Tour to remember
More than 100 members of Italy’s evangelical churches took part in a weekend tour of the places where Calvin lived and committed himself to the Reformation.
The tour, organised by the Evangelical Reformed Baptist Churches Association in Italy (CERBI), was to mark 500 years since Calvin’s birth. While not worshipping the man Calvin, the group was blessed as it visited the old city in Geneva and various historical sites such as Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Museum of Reformation. During the tour, it also joined a conference on evangelical witness in Switzerland today.
The tour included a visit to the Wall of Reformation in Geneva. This monument in the fortifications of the old city portrays John Calvin, John Knox, Oliver Cromwell and others. The day ended with a look at why reformation was difficult in sixteenth-century Italy due to Catholic authority and the rise of humanism.
Visiting the sites of the Reformation was thought-provoking, for although the legacy of Calvin survives, the drive for Reformation theology has often burned out elsewhere. Back in 1536, Geneva accepted the Reformation, but today only 3 per cent of professing Swiss Christians are evangelical – the majority are Catholic or liberal Protestant. Swiss evangelical churches have not grown at all in the past 20 years.
These figures are a strong warning to those who feel part of Calvin’s heritage, since they underline the need for a sincere commitment to make this legacy grow.