OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 01, 2014, 09:06:08 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Why do Calvinists...  (Read 1480 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
tcolon90
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Revert (Technically)
Posts: 30


« on: September 08, 2013, 01:02:37 PM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing?

Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

Also, why do they believe that the Church's authority comes form scripture? Every time I try to explain to them that it's authority comes from God, they deny it and say that I am wrong, but they never provide evidence as to why. I provide biblical evidence (gasp) yet they just call me names.
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Faith: Agnostic
Posts: 29,571



« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 01:09:33 PM »

Probably for the same reason the Orthodox deny the murders and such committed by Orthodox writers and saints?  Huh
Logged
Cyrillic
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Posts: 9,077


Ceci n'est pas une pipe


« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 01:28:35 PM »

Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

Because they believe it to be true?

I could say that 1+1=2 and the next minute I could strangle a kitten. That wouldn't mean that 1+1 isn't 2.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 01:29:48 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
Tikhon29605
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 532


May I become Thy Tabernacle through Communion.


« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 03:22:50 PM »

Perhaps because Calvinism tends to emphasize the teachings of Calvinism and not the person of Calvin?  I think that would be a start.

Secondly, Calvin lived in the 1500's.  It was a violent age often without much regard for mercy or the civil rights of the accused. Torture, burning at the stake, beheadings, hangings etc. were quite common.  In Calvin's France, before the French Revolution, a man could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread.  It was not the same world that we live in now.

Thirdly, Calvinists believe in Calvinism which really developed and blossomed after Calvin. Theodore Beza, Farel and other people whose names I cannot spell contributed to the movement which finally reached its zenith in the Synod of Dort. 

Fourthly, Calvinism always had different factions in it, which are clearly seen to this very day.  Yes, it had the finger-pointers and the fire-eaters like Calvin and Knox who loved to beat up on the so called "Whore of Rome" with their hyperbolic language, but the Calvinists also produced mild, easy-going people that used the Heidelberg Catechism, rarely if ever discussed "double predestination", and sang the splendid Lutheran chorales with more gusto than than they did their grim psalm paraphrases.  The German Reformed Church was like this, by and large, as is much of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) denomination to this day.  They are noted for simple, sober services that include usually three hymns, good pipe organ music, robust singing, a scripture reading, a well-crafted three part sermon by a university educated minister who usually wears a Geneva gown with a tab collar. Sermons in this tradition are for insight and understanding and not emotional pleas to "come to Jesus" the way one might see in an old Billy Graham "crusade."  Most such Calvinist churches incorporate the liturgical elements of the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles Creed in every Sunday service.  They practice infant baptism and celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion quarterly, although an increasing number do it monthly.

One must not confuse real Calvinists with Reformed Baptists. 
Logged
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 16,508


In solidarity with Iraqi and Syrian Nazarenes


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 03:30:35 PM »

I could say that 1+1=2 and the next minute I could strangle a kitten. That wouldn't mean that 1+1 isn't 2.

Please don't strangle kittens. 
Logged

Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.


"Mor is a jerk." - kelly
JamesR
Virginal Chicano Blood
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: On-n-Off
Jurisdiction: OCA (the only truly Canonical American Orthodox Church)
Posts: 5,555


St. Augustine of Hippo pray for me!


« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 03:47:00 PM »

They were predestined to
Logged

Quote
You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
Quote
James, you have problemz.
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 04:03:00 PM »

I could say that 1+1=2 and the next minute I could strangle a kitten. That wouldn't mean that 1+1 isn't 2.

Please don't strangle kittens. 

I agree. If you're gonna be Orthodox, you'll have to give up these Calvinistic proclivities. Kittens are not predestined to die that way...  Grin
Logged
Cyrillic
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Posts: 9,077


Ceci n'est pas une pipe


« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 04:05:46 PM »

No worries, I love cats. Dogs on the other hand...
Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
hecma925
Non-clairvoyant
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA - Diocese of the South
Posts: 6,000


Pray for me, a sinner.


