John Calvin was the leading pastor of the city-state of Geneva in the formative years of the sixteenth-century Reformation. A foreigner and exile, who became a pastor against his natural inclinations in response to God's call through William Farel and Martin Bucer, Calvin's ministry transformed an unimportant city of small-town burghers into a powerful witness for religious reform. Not only was Geneva itself reformed, but it also became "the most perfect school of Christ that ever was on the earth since the days of the apostles," in the words of John Knox, one of the many refugees and visitors who was inspired by the piety of Calvin's Geneva and spread its influence across Europe.
Calvin the theologian is well known as an historical figure. However, modern readers for whom theology sounds like a rather esoteric subject might wonder how that intellectual "ivory tower man" could have reshaped people and communities and nations. Perhaps the most important key to the influence Calvin's thought is the fact that it was wedded to his piety, and the two sides of the one spiritual movement gave significant form and vitality to the Reformed tradition. This volume introduces the main facets of Calvin's piety, including both his personal religious experience and his pastoral ministry and spiritual direction.