Topic for 2023
Calvin and Resistance to Oppressive Governments

If a ruler or a government is appointed by God but acts in oppressive ways, what is an appropriate Christian response? Is resistance ever legitimate? What forms should this resistance take? Christians have debated these issues ever since the time of the early church (see Romans 13: 1-5) right through the current day. The Genevan Reformer John Calvin lived through periods of intense government-sanctioned religious persecution and reflected on these important questions in many of his writings. Student papers should bring Calvin’s insights to light, reflecting on the ongoing relevance and significance of Calvin’s responses to these key questions in our own day

Awards are given annually for research papers on a topic dealing with John Calvin or Calvinism. Awards are payable to student tuition accounts at the following institutions: Calvin University, Dordt University, The King's University (Canada), Redeemer University College (Canada), Kuyper College and Trinity Christian College.

Image: Jacques Tortorel, The Conspiracy of Amboise (1560)


Quick Look

  • Deadline: February 1
  • For: High school seniors going to Calvin University, Dordt University, The King's University (Canada), Redeemer University College (Canada), Kuyper College and Trinity Christian College in Fall 2022
  • Prizes: $3500 First Prize, $2000 Second Prize 

Research Sources

Suggested Primary Sources

Calvin's commentary on Romans.pdf

Calvin Institutes Book 4.pdf

Calvin sermon on II Samuel 8:9-19.pdf

Suggested Secondary Sources

Hesselink - Calvin on the Nature and Limits of Resistance.pdf

Kingdon article (.pdf)

Muttitt - Calvin 2 Samuel 2:8-32 and Resistance to Civil Government.pdf

Gilstrap - John Calvin's Theology of Resistance.pdf

Nijenhuis - The Limits of Civil Disobedience in Calvin's last-known sermons.pdf

Research Paper Format Guidelines

Papers should be 8 to 12 pages long, typed double-spaced, and include footnotes or endnotes as well as a bibliography. Pages must be numbered. Papers must include a cover sheet with the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • High school and name of principal
  • High school address
  • Church and name of pastor
  • Church address
  • How you learned about the scholarship

No name or other identifying information should appear on any page except the cover sheet. The Meeter Center will assign each entry a code number and write it on the pages of the paper. This assures impartial judging of the papers by the Calvinism Committee and allows for accurate identification.

The Calvinism Committee will judge the papers by the following criteria:

  1. Thoroughness of research, including primary sources and quality secondary sources.
  2. Coherence and originality of the argument.
  3. Quality of writing.
  4. Relatedness to contemporary situation.

Papers must be attached to an email to by February 1, 2023. The Calvinism Committee will select winners by the end of March from applicants who will attend college or university in the fall of 2023. All participants will be notified of their status by mail.

If you have any questions regarding the Hugh and Eve Meeter Calvinism Awards for High School Seniors, please feel free to contact us.