Calvin, John

A reformer who lived from 1509-1564.  His beliefs (known as Calvinism) included the doctrine of election by which God chooses some people for salvation, not because of any worthiness on their behalf but simply by His free will. He is quoted as saying, ‘We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown’. ‘True wisdom consists of two things: knowledge of God and knowledge of self’.

See also: influential Christians, reformation.