Was it Calvin who saved the Waldensians?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Gerhard Ebersoehn, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Was it Calvin who saved the Waldensians from extinction?

    I have too meager a knowledge of the Reformation during Calvin's second Geneve experience to say, but that was the impression I got.

    Can anybody supply me with more - or perhaps better - information in this regard?

    Appreciated!
    Gerhard Ebersoehn
     
  2. billwald

    billwald
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    Off the top of my head Calvin would have been at least a generation to late. The one thing Calvin, Luther, and the Pope agreed upon was that it was OK to kill Anabaptists.
     
  3. Eliyahu

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    I don't think so.( Disagree with the OP question)
    What Calvin claimed were:
    1) Clergy system, - Baptism and Lord Supper can be conducted only by ordained Clergy

    2) Infant Baptism - Infants should be baptized ( regardless their fiath and confession)

    3) Predestination

    4) Holy Catholic ( though concepts are different from RCC a little)

    He was a Pope of Geneve and under his reign 58 were sentenced to death. Some of them were true believers who refused the Infant Baptism telling Calvin that only the person who can confess the faith can be baptized, then Calvin ordered her to be burnt.
    I am glad that I do not live under the authority of Calvin. Also, I am glad that God took him early after only 4 years or so of his reign in Geneve, otherwise he would have killed thousands.

    I think Waldenses were absorbed into various believers group and one of such group was Moravians who taught the Gospels to John Wesley thru Peter Boehler.

    You can have some idea here:

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/thailand/pc-b-085.htm
     
    #3 Eliyahu, Feb 24, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2007
  4. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
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    I am looking for the book written by Luther claiming all the Jews and Gypsies must be killed. Someone told me he read such a book at the Public Library in Oakville.
    As for the Reformists, there were many problems with them, though they were right and made a good contribution for some aspects and for some areas.
     
  5. DQuixote

    DQuixote
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    Waldensees / anabaptists posted sentries when Calvinites were in the vicinity.
     
  6. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    GE:

    One thing for sure is that it was not too late. Another thing for sure is that Calvin did have at least talks with some Waldensians. certain too is that some fled the inquisitions to Geneve. Or the books I read are wrong, or in the last analysis, I read them wrong. But I don't think I have.
     
  7. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Eliyahoo:

    "He was a Pope of Geneve and under his reign 58 were sentenced to death. Some of them were true believers who refused the Infant Baptism telling Calvin that only the person who can confess the faith can be baptized, then Calvin ordered her to be burnt."

    GE:

    It's not true. You are misled and have't read the other side -- where 'other sides' exist, e.g. in the case of Servetus.


    Calvin On Trial!