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 06:22:10 PM »

I hate cats.  I would never strangle one though.
Logged

TheTrisagion
Armed Feline rider of Flaming Unicorns
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,455



« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 08:22:01 AM »

Having attended a Presbyterian Calvinist college and was a pseudo-Calvinist for a few years, I would say that Calvinists have a tendency to focus more on the intellectual aspect of their faith rather than the more practical aspects.  During my time of involvement, expressing your faith was more of a "sit around with cigars and debate passages of scripture" type of an experience rather than "go and feed the poor" type experience.  That is not to say that Calvinists don't ever feed the poor or do good works, it is just that the intellectual arguments are more emphasized.
Logged

Have you considered the possibility that your face is an ad hominem?
Somebody just went all Jack Chick up in here.
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 10:22:07 AM »

The problem with Calvinsim to me is more about the political ramifications than anything else.

I can see why there are people drawn to it as a reaction against the thin spirituality of the prosperity gospel movement.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
bearpaws
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 10:09:10 AM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing?

Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

Also, why do they believe that the Church's authority comes form scripture? Every time I try to explain to them that it's authority comes from God, they deny it and say that I am wrong, but they never provide evidence as to why. I provide biblical evidence (gasp) yet they just call me names.



People like to think their religious ancestors were without fault, but it's never the case  Roll Eyes Every religion has people who had brilliant minds but on the other hand did something terrible. I won't point a finger, but there are quite a few..

If you are new convert, you should not 'debate' with people, learn your own faith and SHOW them what it's all about instead of talking and giving evidences, without long years of soaking knowledge they will convert you faster then you convert them  police
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 10:11:17 AM by bearpaws » Logged
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 680


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 05:25:26 PM »

Probably for the same reason the Orthodox deny the murders and such committed by Orthodox writers and saints?  Huh
Such as?
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
Cyrillic
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Posts: 9,077


Ceci n'est pas une pipe


« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2013, 05:26:17 PM »

Probably for the same reason the Orthodox deny the murders and such committed by Orthodox writers and saints?  Huh
Such as?

A lot of the canonized emperors and czars.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 05:26:27 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 680


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2013, 05:31:58 PM »

I hate cats.  I would never strangle one though.
I hate people who hate cats. I might strangle a cat hating freak one day
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 05:36:01 PM »

I've just found this:



Karlheinz Dreschner, A Criminal History of Christianity, 8 volumes, 8708 pages.  Shocked
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 05:41:09 PM by Romaios » Logged
Cyrillic
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Posts: 9,077


Ceci n'est pas une pipe


« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 05:37:26 PM »

That man does have an obsession.
Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 680


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2013, 05:38:49 PM »

Having attended a Presbyterian Calvinist college and was a pseudo-Calvinist for a few years, I would say that Calvinists have a tendency to focus more on the intellectual aspect of their faith rather than the more practical aspects.  During my time of involvement, expressing your faith was more of a "sit around with cigars and debate passages of scripture" type of an experience rather than "go and feed the poor" type experience.  That is not to say that Calvinists don't ever feed the poor or do good works, it is just that the intellectual arguments are more emphasized.

I have seen that a fair bit. Calvinist study has always seemed to be very cerebral to me, as was much conservative dogmatic Roman Catholic writing. I don't think there is anything wrong with intellectual analysis of Scripture and faith, but I think there should be a balance between dogmatism and 'faith of the heart' if you will. At times Orthodoxy seems to have the opposite problem as Calvinist churches and groups.

Small addendum to the post I am responding to; I have seen some Presbyterians adopt the kind of pietism that forbids cigars Smiley
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
sprtslvr1973
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA; Jurisdiaction of Dallas and the South
Posts: 680


"Behold I stand at the Door and Knock" Rev. 3:20


« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 05:48:55 PM »

I've just found this:



Karlheinz Dreschner, A Criminal History of Christianity, 8 volumes, 8708 pages.  Shocked

It's obvious this guy is guided by agenda and not objective truth.
Logged

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2013, 05:56:43 PM »

That man does have an obsession.

Karlheinz Deschners Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums vollendet

Die haßerfüllten Augen des Herrn Deschner

Kirche und Faschismus | Karlheinz Deschner, Kirchenkritiker
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 05:58:35 PM by Romaios » Logged
Cyrillic
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Posts: 9,077


Ceci n'est pas une pipe


« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2013, 05:59:22 PM »


He doesn't hold back in his criticism...
Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
hecma925
Non-clairvoyant
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA - Diocese of the South
Posts: 6,000


Pray for me, a sinner.


