Theodore Beza’s course of activity was, in the words of the author, ‘long and brilliant.’ He presided over the Reformed church in the French-speaking countries of Europe for many years, and was its recognized counsellor and leader in times of peril. His friendship with John Calvin, and also with the French king, Henry IV, ensured that his influence in both church and state was not insignificant— indeed, Beza’s was a career rich in incidents and dramatic interest.
As Paul Wells notes in his Introduction to this new edition of Baird’s life of Beza, ‘some plants flourish in the shade of mighty trees.’ Theodore Beza was such a plant—a significant ‘Reformer in the wings’ who became a major actor in the development of the magisterial Reformation and the spread of the Reformed faith in France.
Beza stepped into the shoes of Calvin as the spokesman of French Protestants in the diaspora, and as the figurehead of a refugee church—a church faced with theological error, and opposition from the powers that be. Beza’s work remains a model of faithfulness under duress for believers worldwide in comparable situations today—it is for that reason that this new edition of his Life has been published.