Discipline in Calvin's Geneva

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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
But this assumes the hegemony of the true religion. It could just as likely be the case that one could be forced to attend the Mass.
No one here is making the case that we should attend pagan or apostate worship at the insistence of the magistrate.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Yes. On the grounds of biblical literacy, church attendance, etc.
I'm not sure about this, actually. Catechesis was fairly strong in Scotland. Going by my own background in Canadian churches don't think laymen, or many pastors, for that matter, have a lot of biblical literacy at all. There's a lot of wretched doctrine about.

It's an interesting question: "How does the biblical literacy of the church compare across the centuries?"
The only way this principle can get off the ground is for some sort of generic "Establishment of Athanasian Christianity" without committing to a specific denomination.
I don't really expect this to get off the ground at all. But you're right that if ever it did it would not be a Westminster Presbyterianism.
Baptists won't be persecuted because they are by far the largest. Presbyterians are 1% of 1% in America. We won't be calling the shots any time soon.
My comment was in response to another user's apparent fear that Baptists would have to have hide about in bunkers and tree forts, sneaking to ponds and swimming pools at night to baptize adults. But, I say, why should we persecute Baptists anyway? Most of them are perfectly nice people. (I stress most.)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
But this assumes the hegemony of the true religion. It could just as likely be the case that one could be forced to attend the Mass.

The magistrate's duty is to establish true religion and remove idolatry. Ergo, fears that a civil magistrate professing the gospel of Christ as summarised in the Reformed confession would demand mass attendance are illogical.

An unrelated question: was the stranger within the gate required to participate in the cultus or merely refrain from work in the manner prescribed for Israel?

He was to externally observe the Sabbath. Neglecting public worship is an open profanation of the Sabbath, so ...?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Granted we can have those qualifiers. I allow them. I am all for the state doing things that allow for the flourishing of the gospel. I just want to know if this requires IRS agents working in tandem with pastors. That's all.

Under the American Constitution, such an establishment and endowment is not currently possible. So, while it is fine to discourse about these things in the abstract, we must also recognise that we are currently about a zillion miles from such a situation becoming a reality.

I prefer to fixate, for the time being, on secular theocrats forcing abortions on the unborn, drag queen story hours on preschool children, and the homosexual mafia attempting to force Christian businesses to celebrate their perversions.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
My comment was in response to another user's apparent fear that Baptists would have to have hide about in bunkers and tree forts, sneaking to ponds and swimming pools at night to baptize adults. But, I say, why should we persecute Baptists anyway?
Well Gen 17:14 says "Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
No one here is making the case that we should attend pagan or apostate worship at the insistence of the magistrate.
Of course not! What ever made you think I was implying that. I’m just wondering how the Magistrate could be, or continue to be Christian in this day. It sounds like just so much theory but not likely now unless there is some sort of national repentance. The same argument is found on the Catholic sites I’ve visited, ie God wills the State to be a Catholic State and all must bow to her authority. The experiment in religious tolerance was the result of Protestant rebellion and American Catholics should wean themselves off this false religious error.

In Europe the State Churches are dead, or nearly so, having succumbed to the forces of secularism. Europe is rapidly becoming islamicized. In this country we still have pockets of orthodoxy but the future looks grim. Could the reason be that we have not fallen into the error of wedding church and state?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Of course not! What ever made you think I was implying that. I’m just wondering how the Magistrate could be, or continue to be Christian in this day. It sounds like just so much theory but not likely now unless there is some sort of national repentance. The same argument is found on the Catholic sites I’ve visited, ie God wills the State to be a Catholic State and all must bow to her authority. The experiment in religious tolerance was the result of Protestant rebellion and American Catholics should wean themselves off this false religious error.

In Europe the State Churches are dead, or nearly so, having succumbed to the forces of secularism. Europe is rapidly becoming islamicized. In this country we still have pockets of orthodoxy but the future looks grim. Could the reason be that we have not fallen into the error of wedding church and state?

Kuyper noted that while the Queen of the Netherlands was formally a Christian monarch over a Christian nation (which I actually approve as a monarchist myself), she ruled an empire of 100 million Muslims. Her Christian nation had more Muslims than Christians.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
The same argument is found on the Catholic sites I’ve visited, ie God wills the State to be a Catholic State and all must bow to her authority.
The Papists' imagined supremacy is not the same as the Protestant Establishment Principle.
In Europe the State Churches are dead, or nearly so, having succumbed to the forces of secularism. Europe is rapidly becoming islamicized. In this country we still have pockets of orthodoxy but the future looks grim. Could the reason be that we have not fallen into the error of wedding church and state?
If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that the reason for America's "pockets of orthodoxy" is that Americans have never fallen into the "error of wedding wedding church and state." But is it not more likely that religious tolerance (they call it "freedom") has led to a proliferation of godlessness?
 
