The movement of Calvinism, led by John Calvin, is considered one the most influential movements throughout history. Calvin not only played a main role in the reformation of the Catholic Church, but also helped to introduce new ideas and beliefs that became popular world wide. Through his new ideas, Calvin gave others the opportunity to escape the confinement of Catholicism. His works not only brought him reverence, but also persecution.
Born at Noyon in Picardy, France on July 10, 1509, he was raised by his middle class father, Gerard Calvin, who practiced civil and canon law. Calvin excelled in his studies of philosophy and Latin. Then acting upon his father's wishes, he began his career by studying law in Orleans; thus, his interest in theology grew. While studying law, Calvin became very intelligent and knowing of the evangelical faith. He learned Greek and Hebrew and began to study the Bible in depth. Shortly after, he wrote his first book at the age of 22 which was a commentary on a Latin treatise by the philosopher Seneca. .
Unlike Martin Luther, Calvin was never ordained by the Catholic Church. It was not documented when he actually committed his life to Christianity. He gave an account about becoming a Christian and the impact that it had on his life. After dedicating his life to Christ, he became what was known as a "Lutheran" because he believed in Martin Luther's beliefs on the Reformation. He, then, taught his newfound beliefs about the Bible in a college in Paris. Soon, many Lutherans began to be persecuted for rebelling against the Catholic Church, hence, driving Calvin into refuge in Basel. While in Basel, Calvin wrote the most commonly known of his works, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin's sole purpose in writing this was to educate readers about the basis of what the Reformed Christianity was about. .
Still traveling, Calvin and friends stopped in a city called Geneva in Switzerland.