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THE HUMANNESS OF JOHN CALVIN: The Reformer as a Husband, Father, Pastor & Friend
Richard Stauffer, translated by George Shriver


"This little book is one of a kind. Written by a careful historian and Swiss pastor, it draws on Calvin's correspondence and other records of the time to give a strong impression of what the reformer was like as a person, in his family life, in his close friendships, and in his sympathy and generosity as a pastor." - Rev. Sherman Isbell

"I shall never forget the impact of this small work on my own estimation of Calvin: it completely re-oriented my perspective on the French Reformer, and now, thanks to Solid Ground Christian Books, it can do the same for you. Read on, prepare to be challenged and rejoice that God raises up such historians for the blessing of the Church." - Dr. Michael Haykin

"In the early years of my first pastorate I read the excellent biographies of Calvin by T. H. L. Parker, and Emanuel Stickelberger. At the same time I acquired Calvin's letters and the splendid little study which you now hold in your hands. Already convinced of the humanness of Calvin I considered Richard Stauffer's study to be unique in demonstrating this dimension of the great theologian. Beyond its value as an historical polemic, it provides a marvelous example to all who would be faithful pastors and theologians. The best response to detractors is the Christ-like example which Calvin left us." - Rev. Gregory Reynolds

Through the nearly 450 years since his death, John Calvin has been portrayed by his critics - Protestant as well as Catholic - as a cold, ruthless fanatic. This distorted characterization, for the most part, remains today. What was this man really like? An unfeeling, gloomy monster or a saint untouched by the common problems which beset lesser men?

The author examines Calvin's personal correspondence and reveals him as a man capable of human mistakes and weaknesses, and yet, a deeply dedicated, sensitive individual undeserving of the years of vilification. This book, available here in English, for the first time in over 35 years, considers John Calvin from a personal standpoint. The excellent preface by Calvin-scholar John T. McNeill, carefully noted resources, brevity, readability, and human interest make this a biography for scholars and laymen alike.

"On the occasion of the appearance of this English edition (in 1971), I would like to share a hope and a memory. The hope: that the portrait of Calvin as husband and father, friend and pastor, which I have tried to paint on these pages, might show more than one reader the true stature of the Genevan Reformer, who is also one of the spiritual fathers of the founders of the United States. The memory: when I was a student in New York and assisted in worship in the small French Church of the Holy Spirit, I never failed to be moved upon reading on the walls of the sanctuary the names of the Huguenot families which had found refuge in the New World. At that time I could not help thinking (and it is still my belief to this day) that these witnesses of the faith, uncompromising in their convictions, were fully the descendants of this John Calvin, who, though human in his obedience, yet offered his 'heart as a burnt sacrifice to the Lord.' It is in thinking of these refugees of other years that I dedicate this essay, which attempts to exonerate the name of Calvin, to contemporary Americans who are mindful of their origins." - the Author


About the Author by Michael Haykin

Foreword by John McNeill

Translator's Note by George Shriver

Preface by Richard Stauffer


1. Calvin as a Husband and Father

2. Calvin as a Friend

3. Calvin as a Pastor





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