Skip to comments.John Calvin was America’s ’Founding Father’ [Presbyterian Rebellion Day]
Posted on 07/04/2012 7:38:25 PM PDT by Gamecock
More than a thousand attendees are expected to gather for a four-day conference to celebrate John Calvin's 500th birthday, reports Michael Ireland, chief correspondent, ASSIST News Service.
As America prepares to celebrate Independence Day this July 4, Vision Forum Ministries will be hosting the national celebration to honor the 500th birthday of John Calvin, a man who many scholars recognize as America's "Founding Father."
The event -- The Reformation 500 Celebration -- will take place July 1-4 at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, according to a media release about the event.
"Long before America declared its independence, John Calvin declared and defended principles that birthed liberty in the modern world," noted Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries.
"Scholars both critical and sympathetic of the life and theology of Calvin agree on one thing: that this reformer from Geneva was the father of modern liberty as well as the intellectual founding father of America," he said.
Phillips pointed out: "Jean Jacques Rousseau, a fellow Genevan who was no friend to Christianity, observed: 'Those who consider Calvin only as a theologian fail to recognize the breadth of his genius. The editing of our wise laws, in which he had a large share, does him as much credit as his Institutes. . . . [S]o long as the love of country and liberty is not extinct amongst us, the memory of this great man will be held in reverence.'"
He continued: "German historian Leopold von Ranke observed that 'Calvin was virtually the founder of America.' Harvard historian George Bancroft was no less direct with this remark: 'He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.'
"John Adams, America's second president, agreed with this sentiment and issued this pointed charge: 'Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty owes it much respect.'
"As we celebrate America's Independence this July 4, we would do well to heed John Adams' admonition and show due respect to the memory of John Calvin whose 500th birthday fall six days later," Phillips stated.
Calvin, a convert to Reformation Christianity born in Noyon, France, on July 10, 1509, is best known for his influence on the city of Geneva, the media release explains.
"It was there that he modeled many of the principles of liberty later embraced by America's Founders, including anti-statism, the belief in transcendent principles of law as the foundation of an ethical legal system, free market economics, decentralized authority, an educated citizenry as a safeguard against tyranny, and republican representative government which was accountable to the people and a higher law," the release states.
The Reformation 500 Celebration will honor Calvin's legacy, along with other key Protestant reformers, and will feature more than thirty history messages on the impact of the Reformation, Faith & Freedom mini-tours of historic Boston, and a Children's Parade.
The festivities will climax on America's Independence Day as attendees join thousands of others for the world-renowned music and fireworks celebration on the Esplanade with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
"Build a man a fire and you will warm him for a day. Light a man on fire and you will warm him for the rest of his life." - Jean Calvin
Oh, come on! What did Christ do for the Church!?
No. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements." Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."
That came about in the sixties with Vatican II, didn’t it?
Prior to that point, Catholics were forbidden to even read the Protestant Bible. Catholics were forbidden to express support for religious freedom, speaking specifically of John Courtney Murray, that being the most high profile instance in the modern era, but there were certainly others. Those Christians outside the Catholic church were deemed heretic and unsaved.
While it does my heart good to see you guys embracing religious freedom, since it’s better late than never even if it was two centuries overdue (and it was), invariably the same individuals rail against Vatican II which brought this about.
Quite the twist some Catholics find themselves in, I’d say.
Killed a bunch of French Huguenot settlers at Ft. Caroline back in those decades, didn’t they?
And Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold public office in those days.
Talk about discrimuination.
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That’s certainly mild compared to the treatment Protestants received at the hands of Catholic state churches, leading to their fleeing to the English colonies in North America.
Be grateful for the kindness rather than sour over state church advocates being excluded from elected office in a country that forbade a state church.
You do see the conflict, being an advocate of religious freedom, don’t you?
... and guess when Ft. caroline was established. 1564.
So, I’m sorry, bragging rights belong to a bunch of French Huguenot “prods.” Too bad none of them lived to tell about it.
Catholics have never been forbidden to read the Bible. It was the Catholic Church that canonized and commissioned the production of a Bible in the common language of Europe in the 4th century. Although some heretical translations were prohibited, no Bible accepted by any mainstream Protestant denomination today was ever on the list.
For the record, Fr. John Courtney Murray was silenced not because of his position on eccumenicalism but because of his advocacy for birth control and abortion and toleration of politicians who supported it.
The Church has always been an advocate for religious liberty because it has so often been the victim of those opposed to it.
