Thread 1.2

(A series on the history of Calvinism)

Reformed Christianity existed before Calvin became a Protestant and so calling the churches Calvinist to which he belonged is anachronistic. Before Geneva became a home for Protestantism, several cities in the Swiss Confederation, Zurich chief among them, had initiated reform. At the same time, Geneva was a late addition to the Swiss Confederation and always dependent on stronger Swiss cities. This meant that in addition to the struggles Calvin faced in his adopted city, he also encountered resistance and sporadic opposition from the other Reformed churches in Switzerland. His difficult dealings with the other pastors make all the more ironic the later identification of Reformed Protestantism with Calvinism. For instance, in 1554 around the time that Calvin was facing stiff opposition in Geneva from old-time aristocrats who fought the new spiritually inspired regulations of city life, the government of Bern banned Calvin=s writings from the lands under its authority and ordered that they be burned. Burning books was what Roman Catholics were supposed to do with Protestant texts but here was a Reformed city judging Calvin=s teaching beyond the pale. In point of fact, the opposition to Calvin from the Bernese officials had less to do with theology than politics; Geneva was an upstart city that seemed to be acting independently of Bern and so the Bernese wanted to teach the Genevans a lesson. As one biographer argues, this treatment of Calvin=s writings said more about the personalities involved than the intricacies of double predestination or any other contested point of doctrine. Still, the incident is instructive for remembering Calvin=s status among the Reformers and their civic patrons in Switzerland. (p.21)

Advertisements

One thought on “Thread 1.2

  1. Calvinism created huge underground religious networks of individual converts who brought in their friends, relatives, and neighbors, under the guidance of professional, missionary secret agents. It was during his visit to Poitiers that Calvin got his first experience with secret evangelism. Not only did he proselytize in homes, but he held secret services in “a spacious cave near the city.” Once reestablished in Geneva, Calvin recognized that he had access to large numbers of men well suited to serve as secret Protestant missionaries behind Catholic lines. They abounded in the constant stream of Protestant refugees (including Calvin) who arrived in Geneva and other Swiss cities from Catholic-controlled territories, especially from France and the Low Countries. … What Calvin did was to select talented and reliable refugees, ordain them and train them not only theologically but also in what modern intelligence agencies call “tradecraft” https://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/john-calvins-missionary-zealotry/

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s