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Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
The Papists' imagined supremacy is not the same as the Protestant Establishment Principle.

If Bunderstand you correctly, you are suggesting that the reason for America's "pockets of orthodoxy" is that Americans have never fallen into the "error of wedding wedding church and state." But is it not more likely that religious tolerance (they call it "freedom") has let to a proliferation of godlessness?
Perhaps allowing for the Gospel freedom to be preached also means that darkness will be on the rise, as darkness hates the light.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Papists' imagined supremacy is not the same as the Protestant Establishment Principle.

If Bunderstand you correctly, you are suggesting that the reason for America's "pockets of orthodoxy" is that Americans have never fallen into the "error of wedding wedding church and state." But is it not more likely that religious tolerance (they call it "freedom") has let to a proliferation of godlessness?
You might be right. But what accounts for the dead and apostate churches of all Europe? Thanks for replying. I’m still working through this.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
God, of course, is the one who brought about the Reformation and raised up heroes of the faith like Huss and Wycliffe and Luther and Calvin and other men in England and Germany and France and Scotland. The covenanting of the three kingdoms and establishment of the church was the natural outcome of this revival and reformation. No one could have planned it or foreseen it. The Scots were wild men, heathens, and then were conquered by Rome. But the winds of Reformation began to blow and under the preaching of Knox and others God wrought a change.

Such times could come again but surely violent upheaval would precede it, just as it has throughout history (Post tenebras lux).

Or, perhaps the church will just be called to hold faithfully to what she has.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
You might be right. But what accounts for the dead and apostate churches of all Europe? Thanks for replying. I’m still working through this.
Susan you asked Tom, but this is on my mind as I’m reading a couple of good commentaries on Revelation and also listening to Pastor Todd Russell’s readings on Revelation; consider Christ’s words to the 7 churches. They’re warned against falling away, losing their first love, etc., and many/most of those historic churches did (and they had been established by the apostles).
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Six points of consideration, then a conclusion:

1. The US does not give govt' money to churches. It merely refuses to tax them. There is a difference. And doing away with this entirely might be the best course of action due to the abuses involved.

2. Laws reflect morality and the 10 commandments are moral. Therefore, the Sabbath laws in the past served to close stores, etc, so that people could worship, but stopped short of demanding coerced church attendance. There is also a difference there as well. The first was promoting general morality, the second was to levy the civil sword to enforce ecclesiastical affairs.

Some could counter-argue and insist that the government could also enforce church attendance of some type without specifying the specific church, as long as they went somewhere for mandatory worship on Sundays. But even this is too far, I believe, for then you'd have to register approved churches to prove that you attended an actual church. And this is what happened in the past.

3. Baptist were persecuted in both Europe and then again in America under such systems. In years past many on the PB always scoff at that and say, "Naw....we'd NEVER do that. Baptist are silly for even bringing this point up." And maybe baptists are now too numerous to make easy victims. But it happened in the past. Twice. And it happened because of the mixture of church and state.

Here is an example of how this happened:

"Early Baptists did face opposition. Dozens of their ministers were jailed before the American Revolution. Some, particularly among the Separates, had refused to obtain legally required preaching licenses. Others violated the terms of their licenses, which usually specified places of worship, making itinerancy and revival meetings illegal. Some were incarcerated for the more general charge of disturbing the peace. Both preachers and congregants also sometimes ran afoul of the local churchwardens, as all Virginians were legally required to tithe to the Anglican Church and attend Anglican worship at least once a month." https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Baptists_in_Colonial_Virginia#start_entry

4. Historically we see every time the State prefers the Church, that the Church sinks into error from that point on (medieval Europe after Constantine). When persecution or toleration turns to support in the form of the State getting involved in "helping" the Church, the Church always suffers from the taint of the State's touch.

[cue the meme of Ralphie Wiggums from the Simpsons saying, "I'm helping!" That is the State "helping" the Church].

Power corrupts. And it corrupts religious institutions who think they are doing the will of God, too. Sometimes even worse.

The Anglicans persecuted the baptists and were the State-Supported established Church in the Colonies. But where are the Anglicans in Virginia now compared with the baptists? The State Churches in Europe now are dead mostly. But the Gospel is still alive in America.