    Within the space of a few lines Professor Samuele Bacchiocchi "as Church historian" in his Endtime-Issues, puts Calvin to the stand and finds him guilty of "the fires kindled by the atrocity of that execution (of Servetus)", the "greenwood and sulphur to better re-enact the destructive smoke and fire of hell", "still burning and casting their lurid sparks into the religious intolerance of Calvin".
    Judges Bacchiocchi, "Calvin stands out among the Reformers as the most embarrassing example of religious intolerance. The role that Calvin played in the trial, condemnation, and execution of Servetus – a brilliant scientist of the time who espoused a unitarian view of God – has tarnished Calvin’s image to this very day."
    "Servetus was caught by the Geneva police one night while he was travelling through the city in a disguised way on his way to Italy to practice medicine. Because Servetus refused to renounce his unitarian view of God and to accept the trinatarian view, he was burned to death at Champel on the 27th of October, 1553 … Calvin was primarily responsible for this execution, because he presided over the whole trial."
    "It is hard for me to believe that a man like Calvin who wanted to make Geneva a haven for the religious oppressed, could be so intolerant toward a renowned scientist who discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood, to have him executed in a most cruel way." (The culprit is made the hero!)
    Bacchiocchi’s allegations are not only unfair – they are horribly incorrect and slanderous – and certainly unforgivable for the summa cum lauda and medalled "Church historian" with “sixteen books authored” by him.
    "Calvin … wanted to make Geneva a haven for the religious oppressed", says Bacchiocchi as though Calvin’s was mere Pharisaic boasting contradicted by "the cold heartlessness in which (he as a "church leader") suppressed dissenters". "Calvin stands out among the Reformers as the most embarrassing example of religious intolerance."
    But Calvin remained the true friend of Melancheton, and translated his Loci Theologici despite the fact that Melancheton "on more than one point, disagreed with Calvin’s own thought. …(Calvin) even … wrote a eulogistic preface. … With openness of spirit he combined patience."
    "A very big part of (Calvin’s) time and his warmest love was extended to the imprisoned and to the companions in the faith who were threatened with death" (Kolfhaus, Die Seelsorge Johannes Calvins, p. 88) "Calvin was a pastor and councelor for martyrs! This is one light in which he is too little known. However, perhaps this facet of his career reveals the genuine depth of his life and is the clearest illustration of his piety." (Benoit, Calvin, p. 61) "It is in his attitude toward captives and martyrs that the Reformer shows the full measure of his humanness." (R. Stauffer, The Humanness of John Calvin, p. 90)
    So, Servetus wasn’t the poor "dissenter", victim of Calvin’s "cold heartlessness".
    "American politicians, including President Bush, have been misled to believe that Islam is (a) tolerant and peaceful religion", writes Bacchiocchi. Now the Councils of the City-States of the time in which the Servetus case played off, including Calvin, were wiser, and were not misled like the "American politicians"! The Councils (Governments of State) clearly perceived the dangers of monotheistic enthusiasm. Servetus’ crime was contravention of State Law and sowing the seed of enmity against the State and law and order. The Church (Not only Calvin) judged the fanaticism of Servetus a heresy, the heresy of denying the divinity of Christ and sowing the seed of enmity against the Faith, its People and its Lord. In countries Protestant and Roman Catholic this crime, for this reason, was punished by death.
    The law by which Servetus was condemned had been made long before his own life time. It came onto the statute books some indeterminable but short time after the Islamic invasions of Western Europe. It was meant to prevent the very evil which civilisation today experiences – the scourge of Islamic "terrorism"!
    Servetus wasn’t simply another doubter. He was the "brilliant / renowned scientist" (Bacchiocchi), "and also a theologian of considerable ability" (Johnson) – the most active propagator of his enthusiasm that carried within it the danger of subverting State and Church. So Servetus was tried, found guilty, condemned to death, and imprisoned. (One Mohammed and his Muslims had been enough.) It happened in Vienne, by court of law. Calvin had nothing to do with any of the proceedings.
    Servetus escaped prison in Vienne and headed for Italy – not "to practice medicine" as Bacchiocchi alleges, but – to hide from the law, and where he certainly planned to further his own religious cause by whatever underground means. On route to Italy in Geneva Servetus went to church, not to worship, but to get by unnoticed. Unfortunately for him he was recognised. Two men reported his presence in the city to Calvin. The Councils were alerted. Servetus was arrested the same day.
     
