Roberts Liardon tells us that similar to Luther, Calvin never gave the exact date of his conversion. These Reformers were more interested in the corporate expansion of the Reformation than they were in the individual details of their lives.
The early Reformers were selfless individuals. They truly had the distinction of giving their lives for what they believed. They understood persecution, and they never backed away from it. The Reformers were absolutely fearless individuals who voiced their convictions without trembling and without remorse. They lived what they believed and drew a very clear line between right and wrong as they knew it.
Roberts Liardon tells us that some believe Calvin’s conversion took place in 1533 because ofthe events that followed him that year. Up to this particular time, lynching and burning for heresy took place all around him, but neither touched Calvin nor even challenged him, perhaps because he kept an alliance though loose with the Catholic Church. That alliance protected him from being counted among the Protestants. But that safe, unspoken alliance changed dramatically after a speech by Nicolaus Cop.
The year was 1533. Calvin had returned to Paris only to find the atmosphere of the city marked by tension. Europe had been wrestling with the new Christian faith sparked by the writings of Martin Luther.
Calvin mainly returned to the city because his very close friend, Nicolaus Cop, had just been appointed as the dean of the University of Paris. He made sure to be present when Cop gave his inaugural address to the academic community. Calvin was seated among the inner circle of friends and also honored for his own academic achievements.
On November 1, the auditorium was packed with Catholic clergy and honored students. The mood was tense as Cop climbed the stairs and stood at the pulpit.