Pastors Aren’t Born, But Formed (TGC)

calvin as scholarCruising through Bruce Gordon’s masterful biography on Calvin, I’ve been struck to see that pastors aren’t born but formed. It’s easy when reading the final edition of the Institutes or the later commentaries, at such a historical remove, to forget the development and the formative influences involved in turning the proud young legal scholar into a mature churchman and theologian.

As a young pastor myself, one theme that caught my attention was the formative influence of mentors and friends. In what follows I’d like to highlight three lessons on mentorship for both younger and older pastors drawn from Calvin’s early years.

You can read the rest of my reflections over at The Gospel Coalition. Pastors especially, I’d ask you to click through and read.

Soli Deo Gloria

2 thoughts on “Pastors Aren’t Born, But Formed (TGC)

  1. Great stuff, Derek. Have you read Bouwsma’s “portrait” of Calvin? He gets at some of this formation stuff too, and from a slightly different angle and indirectly. In discussing Calvin’s early anxiety, when he doubted all that was before him in the face of exile, etc., Bouwsma highlights his relationships with Farel and Bucer. “Don’t think,” Bucer had written him in connection with his plans after the expulsion from Geneva, “that you can leave the ministry even for a short time without offending God, if another ministry is offered you” (p. 22).

    Bouwsma sees Calvin as a particularly nervous moralist, mostly due to an admixture of personality and the times in which he lived. But it’s one of the bios that seems to put flesh on the legend.

    • No I have not read that, Christ. Thanks for the tip. I think we have it in our library at church so I might have to go dig it out. Gordon’s bio was excellent, but you can tell there was always more to say with a figure like Calvin.

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