Monday, April 20, 2009

Was John Calvin a Murderer?

by Jim McClarty

"This is a question that shows up in my email from time to time. It's a claim that is leveled by those who seek to besmirch Reformed Theology. Usually, the claim that Calvin was a murderer is an attempt to make all Calvinistic doctrine wrong through 'guilt by association.'
However, historically speaking, the so-called 'Doctrines of Grace' - which go by the nickname of Calvinism - did not originate with Calvin. They are the result of a Synod held in Dort, Holland in 1618/19, after Calvin was long dead. Those of us who hold to Reformed Theology do so not because we are attempting to replicate the theology or ecclesiology of John Calvin, but because we are convinced that the Biblical arguments and conclusions stemming from that Synod are valid and our own exegesis confirms the five points.
If it could be proven that John Calvin was indeed a murderous wretch, it would have no effect on the theology that sprung from the pen of the Reformers. In other words, the 'guilt by association' tactic has no teeth. That being said, let's clear up the history and let the proverbial chips fall where they will."

continue reading...

2 comments:

rick said...

thanks ... good to have some of the background ...

Puritan said...

Whilst I certainly agree with Jim McClarty, that this makes no difference to that Calvinism is Biblical truth.

I would disagree with the notion that this was a thing of that age and culture. Michael Servetus being executed was merely consistent Covenant Theology in action. If we're still under the same OT Covenant as CT's believe then under that system heretics should be put to death. If a nation was to become Christian again and under "Covenant Theology" it would be no different today.

Also, Calvin wanting him repent but if not execute him, and asking him to be beheaded, doesn't exactly stand well in Calvin's favour.

I like John Calvin and have great love for many CT brothers, I just think the New Covenant is not like the old one (Jer 31). Which is the issue here that this is really all about.