WWW
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2013, 08:06:56 PM »

I hate cats.  I would never strangle one though.
I hate people who hate cats. I might strangle a cat hating freak one day

Headline:  CAT HATING FREAK STRANGLED BY CAT LOVING FREAK.   Wink
Logged

Agabus
The user formerly known as Agabus.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Pan-American Colloquial Convert Hybrid Orthodoxy.
Jurisdiction: We are all uncanonical now.
Posts: 2,216



« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2013, 10:29:27 PM »

Having attended a Presbyterian Calvinist college and was a pseudo-Calvinist for a few years, I would say that Calvinists have a tendency to focus more on the intellectual aspect of their faith rather than the more practical aspects.  During my time of involvement, expressing your faith was more of a "sit around with cigars and debate passages of scripture" type of an experience rather than "go and feed the poor" type experience. 
College Calvinism is the evangelical male's version of lesbian until graduation.
Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
TheTrisagion
Armed Feline rider of Flaming Unicorns
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,455



« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2013, 07:56:28 PM »

Having attended a Presbyterian Calvinist college and was a pseudo-Calvinist for a few years, I would say that Calvinists have a tendency to focus more on the intellectual aspect of their faith rather than the more practical aspects.  During my time of involvement, expressing your faith was more of a "sit around with cigars and debate passages of scripture" type of an experience rather than "go and feed the poor" type experience. 
College Calvinism is the evangelical male's version of lesbian until graduation.
It took me a few times reading that to understand what you were saying, but now that I do, I find it hilarious!  laugh
Logged

Have you considered the possibility that your face is an ad hominem?
Somebody just went all Jack Chick up in here.
FormerCalvinist
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 142


« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2013, 07:32:01 PM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing? Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

A few things need to be cleared up. Servetus was a notorious teacher of heresy in a time where such was a serious civil offense. His arrest had been ordered by the Spanish Inquisition, and he was eventually arrested by the French Inquisition. He managed to escape and then traveled to Geneva, where he was arrested again. The French Inquisition sentenced him in absentia to death by burning, and petitioned to have him extradited so that they could execute him themselves. So this isn't solely an issue regarding Calvinists. Rome's involvement is generally left out of the account entirely for some reason.

The Genevan council gave Servetus the choice to stay and be tried in Geneva or be handed over to France, and he chose to stay in Geneva. If he had chosen extradition, or if he had never escaped, he would have been executed by the Inquisition. Would you then use this same criticism against Roman Catholics? Do you think heretics have never been executed in Orthodox nations? While I am not a Calvinist I find the appeal to the execution of Servetus to be a disingenuous.

Also where do you get the idea that Calvin was involved in the torture of anyone? Calvin was not a member of the Genevan council that tried Servetus. In fact, he petitioned that Servetus be beheaded rather than burned at the stake, so that he would suffer less, and his request was denied. There are indeed people who misrepresent and distort the Servetus incident to use it as an ad hominem attack against Calvinism, and it seems you've fallen victim to one of them. Research the issue yourself.
Logged
Rufus
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: leet


Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.


« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2013, 04:59:43 AM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing? Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

A few things need to be cleared up. Servetus was a notorious teacher of heresy in a time where such was a serious civil offense. His arrest had been ordered by the Spanish Inquisition, and he was eventually arrested by the French Inquisition. He managed to escape and then traveled to Geneva, where he was arrested again. The French Inquisition sentenced him in absentia to death by burning, and petitioned to have him extradited so that they could execute him themselves. So this isn't solely an issue regarding Calvinists. Rome's involvement is generally left out of the account entirely for some reason.

The Genevan council gave Servetus the choice to stay and be tried in Geneva or be handed over to France, and he chose to stay in Geneva. If he had chosen extradition, or if he had never escaped, he would have been executed by the Inquisition. Would you then use this same criticism against Roman Catholics? Do you think heretics have never been executed in Orthodox nations? While I am not a Calvinist I find the appeal to the execution of Servetus to be a disingenuous.

Also where do you get the idea that Calvin was involved in the torture of anyone? Calvin was not a member of the Genevan council that tried Servetus. In fact, he petitioned that Servetus be beheaded rather than burned at the stake, so that he would suffer less, and his request was denied. There are indeed people who misrepresent and distort the Servetus incident to use it as an ad hominem attack against Calvinism, and it seems you've fallen victim to one of them. Research the issue yourself.

