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.
What’s your opinion of post #63?
Sorry, I know the general story of Calvin and Servetus, but have not studied it in that much detail. The general view is that Calvin was pretty much in charge of the business, at least that’s what most historians—and not just Catholics—seem to think.
But the assertions made in Post #63 really would require examination of the primary documents.
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