John Calvin was a Monster

Peter Lumpkins sets straight James White on Calvin’s execution of Servetus:

It’s a joke to suggest Servetus broke no laws in Geneva. Servetus was guilty of heresy which was against the law (4:28).
Not so fast. At the time of Servetus’ arrest, no laws in Geneva had been broken. We apparently have few, if any, records of Servetus’ doing anything but renting a hotel room and attending church the next day. He’d broken no laws in Geneva. Was it a crime to have been convicted of heresy by Rome? If so, John Calvin and every Geneva pastor should also have been arrested as well. Thus at the time the authorities came and pulled Servetus from Calvin’s church, Barker was correct; Servetus had broken no laws of Geneva. From all indication, Servetus was only passing through and already had a boat ticket to Naples (see below). Even so, at the time no law apparently existed in Geneva which called for Servetus’ death even if he was a known heretic. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “No law, current in Geneva, has ever been adduced as enacting the capital sentence…but in 1535 all the old laws on the subject of religion had been set aside at Geneva; the only civil penalty for religion, retained by the edicts of 1543, was banishment” (Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 21, 1892, p.685, emphasis added). Hence the author concludes, “The extinct law seems to have been arbitrarily revived” for the specific purpose of putting Servetus to death. According to famed Reformation historian, William Naphy, Servetus “would probably become the first person to be executed for heresy in Geneva…”(William G. Naphy, Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation p.183).

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4 comments

  1. I would not be quoting Peter Lumpkins. If I all of this is true (I don’t know), then are we to believe that just because Calvin was a sinner that his theology and gifts to the church are to be discarded?

    If this is the case, then I must discard your post from Peter Lumpkins. For he takes up for and defends a patheological liar. That by the above implied argument makes anything peter lumpkins says irrelevant.

    I submit a better way: each of us have blind spots. each of us are desiring to hold to the Pure Truth of God in Christ. Let us measure the good and the bad against the Word of God and move forward from their.

    Grace and Peace
    -Anon

    1. Thank you for your thoughts.

      The Bible does not fully divorce someone’s actions from their theology:

      Mat 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
      Mat 7:16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

      Knowing them by their fruits is a consistent theme in the New Testament. Paul even writes:

      2Co 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
      2Co 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
      2Co 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

      Although it is a mistake to say “this guy was evil so we should reject everything he says”, we can definitely say “this guy was evil, stop exalting him and double check his theology.” I don’t know the theology of Peter Lumpkins and quoting him by no means is an endorsement. But his historical post seems legitimate.

      On a side note: The goal of this site is to post a diversity of Open Theism positions, including quotes from Arminians and Calvinists on the issue. I have posted plenty of quotes which I do not fully agree with even from mainstream Open Theist theologians, even from individuals who err greatly on moral issues. The idea is that no one person should assume they have it all figured out. We should avoid hubris.

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