  8. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Was Calvin to tell the reporters, Be quiet, let the man go? Then Calvin would have been branded the great Judas of Protestantism instead of the great persecutor of "dissenters"!
    Like democracy today, the Christian religion at the time formed the basis for criminal law and civil government. Vienne already had Servetus executed symbolically. His effigy, a straw puppet, was burned. Because apprehended in Geneva, Servetus now was the responsibility of that leading Roman Catholic City-State. The ecclesiastical tribune of Vienne nevertheless requested that Servetus should be sent back, but Geneva’s Councils felt obliged to try Servetus themselves. Servetus was to be removed from society … by death.
    "The trial, which therefor took place in Geneva, was a lengthy one. Sometimes, by order of the Council, the evidence for prosecution and defence was in writing … Sometimes there was a face-to-face confrontation, with wordy battles. Servetus was very abusive. He did not expect to be sentenced to death, and felt very sure of himself. Seeing that the Libertines – loose living men – had once more gained power in Geneva, and were plotting Calvin’s downfall, the Spaniard was counting on their help. However, the Little Council decided to ask advice of Bern, Zurich, Basle, and Schaffhausen, and when the replies came in, it was seen that each of the four Swiss cities denounced Servetus as a heretic and blasphemer, harmful to the Church. … Michael Servetus was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by burning. Calvin implored the Council to substitute death by axe, as being swifter and more merciful, but his request was brushed aside, and the condemned man was burned at the stake, on the hill called Champel on October 27th, 1553.
    If Servetus had been put to death at Rome or Vienna, most probably the sad event would have been forgotten within a comparatively short time. That a man should be put to death in the Protestant city of Geneva, came as a shock, and called forth a storm of criticism and controversy. Time itself has not removed the stain which this left on Calvin’s reputation. But Calvin lived in an age when heresy was everywhere regarded as a crime to be punished by the State, and in the matter of Servetus, the Government of Geneva, and Calvin himself, acted according to the laws of that age. In the standard civil law-book, it stated clearly that for the crime of denying the Trinity, the penalty was death." (E.M. Johnson, The Man of Geneva, BTT 1977 Chapter 11.)
    Bacchiocchi the Church historian doesn’t know these things? He says nothing of the fact that six Governments found Servetus guilty of a crime punishable by death? He mentions not Calvin’s plea for a more humane method of execution but makes him the sole sadist of the occasion? Bacchiocchi the Church historian doesn’t know the Council employed Calvin – that he was responsible to the Council in the trial of Servetus in his capacity of state-lawyer? Bacchiocchi the Church historian didn’t know Calvin had to provide laws on every imaginable aspect of life, like building and sanitary regulations … approved or rejected by the Government of the day? (Which incidentally, at the time was in the hands of the Libertines and not in the hands of Calvin or the Church) Bacchiocchi doesn’t know? I don’t think so. I think Bacchiocchi the Professor knows very well but loves to be the cruel executioner of Calvin the Calvinist for his "roots" and "teachings" – the doctrines of free grace and God’s sovereignty and predestination.
    So far for Bacchiocchi "as Church historian".
    Says Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Meditations, A Collection by Otto Dudzus, from an Afrikaans translation of the German by Leo van der Westhuizen, Tafelberg Uitgewers, ISBN 0 624 01238 7, p. 65/66, The Hazardous Undertaking of Responsible Act, "Responsible man acts … in the gloaming of the relativity that extends the historic situation over good and bad; it happens in the midst of innumerable perspectives that surround every given. It should not by the act simply be distinguished between right and wrong, good and bad, but between justice and justice, between injustice and injustice. Justice struggles with justice, Aischulos said. Precisely therein responsibility is a free enterprise – no law justifies it, no valid self-justification, no ready-made finality. The good as responsibility happens without knowing about the good, in the surrendering of the inevitable yet free deed to God who sees the heart, weighs the deed and guides history. Herein opens to us the deep secret of history. This man who in the freedom of his very own responsibility acts, sees his act flowing into the dispensation of God. Free act eventually sees itself as act of God, free decision sees itself as divine guidance, option as divine necessity. In the free surrendering of the knowledge about the own good and justice, occurs the good of God. Only in this last perspective is it possible to speak of the good in the historic act."
     
