John Calvin was a Frenchman, but he is being remembered in Geneva this week because it was here that he built Calvinism. Invited to reform the city in 1541, almost as what would now be called a management consultant, he formed an alliance with the city fathers. Over the next 20 years of preaching and pastoring they turned this tiny city, with a population then of only 10,000, into a model of church government and theology which has changed the world.
His followers now form the third-largest Christian grouping in the world. The world alliance of reformed churches claims 75 million members, and while this is a lower headline figure than the Anglican Communion’s 80 million, it is not inflated by 25 million nominal Anglicans in Britain.