The "help" of the State was poison to the Church in the long-run.

5. Back to the OP, discipline in Calvin's Geneva was repressive. He meant well and he was reforming. But let's be real and admit that he went overboard sometimes. The Gospel is strong enough that it does not need the puny arm of civil fines and punishments to protect it.

6. The govt' is largely spoken of in the negative in the NT. We run to Romans 13 because our government has not yet turned on us, but we forget about Revelation 13. Big Government is Beastly.

--
I mean, does any Presbyterian today really believe the current US government has the power to call and preside over synods? Do we expect or want President Trump (as much as I like him...MAGA y'all!) to preside over the next Nicene Council?

The larger idea here is that the concept of "Christendom" has died. That is hard to swallow, but I believe it to be a good thing. Calvin was still operating under the "Christendom" concept of the faith. We no longer have such a thing.

Finally,
Call me a hopeless American, but I really believe that the Establishment Clause is much better written than the theocratic parts of the original WCF before the 1788 American Revision.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever. . . nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”
 
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RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Six points of consideration, then a conclusion:

1. The US does not give govt' money to churches. It merely refuses to tax them. There is a difference. And doing away with this entirely might be the best course of action due to the abuses involved.

2. Laws reflect morality and the 10 commandments are moral. Therefore, the Sabbath laws in the past served to close stores, etc, so that people could worship, but stopped short of demanding coerced church attendance. There is also a difference there as well. The first was promoting general morality, the second was to levy the civil sword to enforce ecclesiastical affairs.

Some could counter-argue and insist that the government could also enforce church attendance of some type without specifying the specific church, as long as they went somewhere for mandatory worship on Sundays. But even this is too far, I believe, for then you'd have to register approved churches to prove that you attended an actual church. And this is what happened in the past.

3. Baptist were persecuted in both Europe and then again in America under such systems. In years past many on the PB always scoff at that and say, "Naw....we'd NEVER do that. Baptist are silly for even bringing this point up." And maybe baptists are now too numerous to make easy victims. But it happened in the past. Twice. And it happened because of the mixture of church and state.

Here is an example of how this happened:

"Early Baptists did face opposition. Dozens of their ministers were jailed before the American Revolution. Some, particularly among the Separates, had refused to obtain legally required preaching licenses. Others violated the terms of their licenses, which usually specified places of worship, making itinerancy and revival meetings illegal. Some were incarcerated for the more general charge of disturbing the peace. Both preachers and congregants also sometimes ran afoul of the local churchwardens, as all Virginians were legally required to tithe to the Anglican Church and attend Anglican worship at least once a month." https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Baptists_in_Colonial_Virginia#start_entry

4. Historically we see every time the State prefers the Church, that the Church sinks into error from that point on (medieval Europe after Constantine). When persecution or toleration turns to support in the form of the State getting involved in "helping" the Church, the Church always suffers from the taint of the State's touch.

[cue the meme of Ralphie Wiggums from the Simpsons saying, "I'm helping!" That is the State "helping" the Church].

Power corrupts. And it corrupts religious institutions who think they are doing the will of God, too. Sometimes even worse.

The Anglicans persecuted the baptists and were the State-Supported established Church in the Colonies. But where are the Anglicans in Virginia now compared with the baptists? The State Churches in Europe now are dead mostly. But the Gospel is still alive in America.

The "help" of the State was poison to the Church in the long-run.

5. Back to the OP, discipline in Calvin's Geneva was repressive. He meant well and he was reforming. But let's be real and admit that he went overboard sometimes. The Gospel is strong enough that it does not need the puny arm of civil fines and punishments to protect it.

6. The govt' is largely spoken of in the negative in the NT. We run to Romans 13 because our government has not yet turned on us, but we forget about Revelation 13. Big Government is Beastly.

--
I mean, does any Presbyterian today really believe the current US government has the power to call and preside over synods? Do we expect or want President Trump (as much as I like him...MAGA y'all!) to preside over the next Nicene Council?

The larger idea here is that the concept of "Christendom" has died. That is hard to swallow, but I believe it to be a good thing. Calvin was still operating under the "Christendom" concept of the faith. We no longer have such a thing.

