Hope, But On What Basis?


Dear Friends,

        Nicolas Baverez is a lawyer, essayist, and journalist, justly renowned for his perceptive views of where France and Western Europe are going in the next few years. He has been called a pessimist, because he has written books such as France Is Falling, which looks at sobering trends in the country, such as cultural lag, loss of a competitive edge, and a generalized fear among its people. But he considers himself more of a hopeful realist than a pessimist.

        His latest book, due out next month, is titled, Violence and Passions: A Defense of Freedom in the Age of Universal History. His argument is that no one escapes the forces of history in our times. Contrary to many predictions since the fall of communism in 1989, there is little reason to be optimistic. Forces reign such as terror, revenge, xenophobia, all of which confirm what French poet Paul Valéry said long ago: “Civilizations are mortal.” And yet, Baverez still says there is hope, hope for liberty, if only we would look in the right places. Unfortunately, while he says good things, he stops at the most important. He argues we need to resist terror, to strengthen our institutions, and to “take responsibility.” Sure, but on what basis? He says we simply need “faith is freedom and the courage to defend it.” Sure, but where does it come from?

      Only the Gospel can ensure such things. Our hope is not in the fall of communism or the strength of institutions, but in the rise of resurrection power, inaugurated by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Seminary in Aix-en-Provence is training leaders for churches and missions that will proclaim this message loud and clear. Thanks so much for your support of this great cause.

Very Truly Yours,
William Edgar,

Carrefour Théologique


Please pray for the upcoming Theological Crossroads at the Faculté Jean Calvin, March 16-17. This conference will focus on The Kingdom of God in the Church and society. 

Jesus Christ began his ministry by announcing that the kingdom of God was drawing near. Since then, his followers pray for its full advent: "Thy kingdom come. " So, the reign (or kingdom) of God is at the heart of the Christian faith. But how is it to be understood? How was his coming prepared by God in the time of the Old Testament? How can one grasp the link between this kingdom and the Gospel that the Church must proclaim around her? How is the kingship of Christ in the present world different from the kingship of Caesar and other forms of temporal power? What hope is opened to us by the words "Thy kingdom come"?

These questions involve the very foundations of our Christian faith and action, and they occupy an increasingly important place in the Church today. The upcoming Carrefour Théologique at the Faculté Jean Calvin seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France will provide an opportunity to dig deeper into this subject of fundamental importance.

Link to the Carrefour brochure.

Adolphe Monod


"Oh, cross of preaching the cross!" What a strange declaration from the man who was widely regarded as the foremost preacher in nineteenth-century France and Switzerland. Adolphe Monod was a man with a shepherd's heart who longed to be able to spend more time on the pastoral side of his ministry, yet he regarded preaching as a sacred obligation that required his very best effort and preparation. Perhaps this same shepherd's heart--a deep concern for the souls of his hearers--helped make his preaching so effective. It is certainly an important element in Les Adieux, which has endured for nearly 150 years as a classic of French evangelical literature. (Excerpt from the preface to the retitled English translation: Living in the Hope of Glory, Constance K. Walker, editor and translator.)

Pastor Monod died of liver cancer while only in his mid-fifties on April 6, 1856 in Paris. He ministered from a sickbed during the final six months of his earthly life. Les Adieux ("Farewells"), originally published in 1856, is a collection of his richly theological, yet practical brief messages to his friends and congregation during this period of intense suffering.

Going to France?

Jeanne d'Albret


"When her alcoholic and adulterous husband died in 1555, Jeanne d’Albret (1528–72) became queen of Navarre. Sandwiched between the two powerful nations of France and Spain, Jeanne was in a vulnerable position. This did nothing to slow or discourage her. Having made public profession of the Reformed faith years before, Jeanne, on her accession, labored successfully to bring reform to Navarre, making the country a safe haven in a sea of Roman Catholicism. Her children were kidnapped, her life was threatened, rebellions erupted, war broke out with France—her love for the church was greater than all of these. She called herself “a little princess” and believed that, like Esther, God had put her in her position to defend His people. Her work provided shelter for Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion. But she was also an example of faith under fire: her courage and doctrinal resolve were discussed internationally and brought comfort to other suffering believers."

The above is an excerpt from The Women of the Reformation by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, which appeared in TABLETALK October 2017. Quoted with permission of Ligonier Ministries. (Click here for full article.)

A Very Good Report

Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Prof. of Systematic Theology

Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Prof. of Systematic Theology

My first year of teaching at the Faculté Jean Calvin has come to an end so it’s time to take stock. (written mid-2017)

I’m glad to be able to give a very positive report. I’ve enjoyed a very good working relationship with my fellow professors, the administrative team and the students, even better than I’d hoped for. In my roles as secretary for professors’ meetings and treasurer of the Editions Kerygma (the Faculté publishing house), I have learned a great deal about the way things work here, but it’s the teaching I’ve found the most rewarding.

I enjoyed the work of preparing two public lectures, one for the symposium in December 2016 on the Lausanne movement and one for the theological conference in February 2017 on faith and works. Most of my time, however, has been devoted to preparing the three new courses I teach. During the first few classes I realized I had more material than was needed and made the necessary adjustments, adopting a slower pace and taking more time to answer questions. This is something I plan to work hard at in the coming years, allowing more time for each topic and encouraging more interaction with the students.

This past year we covered the doctrines of the person and work of Christ, salvation, predestination, the works of God, man, and sin. I gave the students various types of assignments and found they came up with noticeably better results in the second semester. I will continue to look for creative pedagogical methods to help my students make progress.

Finally, I am grateful to the Lord for such a good year, and would like to thank the administrative team, the professors and the students, as they have all helped me settle in! I hope that in God’s grace next year will be as good—if not better!

Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Professor of Systematic Theology

Christiane Conand

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I was born in 1964 in Strasbourg to a Christian family, member of the Reformed Protestant Church of Westhoffen (Bas-Rhin). I’ve lived in the South of France since 1987. I’m married, have two children, and a 2-year-old grandson, Matteo. Since September 1994, I’ve been the Principal Controller of Public Finance for Aix-en-Provence. Since 2002, I’ve been a member of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Lambesc (Secretary of the Council 2006-2014, and Treasurer since 2015.)

I first learned of the Faculté Jean Calvin (FJC) thanks to Annie Bergèse who asked me to assist her at a conference. I did not imagine then that she would be the reason I would become so involved. In 2012, I discovered the extent of the outreach of the FJC as a member of the delegation from the National Union of Independent Reformed Evangelical Churches of France to the FJC Council.

With concern for the Word of God, and the commitment that this requires, I have recently accepted the responsibility of Treasurer of the FJC. I’m relying on the grace of God to help me best accomplish this responsibility.