They did too. […]

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