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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Calvin at 500

What does his legacy mean for Lutherans today?

What a difference a century makes. In 1909, the 400th birthday of John Calvin was celebrated in his city of Geneva with plans for the International Monument of the Reformation. On this famous “Reformers’ Wall,” his austere, larger-than-life statue clearly communicates the view that he was the most prominent hero among the men who had brought “light after darkness.”

John Calvin (1509-1564)/erich lessing/art This year the Swiss city again is marking an important birthday for Calvin — but this time the events have many organizers and perspectives. Film festivals join psalm festivals, and there are commemorative chocolates as well as commemorative worship services. And the events extend not only beyond Geneva but beyond Europe, as heirs of Calvin’s influence on every continent present their views of what his vision for a renewed and reinvigorated church might mean now — for the world church and for the entire world.


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