God just put 1/10 of a point back on Calvin's scorecard after reading this.
Logged
Hinterlander
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 516


« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2013, 01:44:24 PM »

As a member of a Reformed evangelical church and graduate of Calvin College, I have to say that Calvin's life and theology isn't really held up as an unassailable testament of righteousness and erudition.  Plenty of Protestants today in historically Reformed churches probably have never even read any of his original words and wouldn't waste their time or energy defending his record in Geneva.  Orthodox shouldn't operate under the assumption that discrediting Calvin is going to lead to many Protestants losing faith in their tradition.  I realize these comments are only going to give Orthodox further reason to thumb their noses at Protestantism (for it's innovation, ignorance, etc) but oh well.

Logged
orthonorm
Warned
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,488



« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2013, 02:12:34 PM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing? Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

A few things need to be cleared up. Servetus was a notorious teacher of heresy in a time where such was a serious civil offense. His arrest had been ordered by the Spanish Inquisition, and he was eventually arrested by the French Inquisition. He managed to escape and then traveled to Geneva, where he was arrested again. The French Inquisition sentenced him in absentia to death by burning, and petitioned to have him extradited so that they could execute him themselves. So this isn't solely an issue regarding Calvinists. Rome's involvement is generally left out of the account entirely for some reason.

The Genevan council gave Servetus the choice to stay and be tried in Geneva or be handed over to France, and he chose to stay in Geneva. If he had chosen extradition, or if he had never escaped, he would have been executed by the Inquisition. Would you then use this same criticism against Roman Catholics? Do you think heretics have never been executed in Orthodox nations? While I am not a Calvinist I find the appeal to the execution of Servetus to be a disingenuous.

Also where do you get the idea that Calvin was involved in the torture of anyone? Calvin was not a member of the Genevan council that tried Servetus. In fact, he petitioned that Servetus be beheaded rather than burned at the stake, so that he would suffer less, and his request was denied. There are indeed people who misrepresent and distort the Servetus incident to use it as an ad hominem attack against Calvinism, and it seems you've fallen victim to one of them. Research the issue yourself.

That's some kinda first post. Welcome!
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Rufus
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: leet


Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.


« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2013, 03:35:17 PM »

As a member of a Reformed evangelical church and graduate of Calvin College, I have to say that Calvin's life and theology isn't really held up as an unassailable testament of righteousness and erudition.  Plenty of Protestants today in historically Reformed churches probably have never even read any of his original words and wouldn't waste their time or energy defending his record in Geneva.  Orthodox shouldn't operate under the assumption that discrediting Calvin is going to lead to many Protestants losing faith in their tradition.  I realize these comments are only going to give Orthodox further reason to thumb their noses at Protestantism (for it's innovation, ignorance, etc) but oh well.

Would you like to fill out the application for me to start following your posts?
Logged
FormerCalvinist
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 142


« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2013, 06:59:10 PM »

That's some kinda first post. Welcome!

Haha, thanks. I was Reformed for a while and, believe me, I had to hear about Servetus quite a bit from people with opposing viewpoints. So I suppose it's become a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I hope I didn't sound like I was trying to vindicate everything that happened, though. It's just that it's important to consider these things in their historical context. Besides, I think a good case can be made against Calvinism without relying on any historical distortions.
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,799


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2013, 09:24:34 PM »

Haha, thanks. I was Reformed for a while and, believe me, I had to hear about Servetus quite a bit from people with opposing viewpoints. So I suppose it's become a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I hope I didn't sound like I was trying to vindicate everything that happened, though. It's just that it's important to consider these things in their historical context. Besides, I think a good case can be made against Calvinism without relying on any historical distortions.

I understand your frustrations with people resorting to ad hominem attacks on Calvin in order to discredit the doctrine which (predates him but) bears his name.  I also agree that the doctrine falls apart easily enough on its own without recourse to such.  That said, if we're calling for clarity about the Servetus incident (and other incidents in which Calvin might be criticized for egotism or brutality) we should indeed be accurate and not paint too rosy a picture or attempt to exonerate Calvin.  One doesn't have to resort to historical distortions in order to discredit Calvinist theology or to demonstrate that Calvin wasn't a very nice guy and was culpable to one degree or another in the Servetus incident and other things.  He certainly wasn't an individual to be admired or emulated.

A few things need to be cleared up. Servetus was a notorious teacher of heresy in a time where such was a serious civil offense. His arrest had been ordered by the Spanish Inquisition, and he was eventually arrested by the French Inquisition. He managed to escape and then traveled to Geneva, where he was arrested again. The French Inquisition sentenced him in absentia to death by burning, and petitioned to have him extradited so that they could execute him themselves. So this isn't solely an issue regarding Calvinists. Rome's involvement is generally left out of the account entirely for some reason.