  9. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Who would not allow the truth of this Meditation in the case of Calvin versus Servetus?
    Now for Bacchiocchi as Church theologian …
    He argues that "monotheistic religions tend to be more intolerant"; that the "problem" of "intolerance" is the reason of "terrorism" – the killing of the innocent and defenceless. "Which means", says Bacchiocchi, that the "problem (of terrorism) cannot be resolved without first striking at its roots by exposing the immorality, shamefulness, and senselessness of its teachings".
    Bacchiocchi blames Islam’s "intolerance" on its "monotheistic nature" and "monotheistic view of God" – which, Bacchiocchi says, is also the "nature" of Christianity and its "view of God". According to Bacchiocchi the "nature" of its "religion" and "view of God" is the reason also for the "intolerance" of Christianity! By final analysis then, Christianity’s "monotheistic nature" should bear the blame for Calvin’s "intolerance". But Servetus’ "unitarian view of God" made of him a martyr!
    "Monotheistic religions" – i.e., all of them –teach "that there is only one true God". "Christians … accept … people of all religions … Moslem, Jews, Buddists, Hindus, as children of the same God, equally important in His sight." For Bacchiocchi, only "religions" are different – the "God", is "the same". "There is only one true God, which for Moslems is Allah". Muslims have the "right" to so believe, says he.
    Now Christianity is neither "monotheistic" nor "unitarian"; it is "trinitarian". Christianity doesn’t believe in any "theism" or "deism"; it believes "in God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit". If the confession of Christianity is not of a Faith in Jesus Christ for being God, and in God for being Jesus Christ, it isn’t Christian; it isn’t Faith! Not the concepts or conceptionalisations of these two "gods", God and Allah, are comparable – how much less their beings. Christianity for this reason is the natural enemy of Islam. Hate in fact – hate for the Christian Faith and the God of the Christian Faith – gendered Islam.
    Jesus – nobody or nothing else, least of all Bacchiocchi’s Seventh-Day Adventist "worldwide educational program … exposing the immorality of religious intolerance and promoting the right of all people", is the answer to the threat of Islam and its pietism. Many programs such as Bacchiocchi’s have been going on for centuries – in fact for as long as Christianity has existed and invariably have resulted in "accepting Moslem, Jews, Buddists, Hindus, and people of all religions, as children of the same God, equally important in His sight."
    Programs’ like this equate not the "children", but the many gods. How could the Christian ever "practice" a "Fatherhood of God" that is brought down to the level of "the brotherhood of man"? "We", Christians, have already denied and surrendered Christian Faith and our duty when "we accept people of all religions as children of God". Because the truth is "people of all religions" are not the children of God, but of different faiths, of different gods and of different destiny. Therefore, o Christian, "Throw out the Lifeline" the Good News of Jesus Christ – there are many drowning and "few are chosen"!
    Either Christian Faith is believed for its Judgement, its Offence and Stumbling Block and Odour unto Death or Odour unto Life or not at all! No "worldwide educational program … exposing the immorality of religious intolerance and promoting the right of all people" could substitute the "power of God which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead" – the "Name far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named". Indeed, "there is no other Name given under men under the sun" through Whom man shall be saved, or, be lost!
    I recently attended a Bible Study where the issue was raised whether a sincere and devoted Moslem could be saved without Jesus Christ – whether only believers in Jesus Christ will be saved. I am sorry to report the whole (and large) congregation sat there dumb! Then to kill the uneasy silence one "experienced" was asked to say something. He must at least ten times have explained how difficult it is to explain the difficulty; also that there is no clear cut Scripture to tell; that one man’s devotion is as deserving as another’s, etc. Nobody in that church dared to answer the challenge of their Faith.
    There is no salvation in monotheism or with the Allah of Islam. Islam has no respect for life because it has no respect for Jesus Christ the Source of life – "the only true God and Saviour" of His own and favoured Elect!
     
  10. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    I didn't read your last post, because it was to small for me to read. ....or I was to lazy.

    So I may say some things you already said.

    The Waldensians were interesting group. It seems like everyone wants to claim them. 1st and foremost are the Baptist successionism groups. This is a long story, but to be short, this is nothing but bunk. Baptist successionism tries to trace Baptist back to Bible times, without using the RCC. They claim Waldensians go back 300-400 years before the founder of the Waldensians was born, which is stupid. But you also have....
    The Seventh-day Adventists


    Ellen G. White, claimed links to the Waldensians.

    You find find statements like this from others. Plymouth Brethren, the "King James Only" and the Jehovah Witnesses claim they came from the Waldensians. You even have the RCC saying the Waldensians never left the church till after Peter Waldo died.


    My feeling is that they were none of this groups, but made up with all of this groups as Protestant. However, it should be noted that Waldo wanted to stay in the RCC as a sect. If you were read his statement of faith you would agree. In 1180 Waldo signed a statement of faith dictated by the pope which subscribed to all of the of traditions of the RCC.

    There was a link to Calvin. The Waldensians asked Calvin for a Bible in their language. Calvin picked I think it was his cousin, not sure. It was a family member of Calvin that translated the Bible for them. They also met with someone in Germany that was from the reformers. I don’t remember for sure, but I do not think it was Luther. Whoever it was, the two groups thought it best not to join each other. Waldensians seemed to get along best with the Anabaptism. However this too did not last long. When the Methodist came along, as I'm sure you know, it seems like they found their home in them.
     
  11. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
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    Calvin was dealt with many times on this Board.
    I disagree with Servetus, but nevertheless he didn't have to be burnt.
    Many Calvinists excuse that Calvin had no right to execute him, but then why did Servetus plea Calvin to save him? Calvin had the authority to release or execute him, and Calvin chose to kill him just because Servetus opposed to his faith.

    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/ashes.htm
     
  12. Eliyahu

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    I have a book written by Calvin translated into English, "Institutes of Christian Religion" which is so famous among Presbyterians.