Finally,
Call me a hopeless American, but I really believe that the Establishment Clause is much better written than the theocratic parts of the original WCF before the 1788 American Revision.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever. . . nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

Perg,

I think first of all we should thank you for yo0ur honesty, and willingness to be impartial with the heroes of the faith. Truly we are liable to be blinded to the faults of our heroes, and we sometimes tend to gloss over even their greater sins as though a holy class of sinning, or justified on the merits of who they were. It's unrealistic to see these men as anything other than what they were--like Abraham, redeemed sinners who lived by faith, but still capable of conspicuously sinful deeds.

If you reply and I don't answer, it's because new family developments will demand too much of my time.

Let me propose this: we are living under the Baptist / Roger Williams ideal for government. The Bible is forbidden to be the authority of Law under the First Amendment. Elsewhere in our Constitution it says that no religious test will ever be performed for any office. Under this direction of government, we have slaughtered 60 million babies. Not only have we slaughtered them, but we are harvesting their organs while they can still breathe. Chances are too we have an underground sex trafficking industry going on, and likely some government persons are in on it. p0rn is rampant, our entertainment is utterly filthy, and every true Christian in America feels like Lot living in Sodom with his righteous soul being vexed daily or hourly by things he sees just driving down the road, in his work office, everywhere else.

You've argued the persecution of Baptists is the result of the system under the Westminster. Why does it not go the other way, that the Roger Williams / Baptist ideal is in some measure responsible for all the above? We removed the mold by nuking the house.

Given, the government is spoken of in the negative in the New Testament in Revelation 13, yet nonetheless it is spoken of positively in Romans 13 and in 1 Peter 2. He is called the "Minister of God", and given that title, we ought to realize that in the eyes of God the government has a place of honor. Furthermore, Romans 13 goes on to tell us not what a government always is, but what a government is expected to be. "A terror to evildoers, and a rewarder of good." I don't see how you can be called the Minister of God and think you have no obligation to acknowledge the one true God, or Christ, or swear your allegiance to Him per Psalm 2, or uphold the Ten Commandments. I don't think Romans 13 or 1 Peter 2 or even 1 Timothy 2 allow any neutrality toward God whatsoever, but the NT requires that government be God's agent for good.

The idea that a government should be absolutely neutral toward any religion is based on a false premise: that wicked men, once they get into a government office, can be neutral toward God; or that a godly men, when he gets into office, is willing to be neutral toward God. It doesn't accord with reality or even Scripture, and is anti-New Testament. "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

The inevitable outcome is that if God's law is not the law of a nation, it will by default be the devil's. And if you put ungodly, unconverted men in office, whether with much common grace or little common grace, it is a man who is enslaved to sin--inherently an enemy of God--that governs you. Their governance will not be based on what is right in the eyes of God, but what is politically expedient, and true right and wrong are going to give way according to what is convenient. That's clear with the Democratic party, and frankly, I think we've seen that with our current President. Blood earnestness to have a wall built on the Texas/Mexico border, unquenchable zeal to "drain the swamp", yet none of that same earnestness to end abortion, to restore marriage to one man and one woman. My proposal that so long as we do not require men to fear God before the take a public office, our politicians even on the GOP side are going to continue to toy with these moral atrocities for the sake of garnering votes.

Is it for the sake of bringing converts that I want this? No. The government is not an office to bestow saving grace on the elect. That only happens through the church. However, the government as the minister of God is there to make sure God's law is upheld; and as long God's law is not upheld, God is dishonored, blasphemed, disregarded, and God is not getting His due obedience. For that end the government should be the "Minister of God."

As for the idea that once the government condones religion that there tends to be a downgrade, I would only say that if you appreciate the Nicene Creed, the Chaldeon, the Five Points of Calvinism, or even the London Baptist Confession, you have the countenancing of the government to thank for it. But if we must say that the countenancing of the church by the government results in social and moral downgrades (which I do not hold), how much more the system under which the United States is now governed.

God bless you brother, with much thanks for your honesty and challenges.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Pergy,
You make some good points Pergy but you get a few things incorrect. Faith based organisations here in Indiana do receive some financial assistance from our Government. Also, Under the King all denominations (except for the Church of England) in pre-revolutionary America were heavily regulated and persecuted. Even the Presbyterians were. The Methodists were Anglican back then so.... That is why Patrick Henry lobbied so hard for the Christian denominations and their freedoms. This Nation was not to have a State Sponsored Denomination. But it also shouldn't have been so free to accept False Religion such as Islam or anything that opposed Historic Christian doctrine. And I am not so sure that it was to be set up to do so but that is where we are now.