Rome's involvement is perhaps left out by anti-Protestant polemicists in conversations on internet forums, but never by responsible historians, even those with a pro-Catholic bias such as Belloc.  Yes, it's true that Servetus was considered a notorious heretic and was widely sought by the Roman Catholic inquisition.  It's also true that such brutality was commonplace for Christians of all confessions in Western Europe at that time.  Calvin and his cohorts should be considered within their historical context, but this is no way exonerates them of this or other incidents in which they displayed a hubris and brutality at least equal to the Catholics they so reviled.

It should further be noted that Calvin and Servetus were not unacquainted prior to Servetus’ entry into Geneva.  Calvin bore a grudge against Servetus for (partly) personal reasons from the word go.  The two had been corresponding about the nature of the Trinity, predestination and other issues over a period of years and Calvin didn't like it that Servetus had to gall to correct him (in a very snide way) on more than a few occasions, even critiquing Calvin’s “masterwork” Institutes of the Christian Religion in a less than charitable way.  It wasn't just theological, Calvin seemed to take personal offense.  A full seven years before Servetus ever set foot in Geneva Calvin wrote to his buddy William Farel:

Quote
Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here (Geneva), but I will not give my word; for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.

As to Servetus and the French Inquisition, it was Calvin’s front man, the rich merchant Guillaume de Trie who publically denounced the man while he was living and working as a physician in Vienne. De Trie deliberately put the French Inquisition onto Servetus’ trail.  This demonstrates the depth of the grudge Calvin and his allies bore against Servetus and the lengths to which they would go to discomfort him, stirring up the Catholics they held in such “high esteem” against him.  Thus, Servetus’ flight from the French Inquisition was in a way instigated by Calvin.  This is not to say that Servetus didn’t hold to bizarre and heretical ideas by anyone’s standards, but if you read their back-and-forth, Calvin was extremely rankled by Servetus’ sharp and dismissive dissections of his corpus, and made this perfectly clear in writings to Servetus, Farel and others.  Servetus’ colleagues, who failed to escape the French Inquisition, were convicted and burned, according to the Inquisition itself:
Quote
thanks to the 17 letters sent by John Calvin, preacher in Geneva

The Genevan council gave Servetus the choice to stay and be tried in Geneva or be handed over to France, and he chose to stay in Geneva. If he had chosen extradition, or if he had never escaped, he would have been executed by the Inquisition.

Sort of.  The French wanted Servetus, but Calvin was loath to hand him over.  Servetus did indeed think his chances for survival were better in Geneva, but this isn’t saying much, as his friends had recently been burned in France, and it would be inaccurate to give any impression other than that he found it to be the lesser of two evils.  To say that he would have been executed had the French gotten a hold of him is speculation, but not entirely inaccurate.  Nevertheless, to say, “Well, he would’ve been executed anyway” hardly lets Calvin & co. off the hook.

Would you then use this same criticism against Roman Catholics?


As a means of refuting their doctrine, it would be as disingenuous to do so as it would be to use personal criticisms of Calvin to attack his doctrine.  If you mean as a means of establishing the brutality of the Medieval Roman Church, then this would be just as valid as using the Servetus incident – and other incidents – to establish the brutality of the Geneva Commune.

Do you think heretics have never been executed in Orthodox nations?

Not with the frequency with which Protestants and Catholics executed one another (and other “heretics”) in the West.  In the Oriental Orthodox world (my Communion), for example, such instances would be few and far between if indeed they happened at all (care to cite some?).  Nevertheless, just as I would not resort to utilizing such instances to discredit Protestant or Catholic theology, I would not think it wise to do so as regards the Orthodox either.

Also where do you get the idea that Calvin was involved in the torture of anyone? Calvin was not a member of the Genevan council that tried Servetus. In fact, he petitioned that Servetus be beheaded rather than burned at the stake, so that he would suffer less, and his request was denied.