Peace be with you.
In the late 1940s Murray began to grapple with the problem of how the beliefs of a pluralistic, democratic society such as that of the United States could be integrated into the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. Murray was an outspoken opponent of censorship on the part of the Vatican, and, indeed, was opposed to any effort by the church to bring about change within states by means other than moral persuasion. Many of his writings on these topics first appeared in Theological Studies, a quarterly journal published by Woodstock College, of which Murray became editor in 1941. By the mid-1950s he was forbidden by the Jesuit order to write on topics pertaining to religious freedom and issues of church and state...
So, it would seem that advocating religious freedom led to John Courtney Murray being censored by the Catholic Church. Rather odd, wouldn't you say, if your characterization is correct?
Thr Fr. Murray story is a fascinating one that the Encyclopedia Brittanica frankly got wrong. The 20th century saw a continuing struggle within the Church between the Modernists and the Traditionalists. Modernism had been declared a heresy bu St. (then Pope) Pius X and all Catholic clergy were required to take an oath against it. Fr. Murray was silenced in 1954 for his public and persistent advocacy of Modernism in direct disobedience to his order, his bishop and the Vatican. He was not excommunicated, just forbidden from publishing and publically speaking on anything not approved in advance.
Fr. Murray was called to Rome to assist in the development of the Dignitas Humanae doctrine in Vatican II. In spite of his contributions Fr. Murray continued his pro-modernist advocacy and, in defiance of the Church took public positions in favor of abortion, birth control, dialog and cooperation with Marxists and a number of hot button issues in the 60's. Had he not died of a heart attack in 1967 he probably would have been excommunicated.
Your Catholic "hero" represented everything you hate about the Church and gave political cover to the likes of Ted Kennedy. The Church is still working to undo the damage he caused.
Peace be with you
Nonsense. There is no point of what you call "5 point Calvinism" which cannot be found in the anti-Pelagian writings of St. Augustine.
Also, Religious liberty owes it much respect is false -- Geneva was as merciless in rooting out those who didn't follow it's state religion as Lutherans or Catholics were.
if we talk about religious liberty, later Anglicanism has a higher position, but only from the 1800s.
Rather, I would put the concept of religious liberty to the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth (and no, this was not because the Poles were Catholics) which had religious liberty for Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Lutherans, Muslims, Armenian Orthodox, Unitarians and Calvinists too --> the Calvinists did compromise their position by supporting the invading Swedes during the Potop. This resulted in a sharp decline of Calvinism after the Swedes were kicked out -- not due to government pressure so much as people leaving a "foreign influence". Lutheranism wasn't seen as supporting foreigners so much either
Anyway, I digress -- Calvinism was not associated with civil liberty in the 1700s, neither was Catholicism or Orthodoxy or Lutheranism or Anglicanism. Mennonites yes, but they weren't associated with any nation state.
incorrect. After the reformation, Calvin, Zwingli and Luther realised that the way of let's call it "pure ss" or anyone picking up a Bible, reading a verse or two and proclaiming a new division, was wrong
They had a council to have a fixed set of beliefs
The Calvinists stick to the tenets of the faith as encapsulated in the Nicene Creed. No innovations to that like, sorry, Oneness Pentecostalism or Jehovah's Witnesses etc.
Five-point Calvinism seeks to explain the Bible, not replace it -- hence the PCUSA's proclaiming of gay-marriages is wrong because it subverts scripture. But this does not mean that the Calvinists have used the 5points to replace scripture but rather complement
I don't agree with them, but I've not seen a Calvinist do that (replacing)
Then one sees Lutheran princelings crushing baptist etc. serfs
What was going on?
You cannot read this without reading how the Holy Roman Empire was Catholic and the little Lords, Dukes etc. in northern Europe used the Reformation to declare their independence
you cannot read it without reading how France used the opportunity to weaken the Holy Roman Empire (i.e. how West Francia stole a march over East Francia) and how the Turks used this European turmoil to their own advantage
The city-state of Geneva was in effect, a police state, ruled by a Consistory of five pastors and twelve lay elders, with the bloodless figure of the dictator looming over all, John Calvin....Sources quoted in Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. 8:
Frail, thin, short, and lightly bearded, with ruthless, penetrating eyes, he was humorless and short-tempered. The slightest criticism enraged him. Those who questioned his theology he called pigs, asses, riffraff, dogs, idiots, and stinking beasts. One morning he found a poster on his pulpit accusing him of Gross Hypocrisy. A suspect was arrested. No evidence was produced, but he was tortured day and night for a month till he confessed. Screaming with pain, he was lashed to a wooden stake. Penultimately, his feet were nailed to the wood; ultimately he was decapitated.
