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His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin
(The Murder of Michael Servetus)
Article By Dan Corner
All reference sources are listed at the end of this article.
You are about to read an important part of church history from the Reformation period that has been so concealed in our day that very few people know the facts. Brace yourself for a shock.
On October 27, 1553 John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, had Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, burned at the stake just outside of Geneva for his doctrinal heresies!(1) Hence, the originator of the popular doctrine of "once saved, always saved" (known in certain circles as "the perseverance of the saints") violated the cry of the Reformation — "Sola Scriptura" — by murdering a doctrinal heretic without Scriptural justification. This event was something Calvin had considered long before Servetus was even captured, for Calvin wrote his friend, Farel, on February 13, 1546 (seven years prior to Servetus’ arrest) and went on record as saying:
Evidently, in that day Calvin’s authority in Geneva, Switzerland had ultimate "weight." This is why some referred to Geneva as the "Rome of Protestantism"(3) and to Calvin as the "Protestant ‘Pope’ of Geneva."(4)
During Servetus’ trial, Calvin wrote:
All this reveals a side of John Calvin that is not well-known or very appealing, to say the least! Obviously, he had a prolonged, murderous hate in his heart and was willing to violate Scripture to put another to death and in a most cruel way. Although Calvin consented to Servetus’ request to be beheaded, he acquiesced to the mode of execution employed. But why did Calvin have a death wish for Servetus?
From the time that Calvin had him arrested on August 14th until his condemnation, Servetus spent his remaining days:
Let it be noted that the Calvinists of Geneva put half-green wood around the feet of Servetus and a wreath strewn with sulfur on his head. It took over thirty minutes to render him lifeless in such a fire, while the people of Geneva stood around to watch him suffer and slowly die! Just before this happened, the record shows:
Although we essentially have the same in the conversion of the repentant thief (Lk. 23:42,43 cf. Lk. 18:13) and the Scripture, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13), Farel still reckoned Servetus an unsaved man at the end of his life:
As the Roman Catholics of 1415 burned John Hus(14) at the stake over doctrine, John Calvin, likewise, had Michael Servetus burned at the stake. But was doctrine the only issue? Could there have been another reason, a political one?
Is it possible for a man such as John Calvin to have been a "great theologian" and at the same time to act in this reprehensible way and afterwards show no remorse? Dear reader, do you have a heart that could, like John Calvin, burn another person at the stake?
Let us illustrate this another way. Suppose a man from your congregation with a reputation for being a spiritual leader captured your neighbor’s dog, chained it to a stake, then used a small amount of green kindling to slowly burn the dog to death. What would you think of such a person, especially if he afterwards showed no remorse? Would you want him to interpret the Bible for you? To make the matter even worse for John Calvin, a person, unlike a dog, is created in the image of God! Like it or not, we can only conclude from this evidence that John Calvin’s heart was darkened, and not enlightened, as a result of his murderous hate for Servetus. At best, Calvin was spiritually blinded by this hate and therefore, spiritually hindered from rightly dividing the word of truth.(17) At worst, which was apparently the case, John Calvin himself was unsaved, according to Scripture:
The Greek adds an important word to 1 Jn. 3:15 that is sometimes omitted in English translations. That word is "continuing" or "abiding" (NKJV) and states that murderous people don’t have eternal life continuing in them.
Dear reader, since murderers are unsaved and John Calvin was a murderer, then Calvin was unsaved! Moreover, since the unsaved are darkened in their spiritual understanding (Eph. 4:18) and Calvin was unsaved based on Scripture, then Calvin was darkened in his spiritual understanding.
Jesus said we can "know" people by their fruit (Mt. 12:33) — be it John Calvin or anyone else! Similarly, the Apostle John wrote:
Can you say Calvin did what was "right" regarding Servetus? If not, then doesn’t this make him a "child of the devil," according to this verse and others already cited? Though some will rant and rave over this conclusion, can we Scripturally come to any other?
No other evidence is needed to objectively assess Calvin’s spiritual status. However, two other men should also be briefly mentioned:
How Should A Heretic Be Dealt With?
How should a heretic or any false teacher be dealt with, that is, if one is willing to abide by the Biblical guidelines? Paul wrote Titus and touched upon this very issue, which first starts out as a qualification for eldership in the church:
Clearly, then, a false teacher should be "silenced," not by having him killed, as Calvinism’s founder did, but by refuting him with Scripture. This is the true Christian method.
