DIDN’T CALVIN BURN PEOPLE AT THE STAKE FOR DISAGREEING WITH HIM? HE WAS NO BETTER THAN THE INQUISITION!
We are well aware of these slanders against Reformer John Calvin. Most unfair.
John Calvin was never a magistrate, prosecutor or a holder of any political office in Geneva. So, no, contrary to public opinion, he never burned anyone at the stake.
John Calvin was not even a citizen of Geneva, until his last days. While on his death bed, he was finally granted citizenship.
The only power wielded by John Calvin was that of persuasion through preaching, prayer and teaching from the pulpit and in the academy. So, no, there is absolutely no connection or fair comparison with him and the Inquisition.
Geneva under the influence of John Calvin’s preaching became the greatest concentration of refugees in the world. People fleeing persecution found the greatest freedom in all of Europe in Geneva during the time of Calvin.
Women fled to Geneva for sanctuary, finding the best protection from abuse available anywhere in the world at that time.
Geneva under the influence of John Calvin developed the largest concentration of printing companies in the world. There was greater freedom of the press in Geneva than anywhere else in the world at that time.
Perhaps you are referring to the case of notorious blasphemer Servetus, who was condemned to death everywhere in Europe for his notorious blasphemies against the Trinity.
Fleeing from Catholic Europe into Geneva, Servetus assumed that the Protestants would not be quite as serious about the crime of blasphemy as the Catholics. In that he was sorely mistaken.
He was recognised and arrested. After due process, Servetus was condemned to death. All Europe congratulated Geneva for having dealt decisively with Servetus. There was no controversy at the time over the trial for all countries in Europe to recognised Blasphemy as a Capital crime.
John Calvin had no part in the trial, except in being called as an expert witness as to what constituted blasphemy. Calvin is on the record for having pleaded for mercy for Servetus and it is noteworthy that he visited Servetus in his cell to share the Gospel with him and to seek to persuade him away from his blasphemous views.
Now, today, we live in a society where blasphemy is not considered a crime. In fact, neither is pornography or abortion. However, despite us tolerating vast amounts of perversion and the slaughtering of literally millions of babies through abortion, isn’t it extraordinary that our society presumes to judge people of centuries ago, of whose situation and life we know very little, while somehow excusing ourselves and blind to the evils that we tolerate in our day and time.
Please see: When All Men Speak Well of You and John Calvin – A Heart Aflame and a Mind Renewed.
Dr. Peter Hammond