f The Wittenberg Door: John Calvin: One of History's Top Monsters

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Friday, November 28, 2014

John Calvin: One of History's Top Monsters

It was at just about this time 2-years ago that I began to read Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, a guided tour through the mind of a sociopath and, doubtless, the engine of huge amounts of human misery; if it could all be totted-up, Calvin would surely rank near the top of the list of history’s monsters.

The author, Bob Felton, appears to be an atheist from what he writes at his Web site, Civil Commotion. He is most concerned with the influence of religious fundamentalism. Based on what I’ve read of him, his concern seems to be restricted to Christianity. Along those lines, nothing seems to raise his ire more than John Calvin, whom he describes as one of history’s top monsters. I must say, when you look at the evidence, he has me convinced.

Used to be, when I reflected upon the great evils in human history I needn’t look further than the last 100 years. During that time we’ve had more state-sponsored murders than all of human history combined—well over 100 million.

  • Mao Tse Tung - 61.7 million people

  • Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev - 66.7 million people

  • Pol Pot – 1/3 of Cambodia’s population

These are just a few butchers who sacrificed people in mass upon the alter of Communism, an ideology that is necessarily atheistic. But, as Mr. Felton reminds us, we mustn’t forget who is near the top of the “monster” list; a true “sociopath” and “engine of huge amounts of human misery”—John Calvin.

Disclaimer: What follows is very graphic and many may find it disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

For the next three years [after his conversion], Calvin lived in various places outside of France under various names. He studied on his own, preached, and began work on his first edition of the Institutes—an instant best seller. By 1536 Calvin had disengaged himself from the Roman Catholic Church and made plans to permanently leave France and go to Strasbourg. However, war had broken out between Francis I and Charles V, so Calvin decided to make a one-night detour to Geneva.

But Calvin's fame in Geneva preceded him. Farel, a local reformer, invited him to stay in Geneva and threatened him with God's anger if he did not. Thus began a long, difficult, yet ultimately fruitful relationship with that city. He began as a lecturer and preacher, but by 1538 was asked to leave because of theological conflicts. He went to Strasbourg until 1541. His stay there as a pastor to French refugees was so peaceful and happy that when in 1541 the Council of Geneva requested that he return to Geneva, he was emotionally torn. He wanted to stay in Strasbourg but felt a responsibility to return to Geneva. He did so and remained in Geneva until his death May 27, 1564. Those years were filled with lecturing, preaching, and the writing of commentaries, treatises, and various editions of the Institutes of the Christian Religion.

The horror.

For further information on the atrocities committed by John Calvin, I recommend the expose John Calvin: Servant of the Word. And, If you’re interested in the Servetus affair, Was John Calvin a Murderer? is a fine resource.

Also recommend is the article article The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason, from where I derived numbers above.

--The Catechizer



Anonymous Aaron said...

John Calvin was an unbeliever, murderer, and sociopath because he deviated from the truth of scripture. Anytime a person makes up his own rules for living and ignores God's laws he not only becomes his own god, but begins to demonstrate sociopathic tendencies to varying degrees.

John Calvin's unbiblical and smelly TULIP are his own making. His insane diatribe, contained in some 1,800 pages of his "Institutes" displays his acute propensity for twisting scripture to say what will excuse away his countless murders of innocent people who did not conform to his twisted "theology", if one could call it that.

John Calvin attributes all evil to God Himself making every rape, murder, and heinous crime God's will. John Calvin not only did not know the true and living God, he blasphemed Him over and again in his insidious denunciation of the One Good God.

11:35 AM  
Blogger The Wittenberg Door said...

Aaron, if you search my blog for comments on John Calvin you’ll find a myriad of lying tirades such as yours. I used to try to reason with persons such as you, but it is pointless. You, and those like you, are driven by hate, and care little for the truth. You take glee in consigning those with whom you disagree to hell, in slandering their good name, and in imaging all types of evils with which you can attribute to them. You, sir, are contemptible.

But alas, you’ll never read this. No, that would take courage, and that’s something people like you lack. It is much easier to throw stones at that back of someone’s head and run away than it is to stand: to thoughtfully consider opposing views; to charitably engage a disagreeing brother; and to make a rational, well-reasoned, intellectually-honest case for your views.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

The Bible does not teach "total inability", which John Calvin termed "total depravity". Each person is morally responsible to God and will give account to God for what he has done, whether good or bad, II Cor. 10:5. The onus is on each person to believe the truth or not:

Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, He that HEARS my word, and BELIEVES on Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and will not come into condemnation; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.”

"But there are some of you that DO NOT BELIEVE … THEREFORE, I said to you that no man can come to me except it were given to him of my Father.” John 6:64-65

“He that BELIEVES on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But HE SPOKE OF THE SPIRIT, which THEY THAT BELIEVE on him SHOULD RECEIVE…) John 7:38-39

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that BELIEVES in me, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, yet shall he live: and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Shall we believe Jesus or John Calvin and his unfragrant TULIP?

10:41 PM  
Blogger The Wittenberg Door said...

Aaron, you did something now common for Arminians: you misrepresent Calvinism by equating total depravity with total inability. The problem is that total inability is a result of total depravity, not a synonym of it.