    The book contains a lot of theory which is unbiblical very much.

    Have you ever read it? I am not misled by anything else than his own book.

    Not only Servetus, there were some Evangelists who fled into Geneve, but was didappointed with Calvin very much then fled from there too, then was caught by Roman Catholic and killed outside Geneve.

    Again read thru this.

    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/ashes.htm

    He was nothing more than Reformed Roman Catholic, behaved as Pope of Geneve, born as a Cathollic, had the infant baptism, no experience of Salvation, no more Baptism, all the theory based on Clergy system.
    God who is merciful, smote him quickly, otherwise he would have killed more than 200,000 if the Pope of Geneve expanded his Rule to whole Europe for 20 years ( calculate the same pro-rate to the whole Europe)
     
  13. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    GE:

    You have it the wrong way round, Eliyahu. Calvin did not burn Servetus. Calvin had no right to execute him!
    And Servetus did not 'plea' Calvin to save him - it was Calvin who pleaded with the Council to save Servetus, but the Council would not accept! Calvin did not have the authority to release or execute Servetus or any of the 'victims'.
    Calvin did NOT choose to kill Servetus just because he opposed his faith. I have explained it in my previous post. And so is there an answer to every of Calvin's enemies' favourite - and false - accusations.
    Calvin was a man of God, and the day of judgement shall confirm what his works and life already have proven.
     
  14. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Eliyahu:

    "I have a book written by Calvin translated into English, "Institutes of Christian Religion" which is so famous among Presbyterians.
    The book contains a lot of theory which is unbiblical very much.
    Have you ever read it? I am not misled by anything else than his own book."

    GE:

    Yes, I have it, in English and in superb translation into Afrikaans (from the Latin). I treasure the book as a manifesto of the Reformation above any rival to the title. Yet I also have my disagreements with Calvin's Constitutions. It gives me no reason or right to judge Calvin though.
    of some parts (obviously) of the oevre I have made thorough study. What struck me most in it is Calvin's honesty.
     
  15. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    hear me! Calvin's constitutions! Pardon, 'Institutes' of course!
     
  16. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    correction to yet another mistake of mine, please:

    "who pleaded with the Council to save Servetus". Calvin pleaded for a more humane way of exection. He went with the Council as far as the death sentence was concerned.
     
  17. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    All this about Calvin's character or misdeeds haven't brought any facts to light concerning my original request to more information. It seems nobody has any, or my conjecture is wrong. But for wrong I shall only accept it when proven so.
     
  18. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
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    For some part or for most parts, we may have to leave to the judgment by God. I have no intention to judge Calvin severely.
     
  19. Jarthur001

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    I am a 5 point Calvinist. John Calvin's writings are at the top of the list. Institutes of Christian Religion is a master work. Yet I have no problem judging Calvin over Servetus. Calvin was wrong for taking it to the end as he did. Servetus was a evil person and if you read his writings you to would become mad and red faced. He talks about God having sex as well as other things. Yet, Calvin should have keep it to an exchange of words. This is the big black spot on his life. This to me shows he was just one of us...a sinner.

    I use to take up for Calvin on this...saying that Calvin wanted the death to be more humane. Calvin didn't want to burn him, he wanted to chop his head off. That matters little. Sin is in the heart, and Calvin wanted Servetus dead. You can say it was part of the age. Well..you are right...it was. This is how they handly things back then, but we that hold the real truth need to go beyond what every one else is doing and do as Christ would have us do. I use to say it was not Calvin, it was the state that put Servetus to death. Well...it was a law, but that law had started to not be enforced. It was Calvin that pushed it though. If you read reports you will see that the state just wanted to ban Servetus from the nation.

    I'm sure John Calvin sinned in more areas then this one. Yet this is the only public sin after salvation recorded. Pick your hero....if you look close they are nothing but a sinner just as you and I. David, Paul, Peter....all sinners. The bloodline of Christ is made up of sinners. It is but the grace of God that Calvin lifts up in all his writings that we are saved anyway.
     
  20. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    GE:

    You have said it in true Christian spirit!
    But it raises the question to me, is it in every case a sin to tkae the life of the wicked?
    If . . . the Roman Catholic Church did its duty properly and killed Mohammed, would we have had the terror and blaspheming of Islam today? Would it be necessary to kill many through warfare?
     

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