Most people associate the name of John Calvin with the doctrines of predestination and harsh examples of religious persecution. However, this caricature fails to capture the complexity of a remarkable man. Reading through parts of his Genevan Catechism of 1538, Calvin’s practical and pastoral side shine through. As he summarizes the basic points about the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, Calvin writes:
“Now this mystery, as it is a proof of God’s very great bounty toward us, ought at the same time to admonish us not to be ungrateful for such lavish kindness, but rather to proclaim it with fitting praises and to celebrate it with thanksgiving. Then we should embrace one another in that unity with which the members of this same body bound among themselves are connected. For there could be no sharper goad to arouse mutual love among us than when Christ, giving himself to us, not only invites us by his example to pledge and give ourselves to one another, but as he makes himself common to all, so also makes all one in himself” (I. John Hesselink, Calvin’s First Catechism: A Commentary, 35).