« Last post by rakovsky on Today at 08:24:48 AM »
I don't get why people in medieval Europe were picking Calvinism over Lutheranism in huge numbers. I don't see the real advantage or benefit to Calvinism.
Calvin basically disagreed that Jesus was in the bread, and he taught his 5 points, like irresistible grace/once saved always saved. Basically, once you truly pick Jesus, from that point on you have "assurance" of salvation. No matter what, you will not get lost. This is very appealing- the believer knows for himself whether he picked Jesus or not, but he doesn't "know" it about others for sure. Technically it could be claimed that any other person who "fell" permanently was never "saved" and faithful truly in the first place.
This doctrine creates a kind of personal infallibility. While some Reformed (ie. Calvinists) complain that Catholicism made Tradition infallible (an exaggeration, BTW), the Reformed system creates an idea that the believer himself becomes infallible.
This kind of arrogant mindset could easily relate to Calvin's own supremacism. In Geneva he became a virtual dictator as some of his detractors note. In Geneva, people were killed, flogged, or otherwise criminally penalized for going against Calvin. See Rives' book "Did Calvin Murder Servetus", where such cases are listed. The book also notes on p. 420 how in Calvin's Institutes, the minister is called "God Himself present" in the Church. The book notes that even Popes were better able to handle insults made at the personal level.
Note also the darker side of Calvinist theology and consequent attitudes- that of its "penal" emphasis. It has a strong focus on severe punishment for those who are outside the church, due to the inheritance of personal guilt of original sin.
It can lead to frightening, sometimes even psychopathic cultlike situations, as perhaps some aspects of Calvinism-based Puritan New England in Salem and Boston in the New World could be described regarding the killing of witches and religious dissidents there.