Photo above- Jean Bosc in 1969
“He was a friend. It might seem to be strange to those who had never met him that I first say that about him. However that’s what he was like. He had an extraordinary and admirable capacity for friendship. Nothing which was human remained unfamiliar to him. He loved life with a magnificent vigor, curiosity, ardor and sensitivity which showed itself in the most varied ways. However, he had no illusions about the world and humanity; neither about himself nor others. He knew the evil, miseries, worries and distress which can live in a human heart. That’s why he understood and two hours spent with him gave you a sense of extraordinary intimacy because he knew how to come alongside of you…
But he was a friend while always remaining a pastor. The passion which he put into everything was first and foremost a passionate attachment to Jesus Christ, to his gospel and to his church. His understanding of man was always a dynamic understanding which, while respecting others, sought to place them before their Lord. And if his authority asserted itself with a strength which some could find excessive, that was not to set aside or put down the freedom of others, but in appealing to their sense of responsibility.
He was a great spiritual director and preacher, not firstly because he would have had an uncommon mastery of psychology and eloquence, but because his profound human understanding wanted to seek with others the way prepared for them by Jesus Christ and because in preaching, he always had the double preoccupation of being faithful to the Christian truth and the hearts which received it. He loved to proclaim the word of God to one man or a thousand; he was always ready to do it, for he did it with joy…
He has been since 1930 with a few other men, amongst them Auguste Lecerf, one of the artisans of the Protestant theological renewal in France and without doubt the one who has made the greatest impact upon it. He did not hide the fact that his greatest inspiration was, with Luther and Calvin, Karl Barth. He was the one who introduced the theologian from Basel to the French and often said that one of the great joys of his life had been to know Barth and to be his friend.
He shared Barth’s thought and constantly worked to spread it, not in an exclusive way, for he was too open minded and bi partisan and wanted to keep the Reformed church of France united. But that which was, here also, particularly meaningful as far as his personality was concerned, was that his theological activity was inseparable from his pastoral preoccupations and his love for man. He was desperate to understand and to help others understand what he had believed, but he wanted to understand it with all his being and to help others understand it with their whole being…”
Jean Bosc (Réforme, 21st January 1956).