Skip to comments.Calvins Reign of Terror
Posted on 12/15/2010 7:22:45 PM PST by narses
Geneva was a church-city-state of 15,000 people, and the church constitution now recognized "pastors, doctors, elders and deacons," but the supreme power was given to the magistrate, John Calvin. In November 1552, the Council declared Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion to be a "holy doctrine which no man might speak against." Thus the State issued dogmatic decrees, the force of which had been anticipated earlier, as when Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547, for placing a letter in Calvin's pulpit calling him a hypocrite. Gruet's book was later found and burned along with his house while his wife was thrown out into the street to watch. Gruet's death was more highly criticized by far than the banishment of Castellio or the penalties inflicted on Bolsec -- moderate men opposed to extreme views in discipline and doctrine, who fell under suspicion as reactionary. Calvin did not shrink from his self-appointed task. Within five years fifty-eight sentences of death and seventy-six of exile, besides numerous committals of the most eminent citizens to prison, took place in Geneva. The iron yoke could not be shaken off. In 1555, under Ami Perrin, a revolt was attempted. No blood was shed, but Perrin lost the day, and Calvin's theocracy triumphed. John Calvin had secured his grip on Geneva by defeating the very man who had invited him there, Ami Perrin, commissioner of Geneva.
Calvin forced the citizens of Geneva to attend church services under a heavy threat of punishment. Since Calvinism falsely teaches that God forces the elect to believe, it is no wonder that Calvin thought he could also force the citizens of Geneva to all become the elect. Not becoming one of the elect was punishable by death or expulsion from Geneva. Calvin exercised forced regeneration on the citizens of Geneva, because that is what his theology teaches.
Michael Servetus, a Spaniard, physician, scientist and Bible scholar, was born in Villanova in 1511. He was credited with the discovery of the pulmonary circulation of the blood from the right chamber of the heart through the lungs and back to the left chamber of the heart. He was Calvin's longtime friend in their earlier resistance against the Roman Catholic Church. Servetus, while living in Vienne (historic city in southeastern France), angered Calvin by returning a copy of Calvin's writings, Institutes, with critical comments in the margins. Servetus was arrested by the Roman Catholic Authorities on April 4 but escaped on April 7, 1553. He traveled to Geneva where he attended Calvin's Sunday preaching service on August 13. Calvin promptly had Servetus arrested and charged with heresy for his disagreement with Calvin's theology. The thirty-eight official charges included rejection of the Trinity and infant baptism. Servetus was correct in challenging Calvin's false teaching about infant baptism for salvation, but he was heretical in his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity. Servetus pleaded to be beheaded instead of the more brutal method of burning at the stake, but Calvin and the city council refused the quicker death method. Other Protestant churches throughout Switzerland advised Calvin that Servetus be condemned but not executed. Calvin ignored their pleas and Servetus was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553. John Calvin insisted that his men use green wood for the fire because it burned slower. Servetus was screaming as he was literally baked alive from the feet upward and suffered the heat of the flames for 30 minutes before finally succumbing to one of the most painful and brutal death methods possible. Servetus had written a theology book, a copy of which Calvin had strapped to the chest of Servetus. The flames from the burning book rose against Servetus' face as he screamed in agony.
John Calvin celebrated and bragged of his killing of Servetus. Many theological and state leaders criticized Calvin for the unwarranted killing of Servetus, but it fell on deaf ears as Calvin advised others to do the same. Calvin wrote much in following years in a continual attempt to justify his burning of Servetus. Some people claim Calvin favored beheading, but this does not fit charges of heresy for which the punishment, as written by Calvin earlier, was to be burning at the stake. Calvin had made a vow years earlier that Servetus would never leave Geneva alive if he were ever captured, and Calvin held true to his pledge. Truly John Calvin is burning in Hell for his heresy, blasphemy of God and murder of many.
Another victim of Calvin's fiery zeal was Gentile of an Italian sect in Geneva, which also numbered among its adherents Alciati and Gribaldo. More or less Unitarian in their views, they were required to sign a confession drawn up by Calvin in 1558. Gentile signed it reluctantly, but in the upshot he was condemned and imprisoned as a perjurer. He escaped only to be incarcerated twice at Berne where, in 1566, he was beheaded. Calvin also had thirty-four (34) women burned at the stake after accusing them of causing a plague that had swept through Geneva in 1545. John Calvin's actions were very paganistic like his mentor, Saint Augustine. Jesus and all of the Apostles would have abhorred and condemned these blatant mass murders.
Darn. I was hoping this would be a thread about Calvin and Hobbes snowmen.