If Calvin’s example is the standard, the next time the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon missionaries come to our door, we should physically overpower them, bind them to a stake, and make human candles out of them. Can you imagine a professing Christian doing this, much less a reputed theologian? If done, could you force yourself to believe such a person was truly saved and adhere to his unique, doctrinal distinctives?
Also, false teachers should be openly named as Paul openly named Hymenaeus and Philetus who were destroying the faith of some of the Christians whom Paul knew:
This is also an important preventative against a false teacher’s spiritual poison.
Why did Calvin grossly violate these Scriptural guidelines? Since Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired directives (and example) regarding how to deal with a heretic were diametrically opposed by Calvin, isn’t it safe to assume that Calvin was governed by a different spirit than Paul had? Moreover, why have these facts about John Calvin’s life rarely been mentioned in our day? The answer to this last question is obvious. They are both an embarrassment and refutation to the Calvinists who proudly refer to themselves by his name! Since they are the evangelical majority and it is their power and influence that has the greatest sway over what is disseminated throughout our land and even the world, this information about their founder is seldom, if ever, heard. Many people are only now learning the shocking facts about Calvinism’s founder as they read them for the first time!
Three important questions remain: (1) Can John Calvin be Scripturally justified for murdering Michael Servetus? (2) Does a murderous hate, according to Scripture, render one spiritually unable to accurately interpret the Scriptures? (3) Can a murderer be saved according to Rev. 21:8?
All these answers have a bearing on the credibility of Calvin’s popular "perseverance of the saints" doctrine, among others. Regretfully, Calvin’s version of Christianity is the prevalent view in our land, but is his view Scriptural? To answer in the affirmative is to say that Calvin’s double predestination is true, that is, some are predestined for Heaven and others are predestined for Hell without free choice on their part!(20) This would violate many Scriptures, especially 2 Pet. 3:9:
Furthermore, Calvin’s teachings declare Jesus’ work on the cross was NOT infinite, because according to that teaching, He did not shed His blood for every human, but only for the elect — those predestined to be saved. This is clearly refuted by 1 Jn. 2:2:
Also, his "perseverance of the saints" doctrine would assert that God’s power will keep a truly saved person secure, in spite of grievous sins committed after regeneration and/or any doctrinal heresies that would be embraced, thus violating many Scriptural examples and warnings which prove the opposite!
It should be apparent that, from the founder down to us today, the "perseverance of the saints" doctrine (most commonly known as "once saved always saved") has most often been a "license for immorality" taught under the banner of grace. See Jude 3,4. As Calvin’s own theology allowed for his actions against Servetus, many in our day are sexually immoral, liars, drunkards, filled with greed, etc., while they profess salvation. This is a ramification of Calvin’s perverted grace message — a teaching which has "spread like gangrene" from a man who could openly burn another to death and for the remaining 10 years and seven months of his life, never publicly repent of his crime.
[This article is copyrighted by Daniel D. Corner, 1995.
(E-mails received about this expose) "One year ago, while taking an European History class, I chose to do a final project on John Calvin. After gathering all the information from books that I could, I turned to the Internet for the latest information. What I found was an article titled, ‘His Ashes Cry out Again John Calvin.’ Shortly after reading it, I changed my topic from John Calvin to Michael Servetus. Interested by this story and seeing much of your information came from Bainton’s book, ‘Hunted Heretic,’ I searched madly for a copy, through used book stores, for about a year. One day, I received a letter that I might purchase a copy for a not-so-high amount that was signed by Bainton himself. Rather pleased, I’ve read and enjoyed the book. Now, a year later, I’m back at this web site, scratching up information for a friend on his report on Calvin. The whole point of this is that I would just like to thank you for giving me a whole new point of view on John Calvin. This web site has one thing that many don’t and that’s credibility. Thanks again."
"On Monday I received a phone call from the chairman of the board of the church I pastor. Brother Phil was upset some of his fellow Christian school board members were pestering him about not being a Calvinist. They were saying his simple Bible believing faith was simplistic and he needed to study John Calvin to understand what it means to be saved. He asked me for help. Well I had long ago in college studied Calvin and decided his position on predestination was not in line with the clear teaching of Scripture. Well I had two funerals to do this week and no time to prepare anything. Well I located your work: His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin on the internet. I read this work word for word to the men’s Sunday School class and the reaction was – every fellow agreed who needs a murderer to teach Bible doctrine! Thank the Lord your article His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin headed off a very devisive issue. I am waiting to hear what the school board members think when they read His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin! Thank you."
Article by: Dan Corner
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