Friday, August 21, 2009

Pierre Viret in the Pipeline

As the 500th birthday of John Calvin is now past, the 500th birthday (in 2011) of the great Swiss Reformer, Pierre Viret, one of the most popular preachers in sixteenth-century France, approaches in 2011. The Pierre Viret Association has several publishing projects in the works which may help to renew interest in this somewhat neglected Reformer within the 21st century English and French-speaking world.

Instruction Chrestienne or Christian Instruction in the Doctrine of the Law of the Gospel (1564) is Viret's magnum opus. It is being republished in French, with the first two volumes already available and volume three is in process. Trivia: It is said that this work is the first to refer to the concept of "Deism." The set is being translated from French into English and the first English volume is anticipated by the end of 2009.

* VOLUME ONE – Brief and diverse Summaries and Catechisms of the Christian doctrine (containing an exposition of the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed); and Instruction against the objections that men make concerning their own salvation; adjoined is an ample exposition of the Law, containing the decrees and canons of the first and general Council of the Church.

* VOLUME TWO – Exposition of the Law of God, and the doctrine of the Christian Faith, concerning the true knowledge and service of God; and the Trinity of the persons in the unity of the divine essence and in the manifestation of the former in the creation both of the universe and the world, and in His providence over all creatures, and principally over human nature; and touching the fall of the human race, and the birth and growth and ordinary state both of the true and false Church.

* VOLUME THREE – Declaration of the doctrine of divine providence, concerning the blessings and curses which occur ordinarily in the world, and the predestination of men; and the manifestation of God in the work of redemption of the human race, and by the revelation of the Gospel, containing the decrees and canons of the second general Council.

PIERRE VIRET: A FORGOTTEN GIANT OF THE REFORMATION - The Apologetics, Ethics and Economics of the Bible by Jean-Marc Berthoud is a biography which will cover many facets of his life and legacy. It is expected to be released in the Fall of 2009.


* CHAPTER 1: Brief Life of Pierre Viret
* CHAPTER 2: Pierre Viret's Place in the Reformation
* CHAPTER 3: Viret as Ethicist
* CHAPTER 4: Viret as Apologist
* CHAPTER 5: Viret as Economist
* CONCLUSION: The Spirit of Viret's Thinking
* APPENDIX: Bibliography of the French Works of Pierre Viret

The Catechism of Pierre Viret translated by R.A. Sheats is expected to be published in 2010.

The Catechism of Pierre Viret is a small volume, dedicated solely to the Reformer’s Larger Catechism as contained in Volume One of his Christian Instruction. This catechism, written in the form of a dialogue between two individuals, is an easy-to-read, informal means of studying the basics of the Christian Faith. Viret’s down-to-earth, simplistic style of treating deep theological truths makes this book beneficial to both the newest convert and the deepest theologian.

Theodore Beza wrote the following poem about his friend which has been translated by R.A. Sheats:


I see his body, beaten, fraught with suffering and age,
Recipient of poison, wounds, and all man’s deadly rage.
I see the virtue of the Lord, His noble mysteries,
And in great silence I submit myself to His decrees.

I read the precious writings, full of wisdom without end,
That you, my dearest Viret, in that dreadful prison penned.
I see the goodness of your judgment, and your conscience clear,
And know that truly God resides within your mansion here.

I know Christ watches o’er His Church with gentle, loving care,
For, seeing it half-dead, engulfed in flame, in great despair,
He lights a fire in men’s souls within that dreadful heat,
Enflaming hearts, enlight’ning minds, to make His Church complete.

If all the folly of the world rejects His sacred way,
Demanding from us some new sign, some miracle today,
Our gentle Viret will provide a witness with each breath;
He spoke to them in life, and he is speaking still in death.

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