Saturday, December 20, 2008

By Their Works You Shall Know Them

While it is impossible for a man to look into another man's heart, Matt. 7:16 in the EOB, page 49 states "You will recognize them by their fruits. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?". This verse was important to me in the evaluation of Theologians. If a man's hands had blood on them, his value as a Man of God is diminished. Saint Paul, the murderer of St. Stephen and many other early Christains is the only exception. While there can be no dobut as to the state of St. Paul's heart before his miraculous conversion, once he repented, he became legitimate Man of God.

However, this is not the case of a "Man of God" who slays because of his intent to enforce of his beliefs. Indeed, this is the heart of Paul before his conversion, an unrepentant unregenerate man who held religious office. As I look at John Calvin, I see Paul before his conversion. John Calvin was responsible for the deaths of Michael Servetus and Jacques Gruet. Servetus was a heretic, but at least a peaceful heretic who posed no threat to Calvin, yet Calvin betrayed him to Catholic magistrates in Vienna. In Calvin's "defense", he "begged" that Servetus merely be beheaded, but this intercession provided cause to burn Servetus. Gruet was a political opponent who left a critical letter for Calvin, whom Calvin had racked and/or beheaded, and/or burned, depending upon which scribe you read. Several accounts have John Calvin as the Theocratic Dictator of Geneva Switzerland.

Calvin stands uniquely alone from most Reformation Church Leaders - Luther, More, Erasmus, Zwingli - in that he was responsible for the executions of his opponents. He differs from St. Paul in that St. Paul repented of his murders, wheras Calvin committed his as a result of his "faith". As such, he should be treated with the most scepticism.

This post ends a weeklong series on Calvinism. I am on Christmas Break. I will be searching for new topics, but I shall keep the same methodology. I will be posting less as I am becoming more occupied. I greet two of my friends whom I shall refer to as Wilhelm of California and Wilhelm of North Carolina. You are requested not to reveal your identities, but you know who you are. You are both welcomed here. To both Wilhelms, I bid you Courage, and ask you to drop by once a week.

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