Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category
My pal Jona Lendering recently visited Rila Monastery and posted these glorious photos of the art slathering the place- art which represents the various councils of the Church. Some really great stuff. I like this image- which shows, you’ll notice, Joel Watts and Jeremy Thompson as demons urging the Council Fathers to punch each other out!
Enjoy the photos. And the attendant details Jona provides.
The Tolle Lege Institute is dedicated to Reformation Studies in Central-Eastern Europe. The goal of Tolle Lege Institute is to support research on the History and Theology of the Reformation in Poland & Central-Eastern Europe with special commitment to Reformed, Presbyterian and historic Evangelical confessions. Read more on its website. http://www.tollelegeinstitute.org/home.html
In 1535 Bullinger published this tractate, along with others, against the Catabaptists. Take a little time today and give it a read. It’s Memoriam Bullinger Day.
ON returning to his dungeon after his examination on September 15, Servetus addressed his prosecutor in the following characteristic epistle, which the reply to Art. XXI appears to have suggested:
To John Calvin, health!—It is for your good that I tell you you are ignorant of the principles of things. Would you now be better informed, I say the great principle is this: All action takes place by contact. Neither Christ nor God himself acts upon anything which he does not touch. God would not in truth be God were there anything that escaped his contact. All the qualities of which you dream are imaginations only, slaves of the fields as it were. But there is no virtue of God, no grace of God, nor anything of the sort in God which is not God himself; neither does God put quality into aught in which he himself is not. All is from him, by him, and in him. When the Holy Spirit acts in us, therefore it is God that is in us—that is in contact with us, that actuates us.
In the course of our discussion I detect you in another error. To maintain the force of the old law, you quote Christ’s words where he asks: ‘What says the law?’ and answers himself by saying: ‘Keep the commandments.’ But here you have to think of the law not yet accomplished, not yet abrogated; to think further, that Christ, when he willed to interpose in human things, willed to abide by the law; and that he to whom he spoke was living under the law. Christ, therefore, properly referred at this time to the law as to a master. But afterwards, all things being accomplished, the newer ages were emancipated from the older. For the same reason it was that he ordered another to show himself to the priest and make an offering. Shall we, therefore, do the like? He also ordered a lamb and unleavened bread to be prepared for the Passover: Shall we, too, make ready in this fashion? Why do you go on Judaising in these days with your unleavened bread? Ponder these things well, I beseech you, and carefully read over again my twenty-third letter. Farewell.
How little likely this epistle, however reasonable in itself, was calculated to win the favour of Calvin, need not be said. To pretend to set John Calvin right in anything could, indeed, only be taken by him as an impertinence.*
Truly. Correcting Calvin? As if… Especially if you’re an arch-heretic. Although, it has to be said, Calvin could be corrected by those with whom he was on friendly terms. Melanchthon and Bullinger managed it a number of times.
*Servetus and Calvin: a study of an important epoch in the early history of the reformation (pp. 423–424).
November 14, 2014, the Institut d’Histoire de la Réformation of the University of Geneva organizes together with Refo500 the workshop 17th Century: Age of Orthodoxies or Heterodoxies? The object of this workshop is to give a more detailed and nuanced explanation of different conceptions of heterodoxy and orthodoxy in the 17th century.
‘The punishment that befell Servetus is always ascribed to me. I am called a master in cruelty, and shall now be said to mangle with my pen the dead body of the man who came to his death at my hands. And I will not deny that it was at my instance he was arrested, that the prosecutor was set on by me, or that it was by me that the articles of inculpation were drawn up. But all the world knows that since he was convicted of his heresies I never moved to have him punished by death. There needs no more than simple denial from me to rebut the calumnies of the malevolent, the brainless, the frivolous, the fools, or the dissolute.’*
So, if you insist on crediting Calvin with the execution of Servetus, Calvin asserts that you are malevolent, brainless, frivolous, foolish, or dissolute. So, there you go.
*Servetus and Calvin: a study of an important epoch in the early history of the reformation (p. 501).
As today is the anniversary of his death I thought it proper to post this brief snippet of a bio once more.
In 1509 William Farel left his home at Gap in Dauphine to study in Paris. Under the influence of evangelical scholars Jacques Lefevre (J. Faber Stapulensis) and Cornelius Hoehn, he adopted Protestant views. In 1520 Farel joined other Lefevre pupils in reform efforts at the Meaux diocese outside Paris. Although removed from the circle of Parisian Catholic orthodoxy, increasing pressure from church authorities forced him to leave France in 1523.
In 1524 Farel began reform work in Basel with J. Hussgen (Oecolampadius). Farel’s impetuous championship of the evangelical cause provoked strong opposition. Chased from Basel in 1526, he undertook preaching tours in Switzerland. In 1528 he and Hussgen were successful in the Bern Disputation—a forum which decided that city’s religion.
Consequently, Bern sponsored Farel’s work in the Vaud, in Neuchatel (1530), and in Geneva (1523).
In 1534 Farel and French scholar Pierre Viret began holding regular Protestant worship services in Geneva. By 1535 a theological debate won the sympathetic populace to their side. In 1536 Farel added Calvin to his staff by threatening him with divine judgment should he resist. At this point Geneva was in a state of social and religious turmoil; thus, Farel fully supported Calvin’s new order and discipline. A series of confrontations with city magistrates led to ejection of the pastors in 1538. Unlike Calvin, Farel did not later return to Geneva but lived in Neuchatel. If he lacked the theological depth and consolidating powers of Calvin, Farel was nevertheless fervently dedicated to his evangelistic task.
Farel remained close friends with Calvin, officiating at the marriage of Calvin and Idelette de Bure (1540). Some tension developed when Farel at age sixty–nine married a young woman, a union Calvin strongly disapproved. The two were reconciled, however, before Calvin’s death in 1564. G. Bromily in Who’s Who in Christian history
A lot of people don’t care for Farel because of his fiery gruffness. But I like him. I like people who don’t abandon their principles just because it’s expedient to do so.