...after he [Servetus] had been recognized, I thought he should be detained. My friend Nicolas summoned him on a capital charge, offering himself as a security according to the lex talionis. On the following day he adduced against him forty written charges. He at first sought to evade them. Accordingly we were summoned. He impudently reviled me, just as if he regarded me as obnoxious to him. I answered him as he deserved... of the mans effrontery I will say nothing; but such was his madness that he did not hesitate to say that devils possessed divinity; yea, that many gods were in individual devils, inasmuch as a deity had been substantially communicated to those equally with wood and stone. I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed on him; but I desired that the severity of the punishment be mitigated.
Calvin to William Farel, August 20, 1553, Bonnet, Jules (18201892) Letters of John Calvin, Carlisle, Penn: Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, pp. 158159. ISBN 0-85151-323-9.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Scripture text: Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.
Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.
“and Calvin was a man of his daya day when NO ONE was religiously tolerant.”
Did Calvin have the New Testament?
Which of the disciple’s lead did Calvin follow for torturing a fellow human being for his lack of belief???
Which of Christ’s teachings did he use to guide him when he set fire to another man???
What an utterly implausible argument!
You might as well call up the action of contemporaneous Buddhists or Muslims to justify his actions.
Would it be too much to ask for correct punctuation in the headline?
“Why, I heard about this guy once, a real body-builder type, and he took a big bone, and MURDERED a THOUSAND people, by clubbing them to death, just because they were of a different religion.”
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight,...”
Indeed context dies make a difference!
Different Kingdom, different rules.
Sampson used the jawbone of an ass to slay Philistines.
Hitler used the same tool to slay six million Jews.
Calvin was an evil man. The context of his times is not relevant when he had the Bible to guide him.
These kinds of idiot threads are hilarious.
At the very most, even accepting the lies Rome pushes, Calvin is only tangentially involved with ONE death. A man whom Rome had already condemned to death at the stake for heresy.
Rome, OTOH, is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people, many of them Christians.
Looks like Calvin has his work cut out for him if he’s to even make minor league genocide.
Folks who believed in “believer’s baptism” were always getting burned at the stake by someone or other.
Thats ok. We’re tough; we can take it.
The idea that we should forgive and forget what happened five hundred years ago if fine with me as long as its a two (or three) way street. All it takes is a little humility all around.
In any case, if your compass is scripture, there is no reason for us to defend the actions of some churchman five hundred years ago, whether he was catholic or calvinist or anything else. We didn’t do it, none of us here murdered anyone, nor would we, and nothing in scripture excuses it.
We’re not guilty of anything if we don’t try to justify it.
It should make people a bit uneasy to think that certain interpretations of scripture might have won out because their champions were more ruthless than their opponents. Whichever side you come down on.
For me, its easy. Love God, love your neighbor. Love your fellow believers, even the cranky ones. Try not to murder anyone. At least, keep the numbers down to a bare minimum (preferably only the cranky ones).
The Protestants (the Huguenots) refused to lay down their arms and become a disarmed religious minority in a country where Catholics vastly outnumbered them. This served as the basis for our SECOND AMENDMENT. Still today Catholics in America, readily converted, agree that this is the correct basis for civilized life ~ that each man be armed and be accountable!
As late as the early 1600s European immigrants were still burning witches in America. The natives, of course, continued to disembowel them after ripping their beating hearts from their chests.
We are dramatically improved over our primitive ancestors ~ though we still have the same theology we now own thermonuclear weapons ~ veritable planet busters!
I do believe we have good reason to believe our enemies are as bloodthirsty as our ancestors.
“Thus the State issued dogmatic decrees, the force of which had been anticipated earlier, as when Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547, for placing a letter in Calvin’s pulpit calling him a hypocrite.”
Who authorized the torture? Who authorized the death? Who did the killing? You are implying it was John Calvin. Is that true? Or did it just happen in “Calvin’s Geneva?”
“Did Calvin have the New Testament?
Which of the disciples lead did Calvin follow for torturing a fellow human being for his lack of belief???
Which of Christs teachings did he use to guide him when he set fire to another man???
What an utterly implausible argument!”
First question: Did Calvin torture a fellow human being?
If he did, I as a Calvinist Protestant will acknowledge it as a sinfully wrong.
Second question: Did priests under the order of Popes torture a fellow human being?
If they did, are you willing to recognize that behavior as sinfully wrong?
“Different Kingdom, different rules.”
No, there are but two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world.
I don’t think Samson’s behavior would justify the torture or murder of anyone, though.
The Arian heresy had been around since at least the 300’s AD when the Constantine’s bishops declared it heresy in 325 AD. There was there after a century of wars in the Roman empire between trinitarians and arians. Most of North africa was arian under the vandals. they gave almost no resistance to the moslems when the moslems conquered Africa in the 8th century. A century later arian bishops in spain invited the moors to Spain to fight against their trinitarian adversaries. Given the Arian’s afinity to Islam its small wonder the catholic church took a dim view of such Arian offshoots as the 12 century Albigensians.
The problem with Servetus/Arian view of Christ is that if Jesus is just a man, a created being—then what you have as the central mystery ... is a human sacrifice. This is really creepy. In any case a mere man is no more effectual for the forgiveness of sins than a chicken or pig.