It’s a little more complex than that.  Calvin personally interrogated Servetus for a period and endeavored to compel him to recant when he was first apprehended in Geneva (on his way to Italy, fleeing the French Inquisition).  The list of charges against Servetus was compiled by Calvin’s protégé Nicholas de la Fontaine, who also led the prosecution against him.  Nevertheless, many regard de la Fontaine as Calvin’s proxy, and Calvin “pushed for the condemnation of Servetus with all the means at his command”.  Calvin was in very poor health at the time, and one of the rules in Geneva was that when someone stood accused, his accuser was incarcerated (more like sequestered) as well pending the trial.  It was generally assumed by those in his immediate circle that Calvin would not survive such, and so de la Fontaine acted as his surrogate.  The trial later became a contest between Calvin and the libertines, but I don’t want to go into all that here, as it is quite involved and political.  There are also those who doubt the sincerity of Calvin’s request to spare Servetus the fire –and how this played into the PR war with the libertines and his other adversaries – but that can hardly be proven either way so I’ll leave it alone.

There are indeed people who misrepresent and distort the Servetus incident to use it as an ad hominem attack against Calvinism, and it seems you've fallen victim to one of them. Research the issue yourself.

Yes, absolutely research the incident and Calvin’s Geneva in depth.  There isn’t much to recommend the man, the society, or the doctrine, in my estimation, but others might reach different conclusions on all points.  It is true there are those who utilize the incident as a proxy to attack the doctrine, but this is largely unnecessary.  Man, incident, society, and doctrine are easily assailed on their own merits.

While I am not a Calvinist I find the appeal to the execution of Servetus to be a disingenuous.

Again, it depends upon what one is trying to establish when citing it.  If one is using it as a cudgel with which to assail Calvinist theology, point taken, but if one is using it as a means of establishing the bizarre dysfunction of the society Calvin and company created in Geneva or of the pettiness and brutality of the man himself, I think it is perfectly valid.

To misrepresent the incident in order to discredit Calvinism as a belief system is less than intellectually honest, but to assert that Calvin is without significant blame in this instance because his hand didn't touch torch to kindling is equally fallacious.

Welcome to the boards!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 09:35:27 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

“Nothing is better than to realize one’s weakness and ignorance and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them.” - St. Peter of Damascus
ByzantineReformed
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Reformed Christianity
Jurisdiction: Presbyterian Church in America
Posts: 4


« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2013, 04:47:58 PM »

Servetus was something of the Michael Moore / Bill Maher (or if you are a lefty, Alex Jones) of his day.  Very sarcastic, very snide, would bash you one minute then plead for tolerance the next. 

Also, though this does not excuse the Geneva council for executing him, the execution of Servetus was perhaps, after the doctrine of the Trinity, the great ecumenical consensus of the day - Lutherans, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all wanted him out of the way. 

Again, the "dictator" Calvin couldn't even force his "puppet" city council (which had expelled him some years earlier) to mitigate Servetus' punishment.  (He couldn't get them to let him to the Eucharist every week either.)
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,799


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2013, 06:24:08 PM »

Servetus was something of the Michael Moore / Bill Maher (or if you are a lefty, Alex Jones) of his day.  Very sarcastic, very snide, would bash you one minute then plead for tolerance the next. 

Yeah, and?  Snide, sarcastic, haughty, deceitful, and other less than flattering adjectives could all be justifiably applied to Calvin as well.  No one here has made Servetus out to be a paragon of humility, but the fact that someone is less than a joy to be around doesn't mean that a Christian leader - especially one that lived in a glass house himself in the personality department, like Calvin - should be calling for their death.

Also, though this does not excuse the Geneva council for executing him, the execution of Servetus was perhaps, after the doctrine of the Trinity, the great ecumenical consensus of the day - Lutherans, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all wanted him out of the way. 

Since the fact that various sects were calling for the head of Servetus in no way mitigates the fact that Calvin had it in for him and wanted to see him dead, why bring it up?

Again, the "dictator" Calvin couldn't even force his "puppet" city council (which had expelled him some years earlier) to mitigate Servetus' punishment.  (He couldn't get them to let him to the Eucharist every week either.)

So?  Method aside, Calvin certainly argued that the Petit Conseil should kill Servetus, even erroneously asserting that Justinian's Codex of 534 AD applied and provided for death to heretics.  No one ascribed sole culpability for the murder to Calvin in this discussion, or endeavored to let other guilty parties (the Council, Farel, etc.) off the hook, but rather merely stated that he does have a share in the blame which should not be minimized in order to rehabilitate his character any more than it should be exaggerated in order to besmirch it (which has not at all been done here).  There's a lot more to nail Calvin for than Servetus, but he certainly has his share of blame in the episode.  He even felt compelled to issue a defense of his part in the killing in both Latin and French versions in 1554 in which he argued for the right to put to death those who "dishonored God by teaching false doctrine".