In the third chapter of Genesis we read of our first parents’ sin. Because Adam represented us as our federal head, we all sinned in him (Rom. 5:12–19). The resulting corruption is passed on to us all, and its extent is total—every aspect of our being has been affected:

Our heart (emotions and affections)—Rom.1:24–27; 1 Tim. 6:10; 2 Tim. 3:4

Our mind (thoughts and understanding)—Gen. 6:5; 1 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 4:17

Our will (constitution and moral vitality)—John 8:34; Rom 7:14–24; Eph.2:1–3; 2 Pet. 2:19

Furthermore, Scripture teaches that Adam’s sin brought spiritual death to us all (Gen. 2:16–17, 3:1–7; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1–3; Col. 2:13). As a result, men are spiritually deaf, blind, and completely corrupted (Ecc. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14); also, men are slaves of sin (John. 8:34; Rom. 6:20; Tit. 3:3), children of the devil (Eph. 2:1–2; 2 Tim. 2:25–26; 1 John 3:10), and not a single one of us does good or seeks after God (Rom. 3:10–12).

You quoted passages showing that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation. Arminians and Calvinists agree. But because of man’s corrupted state, he is dead in his sins and in complete and utter rebellion against God, and thus he is unwilling and unable to come to God on his own. His only hope is a sovereign act of God’s mercy: he must be made a new creation (Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 5:17–18), to have his nature renewed (Due. 30:6; Ezk. 36:26–2; 1 Pet. 1:3)—to be brought to life by the Spirit (John 5:21; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13) and to be granted repentance (Acts. 11:18, 16:14; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:25–26).

Aaron, as we’ve just seen, we are but drowning men lost in a sea of sin and rebellion. Our only hope is a rescue operation—a sovereign work of God upon our heart. And this rescue operation does not depend upon the drowning man seeking out the lifeguard. Instead, our rescuer chose to save us, and to preserve us, before we ever entered the water.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous baptizer said...

You have been selective with the truth regarding John Calvin. Your citation is from Calvin himself (not a very credible way to source historical information). Calvin's actions of persecution toward other Christians in Geneva who opposed or differed is documented. It is disingenuous to play loose with history.

4:58 PM  
Blogger The Catechizer said...

Baptizer, you’ve made several serious charges, none of which you’ve substantiated. Where have I been selective with the truth regarding Calvin? Where did I cite Calvin regarding himself? Where am I playing loose with history? Please either make your case or retract your comments. Otherwise, you’re simply a slanderer.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Cris Putnam said...

Aaron, how ignorant and angry you are. Calvin did even not come up with TULIP, that was later at Dort. Its amazing how people feel confident to slander great men of god without having a clue about the actual history. Please put an Arminian spin on this rabid Calvinist's statemment for us: “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—(Ro 9:11)

3:21 PM  
Blogger Don said...

I don't mean to be uncharitable, but Calvin was a undeniably monster. I can see how one might rationalize into accepting his theology while rejecting the actions of the man, but it is simply not credible to deny the historical facts. Don't worry, he wasn't the only monster - there were plenty on all sides - but a monster he was.

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Catechizer and The Deacon said...

Don, it is uncharitable to believe lies about a brother in Christ, and even more so to spread those lies. It’s also uncharitable to falsely claim that a brother is rationalizing away evil because of a theological commitment.

If you are interested in learning more about the false accusations regarding John Calvin, I recommend the article at the other end of the link: http://www.salvationbygrace.org/uc/sub/qaprint.aspx?qa=113&local=11a

7:32 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

Its interesting that Calvin left Geneva in 38 because of "doctrinal differences".. I wonder why Servetus wasn't granted the same exile. Because Calvin was a murdering heathen, thats why.

7:33 AM  
Blogger The Catechizer and The Deacon said...

JP, you have fallen prey to some misinformation. I recommend the following for a more historical perspective, and for some relevant arguments: http://wittenberg-door.blogspot.com/2009/04/was-john-calvin-murderer.html

6:27 PM  
Blogger Cici said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Cici said...

My goodness! I am amazed at your appalling ignorance!
I used to hate Calvin, but, by the grace of God I came to embrace both Calvinism and the absolute sovereignty of God. I will NEVER go back to the Arminian heresy that I embraced for thirty years. I could list a bunch of resources that explain what the Bible ACTUALLY says on this, but just give one excellent resource as a starting point in your education. www.salvationbygrace.org

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Rako said...

The Lutheran leader Melanchton called Calvin a despotic "Zeno".

Calvin certainly did not rack up the quantitative body count that Stalin did.

But to give a more precise answer you would need to look at the number of executions in Geneva when Calvin lived there and then compare it with the town's population in 1550. I would have to get the figures again (maybe 60 in just a few years, maybe 2 years), but it looked like for their town with 15,000 people they were having about an execution every three weeks. That's far more common than America even 200 years ago.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please look at the record:Calvin ruled Geneva like a despot...his word was law. The Council of the city officially made his Institutes THE religion of the city and said that anyone disagreeing was against God. Calvin had his one time friend tortured at the stake because Servetus made some notes in one of Calvin's writings. Calvin was of such low self esteem he couldn't stand any disagreement. He had the hand of a 12 year old girl cut off because she crossed herself at her parents' grave. He had 39 innocent women burnt as witches because he said they were the cause of the bubonic plague that hit Geneva. He taught that Our Lord suffered in Hell (idiotic...all the Fathers taught the harrowing of Hades was a triumph). It is because of Calvin's monstrous distortion of Christianity that we have the Puritans in America who thought killing Indians was their duty. The heresy of "name it and claim it" comes from Calvinism which teaches that if you're elect you will be prosperous in this world. Sorry, your boy Calvin is likely shrieking in Hell...not by predestination but "through his most grievous fault."

5:50 PM  

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