Calvin and Geneva

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Rebel, Mar 20, 2015.

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  1. Rebel

    Rebel
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    The following is taken from the book, The Religious Bodies of America, by F.E. Mayer. This book is a historical and theological work; it is a book I used during my studies in church history and theology. It presents the facts about Calvin and Geneva, thus refuting the propaganda put forth by some here:

    "But by 1541 the moral conditions in Geneva had so deteriorated that Calvin was asked to return. Upon his return he established a plan of government in which the College of Pastors and the Consistorial Court of discipline, with himself at the head, aimed not only to direct the affairs of the city, but also to control the social life of its citizens. To all intents and purposes Geneva became a theocracy. After the execution of the anti-trinitarian Michael Servetus, the expulsion of the libertines, and violent clashes with those who opposed him, Calvin became the undisputed head of Reformed Protestantism."

    "In order to compel all citizens to live to the glory of God, Calvin in 1541 proposed a stringent system of church discipline, known as Ecclesiastical Ordinances. These were adopted by the city council and were made the civil law for Geneva. There was the closest possible relation between church and state in establishing a code of ethics and in forcing the Genevans to conform to this standard. The church was viewd as the conscience of the state. To fulfill her mission, God provided the ministry and the consistory, the former to function as an authoritative teaching office and the latter as an effective disciplining agency. The secular and spiritual authorities were viewed as the two arms working jointly to establish Christ's undisputed lordship in every area. This is usually called the Genevan theocracy... The state was the will of God in action, according to the council and direction of the consistory. Calvin was the undisputed head of the Genevan government, not, however, ex officio, but because of his recognized leadership in both the ecclesiastical and secular council."

    "It was Calvin's conviction that though Christ has fulfilled the Law, the basic principles of the Mosaic Law were not abrogated. This meant that he prescribed the punishment for such sins as blasphemy, adultery, and witchcraft on the basis of the Mosaic Law. Indeed, Calvin went beyond the law and established economic principles, introduced price control, and laid down specific rules for the choice of one's vocation and the discharge of one's obligations in it. In the various social relations the church carefully described the limits for everyone's conduct; for example, the church prescribed the menus for the various income groups; the style and color of dress. Card games and all luxury items were forbidden. In short, the private life of every citizen of Geneva was minutely prescribed and closely watched."

    "The punishments for the infractions of the Ecclesiastical Ordinances were extremely harsh. Within two years 58 persons were condemned to death, and 76 were exiled. This in a community of 20,000 inhabitants! During the pestilence of 1546, 34 women were burned at the stake on charges of having practiced sorcery. In two years 400 people were punished for laughing during the sermon or for dancing."
     
  2. Reformed

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    What a wonderful, unbiased author. A Lutheran who had great disdain for John Calvin.
     
    #2 Reformed, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015
  3. Squire Robertsson

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    I am closing this thread. As I have said before, threads of this nature do not speak to the basic theological debate. What most Baptists think of as Calvinism is a small subset of how the German, Swiss and Dutch Reformed and the Lutherans look at the term.
     
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