Paul's Passing Thoughts

LOL! John Piper Would Only Change “One Thing” About John Calvin

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 14, 2012

….and by the way, we are all totally depraved; so you know, stuff happens.

In this video, Piper forgets a lot of history about Calvin. Listen to the short clip, and then read the following excerpt from a church historian. Listen, I’m really busy today, but it’s ok, I know the smartness/intelligence of my readers; they are not going to take Piper’s word that ONE of the people Calvin had murdered taught false doctrine about the Trinity. Remember, New Calvinists believe that emphasizing the other two members of the Trinity as much as Jesus is misguided “emphasis” and therefore a false gospel (please don’t make me dig up the Michael Horton quote on that one).

In preparation for TTANC volume 2, I am studying the teachings of theologians who contended against Calvin in his day. Very interesting, seems that some of them had a problem with Calvin’s view of the relationship between sanctification and justification. Sound familiar?

Furthermore, Piper states that the melding of church and state didn’t serve the Puritan legacy well. Oh really? This ministry is inundated with information that I unfortunately don’t have time to pursue regarding consolidated attempts by the New Calvinist movement to get in bed with the government. Trust me, they would luuuuuuuvvvvvv to silence their critics through law enforcement—starting with bloggers. In fact, the present cases on this are not that hard to find: lawsuits; outrageous defamation of character; bogus church discipline; blackmail; coercion border-lining on outright kidnapping ; etc.  On the last one, I know of an actual case right now and am working with the situation. The New Calvinist church is holding an individual hostage (in regard to remaining under their authority via church membership) because of what the person knows about the church. They “have something” on the individual and are using it to control them. Which by the way is a criminal act according to the state law where the church is located.

Piper is right about one thing: job one for the founding fathers of America was to make sure the church did not get back in bed with the government on this side of the pond. Particularly, churches of the Reformed type, which were barely less forgiving than Rome towards those who disagreed with them. Also like Rome, the Reformers were a little uncomfortable with the free reasoning of mankind in religious issues. Consider this soundbite from Martin Luther:

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

—Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148.

“Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

—Martin Luther, Table Talks in 1569.

“Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.”

—Martin Luther, Table Talks (as quoted in Religious History: An Inquiry by M. Searle Bates, p. 156).

In other words, Luther would not have thought much of the “NOBLE”   Bereans.  And again, Piper is right because the founding fathers of America were a product of the Enlightenment era. I’m thinkin’ they didn’t agree with Luther’s attitude toward free thought; unless of course, it was Reformed, and preferably Augustinain, a forefather of Gnosticism.

As the Institutes of the Christian Religion greatly influenced the theology of the Reformation, Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances greatly affected the structure of many Reformed churches and their relation to the community. One major element of the Ecclesiastical Ordinances was the Consistory, the central church governing apparatus, composed of ministers and elders. Its purpose was to maintain ecclesiastical discipline and theological orthodoxy, but when the social community of the city is identical to the church community, the result is that ecclesiastical discipline and religious heterodoxy have social implications. Very quickly church offenses become civil offenses or at least offenses with civil consequences, as the medieval Church came to see.

The Consistory oversaw the conduct of the believers-citizens of Geneva down to the minutest detail, intervening with disciplinary measures such as public rebuke and excommunication. But because the civil and the ecclesiastical authority were so closely intertwined, condemnation by the Consistory could lead to civil punishments such as public fines and even exile and execution. People were brought before the Consistory for every sort of offense, including petty ones such as singing jingles critical of Calvin, card playing, dancing, and laughing during a sermon. The Consistory also sent out members to each parish to look for transgressors, who, if discovered, were tried by the Consistory. Every household was visited annually, before Easter, to ascertain the status of prospective communicants. If Geneva was the “Rome of the Reformation,” the Consistory was its Inquisition and Calvin its Pope.

Geneva under Calvin’s influence controlled its citizens’ lives, including their private lives, well beyond what the medieval Church did. The individual Christian in the Church of Geneva was “free” to interpret the Bible for himself, provided he interpreted it exactly as Calvin did.

Was Calvin a “dictator”? Surely not in the conventional sense. He held no elected office, nor did he exercise direct political power in Geneva. He was mainly a pastor, not a politician. And yet we mustn’t go as far as some of Calvin’s supporters, who say he was “simply” a pastor. He possessed tremendous influence in the political community, well beyond that of a mere civic leader. And that influence translated directly into civil law strictures and punishments. Geneva was not an absolute State, in the modern sense, but neither was it a free state, except perhaps for those who already accepted its rigid norms of conduct.

A prime example of Calvin’s influence in Geneva is the case of Pierre Ameaux, a member of the city council, who had criticized Calvin as a preacher of false doctrine. The council told Ameaux to retract his statement, but Calvin wanted a harsher punishment. Ameaux was forced to go through town dressed only in a shirt, with a torch in hand.

Ameaux’ fate was a mere embarrassment; the embryonic freethinker Jacques Gruet was executed for criticizing Calvin, for blasphemy and for protesting the stringent demands of Calvin’s Geneva. He was tortured and beheaded. Calvin also got Jerome Bolsec banished for the Frenchman’s disagreement with Calvin regarding predestination, thus proving that, while Geneva was a haven for Protestants throughout Europe who agreed with Calvin, it could be oppressive for those who did not.

But the most celebrated case is that of Michael Sevetus, who didn’t get off as lightly as Bolsec. The Spanish physician-writer took it upon himself to reformulate the doctrine of the Trinity in what were essentially Gnostic categories. But Sevetus made the mistake of sending Calvin an advance copy, which led, by a rather Byzantine route, to Calvin tipping off the Catholic magistrates in Vienna that the heretical Sevetus was practicing medicine in their city. That brought the apparatus of the Inquisition down on him. Sevetus managed to escape and wound up, in all places, Geneva, en route to Naples. Calvin had him arrested, tried and sentenced to death. As an act of mercy, Calvin requested that Sevetus be beheaded, instead of burned, but in this case Calvin’s request was not honored ( [sic].


One Response

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  1. David M. Adams said, on May 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM


    Our former Pastor used scriptures to justify the practice of unforgiveness, is that what Calvin taught?
    This Pastor quoted that “he needs to see surface repentence and he is going to “watch” anybody before he can determine or interpret whether or not, he feels an apology is authentic before he can forgive someone.

    As a matter of fact during his 2 year tenure I never was able to idenify any of his teachings embracing “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors”

    I’m a little concerned because, it seems to me that this Preacher may be harboring unforgiveness throughout his his life. He is Reformed who embraces “TULIP”.

    His early teachings were abusive. It seemed he was also harboring bitterness from his childhood possibly from growing up in a broken family. I know he was harboring bitterness from his former church who probably didn’t embraced Reformed Calvinistic theology. I wonder if it is possible that unforgiveness is a major sin that is the catalyst of Reformed Calvinist Preachers.

    I wonder if he is holding the congregation at a higher standard than he is holding himself. Were the Pharisses practicing unforgiveness on the sinner and tax collector, because they criticized Christ for ministering to them. It seems the Pharisees were holding the people to a higher standard than they practicing themselves



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