Continuing to pursue his theological studies in earnest, he became more and more convinced that Protestantism and not Romanism was in fact the true Christian religion. Accordingly, he began to preach the necessity of reforming the Church of Christ.
Predictably, persecution broke out. Calvin was forced to flee his native France – forever. But the Lord would preserve him elsewhere – in the wilderness. For God had predestinated Calvin to become the Re-former of the Christian Church and the Re-constructor of the Ancient Church’s Presbyterianism.
As during Biblical and Early-Patristic times,1 many of the early Protestants amongst the various Pre-Calvinian Reformation groups in France and Switzerland and Italy had held to a system of Church Government by popularly-chosen yet divinely-appointed Elders.2 These groups were generally organized into Congregations ruled by Sessions consisting of several Ruling Elders or ‘Presbyters’ – including a Presiding Teaching Elder or Preacher. Presbyters representing their Session, sometimes met together with Presbyters representing other Sessions – in a flexible Confederacy called a Classis or Presbytery.3 Hence the term “Presbyterian” – a system of Church Government by Sessional Presbyters loosely confederated together into Regional Presbyteries.