With this letter we begin a series. Each one will feature a brief profile of the professors at the Faculté Jean Calvin in Aix-en-Provence. I think you will agree it is a most talented group.
Michel Johner was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1958. After finishing his studies at the Institut Emmaüs he became the pastor of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Marseille, France’s second largest city. He led that church for about ten years. Geneviève Thinot was in the congregation, and soon became Madame Thinot-Johner. Today they have three children.
Michel began to teach at the Seminary on a part-time basis in 1996. Today he is Professor of Ethics and Academic Dean. He teaches on the full range of ethical issues, basing it all on the Scripture’s instructions on God’s law and how it all relates to redemption in Christ. He specializes in marriage, divorce, and sexual ethics. Just recently Michel successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on the subject, French Protestants and the Secularization of Marriage on the Eve of the French Revolution (1774-1789); Rabaut Saint-Etienne and the Edict of Tolerance of 1787. After prohibiting the Huguenot faith, and thus their right to marry, in 1685, the Edict of Toleration (1787) freed non-Catholics to live and marry. Yet the Edict brought with it a certain amount of anti-church feeling, which in the end worked to secularize marriage. Today, the only weddings that count are in the civil ceremony (though Christians are free to “bless” their marriage in a church).
One of the challenges of being a small seminary is that a few people have to do so much. In addition to his full teaching load, his speaking engagements and his many writing commitments, Michel is also the chief academic administrator, requiring him to lead the professors and guide them in important policy matters. All of this while he is a devoted husband and father. We are so thankful for Michel Johner.
We are pleased at this time to announce a double celebration at aix-en- Provence on September 13, 2014. First, the Seminary at Aix will mark its fortieth anniversary. And second we will celebrate the completion of the first stage of the Boice Chair fund. Please consider joining us! [www.facultejeancalvin.fr]
Very Truly Yours,
William Edgar, President