“But you denied the Holy and Just One and desired a murderer to be given to you” (Acts 3:14 MKJV).
Sara submitted this comment to the post “The New Calvinists” on Francis Murphy’s blog [now defunct]:
Show me whom you follow, and I will know what manner of person you are or will become. If you do not know whom you are following, don’t you think it is time to find out how and where you are being led? Do you think you will altogether escape the consequences because ignorant? Think again. You already suffer them.
John Calvin was one of the most vicious of wolves ever to pose as a lamb of God. His supremely self-righteous spirit lives on in those who lionize and follow him, even unbeknownst to themselves. Truly, “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
Paul Cohen & Victor Hafichuk
thank you for your comment but I have to disagree. No one regretted what happened to Servetus more than Calvin himself. It was a regrettable error on his part. However that does not negate the godliness of the man and his great wisdom and insights into the scriptures. What is commonly called Calvism is not an invented system of belief, but a Reformed biblical faith.
Paul Cohen said…
You plainly have not red the article, because the well-documented history shows that Calvin vigorously defended the murder of Servetus, and continued to malign him with all kinds of epithets that were not backed by any substantive evidence. And then you can see what he did to Sebastian Castellion, whose death he also precipitated with his ongoing ungodly and unjust persecutions.
Read the paper and then get back to me.
I would in no way wish to condone what happened to Servetus, but I do believe we have to understand these events in their historical context. At a time, when the death penalty was being issued for heresy all over Europe, the city of Geneva and other reformed cities showed relative restraint. I still do not think this regrettable incident in the life of John Calvin has any bearing on his credentials as a theologian. There is scriptural precident for this is there not. Peter cutting off the ear of a soldier in Gethsemene, Paul with the blood of the first martyr Stephen on his hands, King David also had blood on his hands. Do we discard the letters of Peter and Paul or the Psalms because they were written by men with a violent or disreputable past?
Paul Cohen said…
The historical context argument is trotted out by every doctrinaire Pharisee I have heard from on this matter. By such a measure, the apostles should have been the ones killing others, as it is certainly evident that in their times the killing of religious heretics was commonly practiced (on them).
What Calvin apologists fail to note when speaking about David and Paul having blood on their hands, when justifying Calvin, is that those men showed true remorse because they had genuine repentance. Calvin showed no remorse and boasted of his murder of Servetus because he never repented. You never hear Paul saying about Stephen or other saints of whose deaths he approved, “Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”
He who is forgiven much has loved much, Mr. Murphy, but he who is not forgiven has not loved at all. The latter describes the one from whom you think to be learning about God. You are deceived.
I have written to several who have presented me with your same tired argument, and when I bring up Calvin’s persistence in justifying the murder of Servetus and his subsequent persecution of Castellion, it is interesting to note that none of them dares to further suggest that Calvin ever repented. So, rather than admit the Truth, they persist in defending an unrepentant murderer. The only reason they do so is because they are one with him in their sins. They love their sins and their theology that they think justifies them before God more than Truth and Light and the righteousness of God. Does this also describe you?
Why don’t you read the paper?
I think we are going to have to agree to differ on this matter and therefore believe it would be unfruitful for me to continue this conversation. I pray that God’s Spirit continues to guide you on your pursuit of truth.
Stewart Goudie said…
Have you read “A Reading of Calvin’s Institutes” by Benjamin A. Reist? It’s a 1991 book, by a guy with a whole career behind him of teaching Calvin and Barth. He too would distinguish between Calvin’s thought, and later ‘Calvinist’ doctrines and practice.
Calvin would be the first to admit that didn’t live up to the standards of his teachings. No-one can. We are all fallen failures. Only the Grace of Christ can bring us into relationship with God.
Paul Cohen said…
Stewart, there is honest confession of sin and shortfall of God’s standards, and dishonest confession. Calvin’s is the latter. See the quote to which I have already referred wherein Calvin continued to justify his murder of Servetus years after it took place. How can a man who is justifying his sins be considered repentant?
As for your last statement, consider and believe the implication of your own words, “Only the Grace of Christ can bring us into relationship with God.” In other words, if one is a sinner receiving the grace of God through Jesus Christ, he or she can then be brought into right relationship with God. John described that relationship as follows:
“Everyone who has been born of God does not commit sin, because His seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 MKJV).
Paul the apostle also says that those in Christ live up to the standards of God (forget Calvin’s standards):
“Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law” (Romans 3:31 KJV).
The condemnation of religious sinners like Calvin is not that they do not keep the Law, but that they say they see and are in agreement with God when clearly they do not and are not.