November 30, 2007

No Light Can Come From The Darkness - Just ONE of the Reasons Why I Will Never be a Calvinist!

The Christian Post reported today that the Southern Baptist Convention announced it is witnessing an increase in Calvinism. As the clipping from the article states about a 20% increase is being seen from recent seminary graduates.

Nearly 30 percent of recent SBC seminary graduates now serving as church pastors indicate they are Calvinists, according to Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. Only around 10 percent of SBC pastors at large affirm the five points of Calvinism, or Reformed theology, noted Stetzer, comparing the latest results with an earlier 2006 survey conducted by LifeWay Research.

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This greatly grieves my heart as for years now I have come to loathe this very doctrine. I realize for some this is very strong language, but over the past couple of years I have seen what Calvinism can & will do when its taken to its logical conclusions. I am puzzled why anyone would ever think Calvinism is at all a doctrine that shows God in a loving or just light. First, understand Calvinism is not the gospel. Calvinism is nothing more than a doctrine that was developed by a couple of men - these men by no means learned at the feet of Christ, but yet many to this day treat Calvin with more honor than Paul or any of the apostles. There have been times when one would think these men stepped out from heaven himself. But one needs to dig deep to truly see just what type of lives the Reformers truly lived.

So why do I have such a disdain for Calvinism? Well for many reasons. I won't mention how the doctrine greatly impugns God's character. But rather in this post I want to look at the character of John Calvin. Clearly, if such Godly wisdom came from such a great man of God, we should see the evidence of the Holy Spirit working throughout his life - yes?? Well, lets see what type of man John Calvin truly was.......

Not too many people are aware that John Calvin is responsible for the murder of a fellow reformer by the name of Michael Servetus. On Oct. 27, 1553. John Calvin, along with his good friend Guillaume (William) Farel took part in a heinous crime against an Italian Reformer, Michael Servetus. The rift between Calvin and Servetus started several years earlier when they had a dispute over the doctrine of the Trinity. Calvin and Servetis had many heated exchanges over the years. Calvin , man noted for his veracity in debating others was once quoted as saying of Servetus; "
If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight." STOP! Before we go any further let me ask you this, are these the words of a man who is a follower of Christ and filled with God's Holy Spirit? Calvin is basically saying that because someone does not agree with another persons doctrine or theology he hopes to put this man to death?! Is this an action of a Christian ever mentioned in the scriptures? What does God command when we have a theological difference with someone who is spreading false doctrine? Kill them? Imprison them? Take them before a court?
"He [the elder] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach -- and that for the sake of dishonest gain" (Titus 1:9-11).
Sadly, in August of 1553 Servetus journeyed through Geneva and was spotted and immediately arrested. Several months later Servetus was put on trial and then executed. Here is what was written about his execution. Please note the cruelty by which the Reformers murdered this man and note the comments made by Calvin's good friend William Farel during the execution:
"Farel walked beside the condemned man, and kept up a constant barrage of words, in complete insensitivity to what Servetus might be feeling. All he had in mind was to extort from the prisoner an acknowledgement [sic] of his theological error -- a shocking example of the soulless cure of souls. After some minutes of this, Servetus ceased making any reply and prayed quietly to himself. When they arrived at the place of execution, Farel announced to the watching crowd: 'Here you see what power Satan possesses when he has a man in his power. This man is a scholar of distinction, and he perhaps believed he was acting rightly. But now Satan possesses him completely, as he might possess you, should you fall into his traps.'

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It gets even worse.......

When the executioner began his work, Servetus whispered with trembling voice: 'Oh God, Oh God!' The thwarted Farel snapped at him: 'Have you nothing else to say?' This time Servetus replied to him: 'What else might I do, but speak of God!' Thereupon he was lifted onto the pyre and chained to the stake. A wreath strewn with sulfur was placed on his head. When the faggots were ignited, a piercing cry of horror broke from him. 'Mercy, mercy!' he cried. For more than half an hour the horrible agony continued, for the pyre had been made of half-green wood, which burned slowly. 'Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me,' the tormented man cried from the midst of the flames ...."(11)

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Some will say Calvin tried to lessen this man's suffering by recommending beheading, but this is like saying "I'll use a gun rather than a knife". During Servetus trail John Calvin is quoted as saying, "I hope that the verdict will call for the death penalty." I mean I have had some real theological battles in my day, but I would never hope for another persons death!

