Southern Baptist appreciation of Reformation theologian John Calvin is not a new or novel reality. From its inception, the Southern Baptist Convention’s own theologians and statesmen have appreciated the theological work of John Calvin.
Below is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) founding professor John Albert Broadus taken from a letter written to fellow SBTS professor William Williams.
J.A.B. to WM. Williams:
INTERLAKEN, June 6, 1871: At Geneva I made some effort one afternoon to find places associated with Calvin, and it was curious to see how little could be found. There is a library, in which are autographs, etc., of him, and other Reformers, but was closed, and the librarian was not at home. There is the house in which he lived twenty-one years, up to his death…It is one of the largest houses in the vicinity, of excellent stone, two stories high besides cellar and garret rooms, and built around three sides of a court. The only thing to be learned from my survey is, that from his first going to Genva, Calvin lived in excellent style and ample comfort. Then I tried to find the Champel, a hill south of the town, on which Servetus was “executed.” After some inquiries it was reached, but a couple of intelligent gentlemen who were passing assured me that the place of the execution was entirely unknown-it was somewhere in this vicinity…The cemetery in which Calvin was buried is known, but it is no longer used, and the exact spot occupied by his remains is unknown, as he expressly forbade the erection of any monument over his grave…As admirer of Calvin (and assuredly I belong to that class) might liken the case to that of Christianity itself, whose original abodes have long been occupied by its enemies, leaving few genuine memorials beyond the mere natural locality, but which thus only the more vindicates its character as not local and sensuous. To complete the series of failures, I called at Dr. Merle d’Aubigne’s, but the servant reported he was at dinner, and I said I would call in the evening-which circumstances made impracticable.
A.T. Robertson, Life and Letters of John Albert Broadus, (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1901), 275.