Born in France of pious Roman Catholic parents, Calvin’s father urged him to become a priest. But while studying for the priesthood, Calvin came into contact with the teachings of Martin Luther. Shortly thereafter, he experienced a sudden and unexpected conversion to Protestantism, Fearing religious persecution, he fled France, eventually settling in Geneva, Switzerland. Here he spent the balance of his life gaining increasing renown as a pastor, teacher and writer. Calvin is particularly celebrated for Institutes of the Christian Religion, his seminal work on Protestant theology.
Influenced by the Biblical account of Eve as Satan’s temptress, Calvin avoided marriage until age 30. He then asked friends to help him find a wife who met his rigorous standards. He required her to be: “gentle, pure, modest, economical, patient and to whom the care of her husband would be the chief matter.” Evidently such a paragon was located, for Calvin eventually married Idelette De Bure. Sadly, all three of their children died in infancy and Idelette too, breathed her last after only nine years of marriage. Calvin eulogized her as an ideal wife, noting that she was, “ … never occupied with self.” No such claim should be made for John Calvin.
John Calvin (1509 – 1564) In the top rank of Protestant religious reformers.
… the port and gate of the Devil.
I am assured that God hath revealed to some in this our age that
it is more then a monster in nature, that a woman shall reign and have empire
Therefore I say, that of necessity it is, that this monstriferouse
empire of women, (which amongest all enormities, that this day do abound upon
the face of the whole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openly
revealed and plainly declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and
Where women reign or be in authority, that there must needs vanity
be preferred to virtue, ambition and pride to temperance and modesty, and
finally, that avarice the mother of all mischief must needs devour equity and
I suffer not a woman to teach, nether yet to usurper authority
And therefore yet again I repeat that, which before I have
affirmed: to wit, that a woman promoted to sit in the seat of God, that is, to
teach, to judge or to reign above man, is a monster in nature, contumely to
God, and a thing most repugnant to his will and ordinance.
But woman can never be the best governor, by reason that she being
spoiled of the spirit, can never attain to that degree, to be called or judged
a good governor. Because in the nature of all woman, lurketh such vices, as in
good governors are not tolerable.