Two other famous episodes involvin Calvin concerned Jacques Gruet and Jerome Bolsec. Gruet, a Libertine and Atheist, had written letters critical of the Consistory and, more serious, petitioned the Catholic king of France to intervene in the political and religious affairs of Geneva. With Calvin's concurrence he was beheaded for treason. Bolsec publicly challenged Calvin's teaching on predestination, a doctrine Bolsec, with many others, found morally repugnant. Banished from the city in 1551, he revenged himself in 1577 by publishing a biography of Calvin that charged him with greed, financial misconduct, and sexual aberration."(The Age of Reformation 1250-1550, pp. 368,369)

Now many defenders of John Calvin will say "this was the spirit of the age" or this "this was the way things were done back then" or look at the legacy he left, look at all the great churches he gave us". As a matter of fact I recently came a cross a flowery account defending Calvin's action against Servetus:

clipped from

They were of the same age (Calvin & Servetus), equally precocious, equally bold and independent, and relied on purely intellectual and spiritual forces. The one, while a youth of twenty-seven, wrote one of the best systems of theology and vindications of the Christian faith; the other, when scarcely above the age of twenty, ventured on the attempt to uproot the fundamental doctrine of orthodox Christendom. Both died in the prime of manhood, the one a natural, the other a violent, death.

Calvin’s works are in every theological library; the books of Servetus are among the greatest rareties. Calvin left behind him flourishing churches, and his influence is felt to this day in the whole Protestant world; Servetus passed away like a meteor, without a sect, without a pupil; yet he still eloquently denounces from his funeral pile the crime and folly of religious persecution, and has recently been idealized by a Protestant divine as a prophetic forerunner of modern christo-centric theology.

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Did you see how the author here tries to somehow justify the murder of Michale Servetus. It almost seems it was right for Calvin to murder Servetus because of how fabulous Calvin turned out in life! Servetus was merely like a burned out "meteor" compared to the greatness of John Calvin - clearly he deserved such a fiery death! Folks, this is nothing more than person trying desperately to justify the murderous actions of a darkened individual. God judges the heart of men, not their "legacy". I am sorry, one can only conclude from this evidence that John Calvin's heart was darkened, and not enlightened. Is this really the person we want to obtain spiritual truths from - not to mention an entire doctrinal system? Can such a man even hear from God? What does God's word say about murders:

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually
immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars --
their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him" (1 Jn. 2:3,4).

"And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding [continuing] in him" (1 Jn. 3:15, NKJV).

Many will claim I am being overly judgmental or harsh in my assessment of Mr. Calvin. One could always say he could have repented before God. This is true, but sadly Calvin never felt any remorse for his actions. He is recorded as saying this about the death of Servetus:

clipped from
"Servetus suffered the penalty due to his heresies, but was it by my will? Certainly his arrogance destroyed him not less than his impiety. And what crime was it of mine if our Council, at my exhortation, indeed, but in conformity with the opinion of several Churches, took vengeance on his execrable blasphemies? Let Baudouin abuse me as long as he will, provided that, by the judgment of Melanchthon, posterity owes me a debt of gratitude for having purged the Church of so pernicious a monster."

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We clearly see that Calvin was not at all repentant over the murder of Servetus, but its as if he was proud of this act. From this statement alone we see into the cold heart of a bitter and vicious man - clearly not the reflection of Christ.

This is just ONE of the reasons why I will never be a Calvinist and i will do everything in my power to see to it this doctrine is exposed for what it truly is - false! I could go on about the issues I have with the doctrine of Calvinism. I could also go on about the hatred Martin Luther had for the Jews, I could share with you the Reformers heartless persecution and murders of the Anabaptist and Waldensians. But God will judge what type of men the reformers truly were. Can truth come from such darkness? Could God's Spirit work with such darkened hearts? Personally speaking I hope many who will read this will begin to question the foundations of their doctrine and where they came from. The truths of God have existed long before John Calvin came along, and it is our responsibility to (not John Calvin's) for us to read and discern for OURSELVES the truths of God. Jesus asked if we could discern the weather from just looking at the clouds in the sky, if so then we could understand the truths of God. Then I would pray and ask that you begin to truly examine your beliefs and examine the scriptures without the presuppositions of John Calvin or Martin Luther - as we have seen there can be no Light from the darkness.....

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