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Faith Unfeigned (Calvin)

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Faith Unfeigned comprises four sermons preached by Calvin in 1549 and reworked by him for publication in 1552. They deal with a very practical problem: How to confess Christ and maintain the integrity of one’s faith in a hostile environment where believers face not only ostracism but persecution and even death.

Calvin’s advice is firmly based on the scriptural premise that we belong, body and soul, to God our loving Father and to Christ our faithful Redeemer. The four sermons combine sound theology with strong pastoral concern. To them a small number of related Reformation texts has been added.

Time has not diminished the importance of the issues which Calvin raises. His four sermons are, in a sense, as contemporary now as when first preached. The pressure to conform to non- or sub-Christian religions and cultures is something no Christian can escape. Persecution in many places is as painful a problem for pastors and people as it has ever been. In our weakness we are all adept, as Calvin frequently observes, at inventing excuses which fool no one but ourselves. To ponder the preacher’s words is to be reminded of the cost of discipleship, and of the need for a much larger vision of God’s saving grace and of the goal to which we are being led.

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Table of Contents:

Sermon One: On Fleeing Outward Idolatry (Psalm 16:4)

Sermon Two: On Suffering Persecution for Christ’s Sake (Hebrews 13:13)

Sermon Three: On Valuing Membership in God’s Church and the Freedom to Worship Him (Psalm 27:4)

Sermon Four: On Striving to Serve God Purely in a Christian Church (Psalm 27:8)    An Exposition of Psalm 87

Appendix: Letter of Calvin to Edward VI

Appendix: Letter of Calvin to an Unidentified Friend

Appendix: Letter of Calvin to Nicolas Duchemin



John Calvin (1509-1564) was a theological giant of the Protestant Reformation. A contemporary of Martin Luther, he had as much influence over this period of history as his German counterpart. In 1536 he published his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was a systematic presentation of the Protestant position. His writings are still cherished and relevant today.