- Belot, an Anabaptist was arrested for passing out tracts in Geneva and also accusing Calvin of excessive use of wine. With his books and tracts burned, he was banished from the city and told not to return on pain of hanging (J.L. Adams, The Radical Reformation, pp. 597-598).
- Jacques Gruent was racked and then executed for calling Calvin a hypocrite
- A man who publicly protested against the reformer's doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled.
- Calvin's Letter to the Marquis Paet, chamberlain to the King of Navarre, 1561. "Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels [Anabaptists and others], who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard."
NOTE: he was as bad as anyone else in his day. He was no "liberator".
let's trace the Huguenots, shall we. In france, under Francis I, France was tolerant of all religious views
however, what did the Huguenots do? In the affair of the placards they posted placards all over Paris and even on the bedchamber door of the king (a security breach that angered him and made him change his tolerance position) -- these placards were attacks on Catholics.
So, instead of discussing, the Huguenots went to attack the Catholic majority who until then were content to let them live and debate and discuss and debate. Incidently, until this time the Huguenots were increasing, like the Moslems in Bradford, but then they started to get shrill and wake people up with their attacks
This polemic was an attack and the Huguenots started this retaliation.This was in 1534
Next, came the French wars of religion in which the Huguenots conspired against the King. This, added to the previous attack meant that they now publically came to attack the conservative forces. The progressives of the Huguenots were the precursors of the Revolutionaires
The people who became Huguenots were primarily the urban elite, like our present-day New Yorkers who take a fad and they saw that this was a means to oppose the King, so Huguenotism became a political tool
A group of Huguenots tried to kidnap the Prince Francis II when his father died -- causing more antagonism.
Huguenots in 1560 attacked Catholic Churchs and destroyed properties in Rouen and La Rochelle -- thus the FIRST salvo was lobbed by the Huguenots. -- the Catholics retailiated with mobs at seeing their places of worship attacked and defiled by Huguenots
Next, in 1562-70, we have the wars -- now political-religious, so no, it was not a simple case of "persecution" --> The Huguenots were one side of a civil war, which they lost
Now, let's come to the juicy part, the St. Bart's day massacre -- this occured in 1572, 40 years after the first provocations by the Huguenots and 12 years after they started destroying Catholic Churchs (just like the Moslems in America they were quiet until their numbers grew)
now, King Charles XI was openly in favor of the Huguenots -- so a political moment. Hence the attacks on the opposing side
So, let's see in conclusion -- Huguenots first start their provocations in 1534, then in 1560 start attacking Catholic Churchs (with no provocation), then start their political support against the conservatives and start a civil war. After 12 years their side loses the civil war and yet they are still allowed to live and practise their faith (note this is the 1500s, not a nice time, yet they get this tolerance) -- but they still play political intrigues. So, one faction starts to attack and massacre the other faction
so, stop the entire "poor persecuted Huguenots" -- they brought it on themselves. the Huguenots after doing their persecuting of Catholics, got retaliation, then they went to England and many to South Africa where they were among the racists enforcing Apartheid.
Many came to the US and Germany as well.
In England and Germany they were Calvinists in non-Calvinist lands, but no "persecution". In the US they were one of many and no, no "persecutions". In South Africa they were one of the folks doing the persecutions and in Northern Germany they enthusiastically participated in the Kulturkampf.
what persecution did they face once they left France?
As shown above (and you can check the facts for yourself), the Huguenots were the one who bit the hand that fed them, then launched the first attacks, started a civil war and then lost
They were like the Moslems in present day France -- slowly starting, making nice noises, but then attacking Christian churchs and finally starting a civil war.
They lost, tough luck --- the losers in the 1500s were not given much graces, yet they were allowed to stay with the same acts of tolerance AFTER losing politically. Yet they continued supporting political intrigues and there was a political massacre.
The Huguenots were on the losing side, so they got killed like the Catholics in England or in Scandanavia.
It was the 1500s, a pretty barbaric time
The mass killings of the Huguenots were done at the hands of rioters in a pogrom after it was learned that the Huguenots were conspiring with the English to stage a coup and facilitate an invasion. It is never healthy to conspire against a sitting king.