If you think that sounds like an oxymoron, you’re not alone. Yet a close look at John Calvin’s life, writings, and successors reveals a passion for the spread of the gospel and the salvation of sinners.
From training pastors at his Genevan Academy to sending missionaries to the jungles of Brazil, Calvin consistently sought to encourage and equip Christians to take the good news of salvation to the very ends of the earth. In this carefully researched book, Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson clear away longstanding stereotypes related to the Reformed tradition and Calvin’s theological heirs, highlighting the Reformer’s neglected missional vision and legacy.
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Michael A. G. Haykin (ThD, University of Toronto) is professor of church history and biblical spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He has authored or edited more than twenty-five books, including Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church.
C. Jeffrey Robinson Sr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Robinson is currently a senior fellow for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and teaches a journalism class each year at his alma mater.
“This book traces the story of evangelical Calvinism through several important episodes in the history of Reformed Protestantism. Long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Christians, informed by Calvin’s missional theology, were planting churches and preaching the gospel in the country we now know as Brazil. This story has long been forgotten, suppressed, and even distorted by those who should have known better. I welcome this well-researched book, which sets the record straight.” — Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; Chairman of the Board, Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“Does a belief in sovereign grace stymie missions and evangelism? If that belief is rightly understood and rightly applied, the answer is an emphatic no. Haykin and Robinson skillfully present John Calvin’s evangelistic zeal and channel it toward a new generation of Great Commission minded pastors, teachers, and evangelists. I’m grateful for these men and this book, and pray that God will use it for the greater advance of the gospel and a greater harvest of souls.” — Jason Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and College
“This book sets the record straight once and for all—John Calvin was a man consumed with the global proclamation of the gospel, the salvation of souls, and the discipleship of all nations. With historical integrity and pastoral insight, Haykin and Robinson demonstrate the beautiful harmony that exists between Calvinistic theology and a robust biblical missiology. Here is a call for the church to share in that same passionate pursuit.” — Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine
“Among the many myths surrounding Calvinism is the idea that it’s anti-missions. Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson draw into one place the many sources that demonstrate the tradition’s missionary passion. They do so without defensive rhetoric—more out of a love for the Great Commission than for any party label. You don’t have to be a Calvinist to find this story inspiring.” — Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Calvin on the Christian Life
“The rehabilitation of Calvin (and his robust theology of divine sovereignty) as a leading figure in global missions is overdue, and few authors are qualified to do it with such enthusiasm and expertise as Haykin and Robinson. In To the Ends of the Earth, the perennial assertion that Calvin(ism) is destructive of evangelism and missions is convincingly shown to be entirely false—theologically and historically. Indeed, the very opposite is the case: Geneva proved to be a center of missionary endeavor and expansion. Read this book and then purchase several more copies to give to your friends. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” — Derek Thomas, Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; Professor of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta
“For all the attention given to John Calvin, it boggles the mind that something so essential to him has gone largely unnoticed and unappreciated. Thank you, Drs. Haykin and Robinson, for introducing us to Calvin’s missionary and evangelistic zeal. Let’s hope it’s contagious.” — Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College; Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries
“The modern missionary movement did not begin ex nihilo in the late eighteenth century. To understand the thrust of contemporary global gospel advancement, one need understand that behind Fuller and Carey there were Edwards and Brainerd. And Edwards was the last theological bridge to classic English Puritanism. And the Puritans have their headwaters in Geneva. In this fine volume, readers will have many questions answered and many more questions raised, but a wonderful discovery will take place that I pray stirs many hearts to action in taking the gospel to the world.” — Jason Duesing, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Haykin and Robinson show convincingly that Calvinist commitment to the gospel of free grace has driven evangelism and missions for five hundred years. Not only does this book provide a much-needed reassessment of Calvin and missions, but it also extends its accounting through the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, and Calvinist Baptists. In doing this, Haykin and Robinson provide a valuable resource for the church and a tract to motivate us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth in our own time as well.” — Sean Michael Lucas, Senior Minister, The First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Associate Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson
“Evangelism, missions, and prayer for the lost cannot long endure without a foundation in the doctrines of God’s glory and sovereign grace. Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson demonstrate through careful historical research that despite all claims to the contrary, Reformed truth has been a vital root feeding visionary and sacrificial efforts to reach the world with the gospel. May God use these thrilling accounts to magnify the glory of his grace, and to move many Christians to pour out their lives for the sake of Christ’s kingdom in all lands.” — Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“Finally a book that not only removes the myth of a lack of mission incentive in the Calvinist tradition, but also solidly and enthusiastically stimulates those inside and outside that tradition to get the message out.” — Herman Selderhuis, Professor of Church History, Theological University of Apeldoorn; Director, Refo500, The Netherlands