As to Calvin's "dictatorial" power in Geneva, it is true he had has struggles with other contenders for authority at times and his power waxed and waned - he was even deposed and exiled at one point or another - but during the periods when he was in charge "the citizens were punished or reprimanded for criticizing his preaching or even for greeting him without calling him 'Master'.  He displayed a vindictiveness toward his enemies, which did not rest until they were crushed and humiliated".

http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/gilbert/14.html
Logged

“Nothing is better than to realize one’s weakness and ignorance and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them.” - St. Peter of Damascus
FormerCalvinist
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 142


« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2013, 06:47:16 PM »

Method aside, Calvin certainly argued that the Petit Conseil should kill Servetus, even erroneously asserting that Justinian's Codex of 534 AD applied and provided for death to heretics.  No one ascribed sole culpability for the murder to Calvin in this discussion, or endeavored to let other guilty parties (the Council, Farel, etc.) off the hook, but rather merely stated that he does have a share in the blame which should not be minimized in order to rehabilitate his character any more than it should be exaggerated in order to besmirch it (which has not at all been done here).  There's a lot more to nail Calvin for than Servetus, but he certainly has his share of blame in the episode.  He even felt compelled to issue a defense of his part in the killing in both Latin and French versions in 1554 in which he argued for the right to put to death those who "dishonored God by teaching false doctrine".

John Knox also wrote a defense of the execution of Servetus. A lot of it probably comes down to Reformed Establishmentarianism, and the view that it was the duty of civil government, as ministers of God, to punish teachers of heresy. For example section 23.4 of the original* Westminster Confession of Faith:

Quote
The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.

*Some of the American Presbyterian denominations have altered this section considerably.
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,799


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2013, 07:36:06 PM »

John Knox also wrote a defense of the execution of Servetus.

That's not surprising, considering that Calvin was Knox's mentor.  Besides, I'd expect no less from a guy to whom even Calvin felt compelled to write, "Moderate your vigor!" (This was in the context of tolerating variations in the conduct of public worship).

*Some of the American Presbyterian denominations have altered this section considerably.

That's not surprising either.  Otherwise, arbitrary executions of sarcastic Spaniard conversos could put the Scots and Scots-Irish in Dutch with the 'Murican government.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 07:36:27 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

“Nothing is better than to realize one’s weakness and ignorance and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them.” - St. Peter of Damascus
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2014, 04:39:37 PM »

...Deny Calvin's role in the torture of heretics, especially Servetus. Is there some historical evidence that absolves him of his actions? Calvinists tell me that I am deceived by anti-Calvinists and that he was just a witness to a trial. Is there something I am missing?

Even if they do believe that he was responsible for the executions, why in that case would they still follow his teachings? Why wold they accept theology from a man whom they know to be merciless?

Also, why do they believe that the Church's authority comes form scripture? Every time I try to explain to them that it's authority comes from God, they deny it and say that I am wrong, but they never provide evidence as to why. I provide biblical evidence (gasp) yet they just call me names.

Under Calvin, Geneva became a Calvinist theocracy with required church attendance and punishment of those who did not follow Calvin's teaching. Children were even encouraged to report any thing that their parents said of did that did not conform to Calvinism. Calvin had serious health problems with chronic kidney stones. Having just gone through the pain and suffering of a kidney stone, I understand why Calvin developed such a dark and pessimistic theology. He taught that we are born completely evil and deserving eternal damnation as the result of the guilt of original sin. He completely denied free will. Instead Calvin taught that God decides who to save and who to damn and that we play no role in our own salvation. If God decides to save a person, they cannot resist God's grace and will be saved. However, if God decides to damn someone  there is nothing that we can do to be saved. Obviously Orthodoxy rejects just about every aspect of Calvinism. Calvin was condemned as an heretic at the Council of Jerusalem Bethlehem in 1672. 
Calvin played a direct role in the condemnation of Servetus, who among other things denied the Trinity and infant Baptism. Servetus made the mistake of fleeing to Geneva thinking that he would be safe from persecution there. Instead, the authorities arrested him. Calvin argued that he should be beheaded instead of burned at the stake. However, the civil authorities overruled Calvin and Servetus was burned at the stake. Justifying the punishment of those he considered heretics, Calvin wrote, "Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are."

Fr. John W. Morris
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.165 seconds with 64 queries.