John Calvin

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How was Jean Calvin significant in the history of the world?

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Jean Calvin (also known by his anglicized name: John Calvin), was a French philosopher and theologian who helped to expand a small growing church that would later become known as the Calvinist Church. In his books, polemics, and essays, Calvin grappled with the issues of free will and salvation. He emphasized the absolute sovereignty and omnipotence of God, and believed that the French government should organize itself in such a way as to reflect obedience and reverence for the divine. Eventually, the Calvinist church broke into three separate denominations: Calvinist, Puritan, and Presbyterian. Calvin's ideas about reverence and salvation influenced American Puritanism and also served as the foundation for a more general Protestant work ethic. These theological underpinnings are deeply reflected in American society and have helped shape our national dialogue about the nature work, the nature of piety, and the relationship between religion and the state.

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