Pray With Us

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Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

LET'S PRAY TOGETHER FOR
FACULTÉ JEAN CALVIN

- for donations to help FJC honor commitments during the summer
- that more people will decide to receive their training with FJC
- for this time of rest and service for the students
- for the teachers as they rest and prepare for the new academic year

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only the Word truly quenches thirst

Reformation, not Revolution

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May, 2018

Dear Friends,

Fifty years ago this month the city of Paris was in a turmoil. Almost everything solid melted down. Students forced schools and universities to close; 11 million factory workers went on strike; and public transportation ground to a halt. President de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly, and then fled the country, to the French military base in Germany where General Massu encouraged him to return. Events might have become seriously worse. Total chaos was right around the corner. And then... things calmed down almost as quickly as they had begun. Yet the upheaval of mai ‘68 is forever grafted into the French mindset.

Some of my friends even today are proud of their participation in the strikes. They call themselves “soixante-huitards” (sixty eighters). Like most revolutions, what the people were against was clearer than what they were for. Anti-authoritarian slogans echoed all over, which bespoke the general mentality: “il est interdit d’interdire” (it is forbidden to forbid); “jouissez sans entraves” (rejoice without limits), “Je suis Marxist – tendance Groucho” (I am a Marxist of the Groucho type); “CRS = SS (the National Guard is the S.S.). And yet, like most revolutions, it was not enough to be against the perceived abuses.

To be sure there were issues in need of change. The Faculté Jean Calvin in Aix-en-Provence opened its doors shortly after this mini-revolt. It boldly asserted a need not for revolution but reformation. The difference is crucial. We wanted to acknowledge the real needs for change but within a biblical worldview. We rejected the feverish tide of revolutionary fire which still plagues the French mindset, while we sincerely recognized the deep need for a true reformation.

If you would like to know more about the history and present influence of Jean Calvin Seminary, then, as you are able, come to our Soirée, October 12, 2018, in the Carriage House at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. We are hoping our featured guest will be Rodrigo De Sousa, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Aix. Rodrigo holds the PhD from Cambridge University, and is an expert on Isaiah. Most important, he is passionate about the Gospel in modern Europe and will articulate the spiritual state of the union as he sees it.

Very Truly Yours,
William Edgar,
President

Lucas Cobb

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Hello, my name is Lucas Cobb and I am 18 years old. Over the last few years I have felt called by God to study Theology, and prayed for guidance. After graduating from high school I decided I really was called to this. I’m so glad to be able to use the gifts God has given me in studying Theology and singing in the Sh’ma choir.

The choir tour in the Netherlands was physically demanding yet a great blessing. We grew closer as a group and also discovered a new aspect of spiritual life. Far from feeling like foreigners in the Netherlands we were all blessed with a spirit of fellowship with believers is a different country.

We were hosted by Christian families, many who pray for the Faculty regularly. Through our visit to Holland we got to know some of the churches in the Netherlands that support the work of the Faculty. I was glad to be able to share my experiences of studying at the Faculty.

Finally, as a musician, I very much appreciated the organ pieces. At every concert we sang “A toi la gloire”, one of my favorite hymns. Singing it with fellow believers from another culture was really quite moving. It strengthened the bond between Christians and allowed me to see that language is not an obstacle to sharing the same faith, centered on Christ our only Lord and Savior.

I am grateful to the Lord for our visit to the Netherlands with the choir. I thank God because He used our singing to encourage and bring people to Christ. To God be glory for eternity!

Lucas Cobb
First year student in Theology at the Faculté Jean Calvin

Why Do The Nations Rage?

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The last few months have been interesting, to say the least. Some people claim that we have narrowly avoided a third world war. We are also witnessing the rather unique (or “historic”?) meeting between the governments of North Korea and South Korea. And finally, we are experiencing the never-ending tensions in the governments in the West: almost two months after its parliamentary elections, Italy still has no real government! And need we mention the social and ethical issues so hotly debated in our society?

And there are wars and rumors of war all around us.

Even Christians might be tempted to worry. What can we do in a world that is beset with all this political and social upheaval? What can we do, what can we say? What should we even believe? We could join the psalmist in crying out: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Ps 2:1) It would be a start. But we can’t stop there. 

As disciples of Christ, we must be active witnesses to God’s promise: a kingdom is coming in which all tension, pain and opposition will disappear. This kingdom has already been ushered in. This is what we should dwell on!

The Psalm continues with encouraging words as the psalmist proclaims the reign of the Son of God, the promised Redeemer:

“I will issue the decree: the LORD said to me: You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

This promise is fulfilled in Christ, who is our Redeemer, the One who will restore everything in him, including all nations. Our responsibility is to live as witnesses to the real citizenship that we have in Christ, to a hope that goes beyond the reality of the world in which we live.