God’s wrath is not turned away.
Nor was Servetus the last Arian. In fact after about 1680 aruanism began its long march through christendom with the Unitarians in England and their champion Sir Issac Newton.
The first Unitarian pastor was brought to the USA by Benjamin Franklin and some of the first presidents were unitarians including Adams and Jefferson. Unitarianism was all the rage in the northeastern liberal colleges in the 1830’s to 60’s. Great writers like Herman Melville began attending a Unitarian church after he finished moby dick. But the Unitarian church lacked a moral spring of its own—as would be the case with a human sacrifice as the central mystery. The morality of the Unitarians was just a reflection of the general culture. when the surrounding culture went bad —the Unitarians went bad too. these days the Unitarians embrace not just homosexuality in the priesthood but polyamorism among the the lay.
On the continent the more successful theological school called “Higher Criticism” became dominant in the European protestant seminaries after about 1848. Their success in the seminaries was chronicled by Nietzsche whose father was a pastor. In less than 100 years the higher criticism school in Europe has successfully killed the European protestant churches. As in old Spain of the 700’s they have paved the way for moslem interventions. The higher criticism school jumped the pond after 1890 and successfully took over most of the American liberal mainline protestant seminaries by about 1940. Again the higher criticism school is working its magic on the churches it touches by destroying them. The membership of American liberal denominations who embraced this heresy are in steep decline:,,,let’s be clear: “higher criticism”, Unitarianism, arians, Servetus all embrace the low view of Jesus. That he is after all just a man.
Look to 1 Corinthians 15:16-19 so that you can see what happens when you forget the resurrection.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
Yet several million Americans are hell-bent on establishing religious tribal dictatorships across the USA, should the opportunity present itself.
Religious tyranny is no better than any other sort.
“Since Calvinism falsely teaches that God forces the elect to believe, it is no wonder that Calvin thought he could also force the citizens of Geneva to all become the elect. “
This is a gross misrepresentation of the doctrine of election.
The Bible teaches that mankind are totally depraved. From the Fall to the Valley of Dry Bones, to clear cut statements such as
“As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12
To Jesus’ instruction that we must be born again (do we give birth to ourselves?) we know with certainty that we are dead in our sins.
To say that God FORCES us to believe by BLESSING us by making us born again is a gross corruption of this most amazing grace.
Furthermore, no Calvinist thinks you can force someone to convert. I would it were so. Could I truly force someone to get saved I would do so without apology. I wish.
God alone saves, and that is what Calvinists teach and believe. To call his mercy “FORCE” is really nasty.
I think Calvinism can be defeated on pure theological grounds.
Talke about blank looks — just ask a staunch Calvinist if they believe in “Sola Scriptura” and that the bible is the Word of God. Then ask why are the “five points” needed if the teaching can be found clearly in the bible.
You really can’t reason with “devout” Calvinists, I have found.
How to tell if you are dealing with a Calvinist — 90% of the time, they also don’t recognize the special relationship of the Jewish people to God as His Chosen - which is somewhat ironic considering the 5 points of Calvinism, don’t you think?
no, he didn’t MURDER anybody. He KILLED them.
If you don’t know the difference, murder is killing for one’s own reasons....while killing is the exact action, but a different motivation.
Example: a guy cuts a 2 inch hole in your abdomen...if he is trying to kill you, it’s one thing (attempted murder), if he’s trying to heal you, it’s called an operation, and the surgeon gets paid.
These fine distinctions illustrate why the man-made construction of a system of understanding God’s economy (Calvinism) is also wrong. At it’s heart is the belief that the law of consequences and effects, and time itself - will and forethought - apply equally to God as to man.
This is not the case. God created time. He is both in the past, present and future simultaneously, indeed he is beyond time, and the boundries of space as well..... So, He can KNOW the future, and be sure of his people, without having to have affected the outcome.....we can NEVER be sure of the future, because we cannot know it until we are in it. God, on the other hand, knows the beginning from the end — NOW.
There is no “problem” with election - God is sovereign AND there is free will AND God knows his Elect. If God were a normal person existing in time, the only way he could KNOW this is to CAUSE it to occur (alas, then there IS no REAL free will).
God does not have to deal with such restrictions - Nor do we need any extra-biblical “explanations” if we have FAITH.
Then they all were evil men. The French Inquisition begged Calvin for Servetus so they could execute him themselves, because Servetus was teaching radically anti-Trinitarian theology and was totally demonizing infant baptism.
There is plenty of blame to go around, yet we pretend it isn’t so.
And we use it to cause disunity among Christian believers. And that teaches the world that we hate each others’ guts, and that, of course, makes them fall on their knees and praise God and believe in Jesus.
They all want to be part of a movement in which everyone hates everyone elses’ guts.