Yannick Imbert
Director of the first cycle programs
Faculté Jean Calvin

The Siege of La Rochelle

 Cardinal Richelieu at the siege of La Rochelle, Henri-Paul Motte

Cardinal Richelieu at the siege of La Rochelle, Henri-Paul Motte

By the Edict of Nantes (1598), King Henry IV gave French Huguenots extensive rights. La Rochelle, situated on the Atlantic coast of France, became a Huguenot stronghold, and at that time, the second or third largest city in France, with over 30,000 inhabitants. However, the assassination of Henry IV in 1610, and the advent of Louis XIII under the regency of Marie de' Medici, marked a return to intense persecution. Louis XIII wished to suppress the Huguenots, and his Chief Minister, Cardinal Richelieu, declared that to be the first priority.

In 1627 Royal forces began surrounding La Rochelle with an army of 7,000 soldiers, 600 horses and 24 cannons. Cardinal Richelieu acted as the commander of the besieging troops. Once hostilities started, engineers isolated the city with entrenchments 7 miles long, fortified by 11 forts and 18 redoubts. A seawall was built to block seaward access to the city. The surrounding fortifications were completed in 1628, manned with an army of 30,000. The residents of La Rochelle were surrounded and cut off from receiving food and vital supplies. They resisted surrender for 14 horrific months. During the siege, the population decreased from 27,000 to 5,000 due to casualties, famine, and disease.

To escape persecution, many Huguenots migrated to dozens of countries around the globe during the 16th-17th centuries. (Some went to the New World and founded the city of New Rochelle, New York.) And yet, the Reformed Faith of the Huguenots remains alive to this day in France! The Huguenot Fellowship exists to help support the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the French-speaking world, focusing on the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France (La Faculté Jean Calvin). Please consider becoming a friend and faithful partner through your prayers and regular contributions!

Team Aix in 1979

 Standing: François GONIN, Pierre BERTHOUD, Paul WELLS, Peter JONES, Pierre COURTHIAL Seated: Jean-Marc DUMAS, Eugène BOYER, Pierre FILHOL (President), William EDGAR, Gérald BOYER

Standing: François GONIN, Pierre BERTHOUD, Paul WELLS, Peter JONES, Pierre COURTHIAL
Seated: Jean-Marc DUMAS, Eugène BOYER, Pierre FILHOL (President), William EDGAR, Gérald BOYER

In 1979, when Barbara and I arrived in Aix-en-Provence to teach at the Seminary, this was our team. Only six of us were full-time. There were possibly 40 students. But we were able to cover all the disciplines, plus organize a world-class choir. These were truly halcyon days, though the seas were hardly calm. ~ Bill Edgar

Paul Revere, an American Huguenot

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The “eighteenth of April in Seventy-Five” is a date familiar to Americans thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s stirring poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” This vivid recounting of the courageous night ride that gave the alert that British Regulars were marching on Lexington and Concord has thrilled readers for generations. The ensuing skirmishes, which forced a retreat of the British, are considered the first battles of the American Revolution.

Who was this Boston silversmith, the American patriot with the French-sounding last name? Paul Revere was the son of Apollos Rivoire, who was born in 1702, in Riocaud, in the Gironde valley, near Bordeaux. The family was French Huguenot, and because of the persecutions following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), many thousands of Huguenots were forced to flee to Protestant tolerant countries. The child Apollos was first sent for safety to an uncle on the island of Guernsey, but then the uncle paid for his nephew’s sea passage to Boston in the New World. Puritan New England was a welcome destination for the Huguenots escaping persecution. In 1735 most of Boston’s 14 established churches were Calvinist; one was French Reformed. Apollos turned 13 on that sea voyage, and was apprenticed to a master goldsmith where he became a skilled artisan, skills and training he eventually passed on to his son.

Apollos changed his name to Paul Revere (easier for English colonists to pronounce), and married Deborah Hitchborn, a 4th generation descendant of English forebears who had come from Lincolnshire in what is called the Great Puritan Migration. Thus both sides of the famous Paul Revere’s family were deeply rooted in Calvinist, reformed, independent thinking. And, it was said that Paul, the American patriot, “attended church ‘as regularly as the Sabbath came’” (David Hackett Fischer, Paul Revere’s Ride).

Paul Revere’s service to his country did not end with that midnight ride. He was a leader of the famous Boston Tea Party, and worked for the cause of liberty as a bold and much respected member of his community. The faith and courage of Paul’s Huguenot father, who crossed the Atlantic as a boy to build a new life on a new continent, was manifest in the life of his son, the American patriot Paul Revere.

David Hackett Fischer’s excellent Paul Revere’s Ride, (New York, Oxford University Press, 1994) is the source of much of this information, and gives a careful, well researched account of the man and the beginnings of the American Revolution.

Linda Boice