I am not sure when you were here in America last but things are going down hill quite quickly as the Millennials (or whatever generation that is turning adult) have a very watered down understanding of the Gospel. It is actually no Gospel at all. We are becoming an Opiate, Pot Smoking, Be Whatever Sex you want to be people. The boundaries have become so blurred. Kids have no idea there is a Moral Law. They have barely heard if there was a Moses or Ten Commandments.

Islam is taught in our Schools to help us Westerners come to understand them. Christianity is mocked and repudiated as an old Archaic false teaching to keep the masses under control. We have entered a new revolution of Enlightenment. I am amazed at how fast things have digressed here.


Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Perg,

I think first of all we should thank you for yo0ur honesty, and willingness to be impartial with the heroes of the faith. Truly we are liable to be blinded to the faults of our heroes, and we sometimes tend to gloss over even their greater sins as though a holy class of sinning, or justified on the merits of who they were. It's unrealistic to see these men as anything other than what they were--like Abraham, redeemed sinners who lived by faith, but still capable of conspicuously sinful deeds.

If you reply and I don't answer, it's because new family developments will demand too much of my time.

Let me propose this: we are living under the Baptist / Roger Williams ideal for government. The Bible is forbidden to be the authority of Law under the First Amendment. Elsewhere in our Constitution it says that no religious test will ever be performed for any office. Under this direction of government, we have slaughtered 60 million babies. Not only have we slaughtered them, but we are harvesting their organs while they can still breathe. Chances are too we have an underground sex trafficking industry going on, and likely some government persons are in on it. p0rn is rampant, our entertainment is utterly filthy, and every true Christian in America feels like Lot living in Sodom with his righteous soul being vexed daily or hourly by things he sees just driving down the road, in his work office, everywhere else.

You've argued the persecution of Baptists is the result of the system under the Westminster. Why does it not go the other way, that the Roger Williams / Baptist ideal is in some measure responsible for all the above? We removed the mold by nuking the house.

Given, the government is spoken of in the negative in the New Testament in Revelation 13, yet nonetheless it is spoken of positively in Romans 13 and in 1 Peter 2. He is called the "Minister of God", and given that title, we ought to realize that in the eyes of God the government has a place of honor. Furthermore, Romans 13 goes on to tell us not what a government always is, but what a government is expected to be. "A terror to evildoers, and a rewarder of good." I don't see how you can be called the Minister of God and think you have no obligation to acknowledge the one true God, or Christ, or swear your allegiance to Him per Psalm 2, or uphold the Ten Commandments. I don't think Romans 13 or 1 Peter 2 or even 1 Timothy 2 allow any neutrality toward God whatsoever, but the NT requires that government be God's agent for good.

The idea that a government should be absolutely neutral toward any religion is based on a false premise: that wicked men, once they get into a government office, can be neutral toward God; or that a godly men, when he gets into office, is willing to be neutral toward God. It doesn't accord with reality or even Scripture, and is anti-New Testament. "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

The inevitable outcome is that if God's law is not the law of a nation, it will by default be the devil's. And if you put ungodly, unconverted men in office, whether with much common grace or little common grace, it is a man who is enslaved to sin--inherently an enemy of God--that governs you. Their governance will not be based on what is right in the eyes of God, but what is politically expedient, and true right and wrong are going to give way according to what is convenient. That's clear with the Democratic party, and frankly, I think we've seen that with our current President. Blood earnestness to have a wall built on the Texas/Mexico border, unquenchable zeal to "drain the swamp", yet none of that same earnestness to end abortion, to restore marriage to one man and one woman. My proposal that so long as we do not require men to fear God before the take a public office, our politicians even on the GOP side are going to continue to toy with these moral atrocities for the sake of garnering votes.

Is it for the sake of bringing converts that I want this? No. The government is not an office to bestow saving grace on the elect. That only happens through the church. However, the government as the minister of God is there to make sure God's law is upheld; and as long God's law is not upheld, God is dishonored, blasphemed, disregarded, and God is not getting His due obedience. For that end the government should be the "Minister of God."

As for the idea that once the government condones religion that there tends to be a downgrade, I would only say that if you appreciate the Nicene Creed, the Chaldeon, the Five Points of Calvinism, or even the London Baptist Confession, you have the countenancing of the government to thank for it. But if we must say that the countenancing of the church by the government results in social and moral downgrades (which I do not hold), how much more the system under which the United States is now governed.

God bless you brother, with much thanks for your honesty and challenges.

Praying for your family developments.

It is a false dilemma to say either (1) We agree with Calvin's Geneva and stick with that model, or else (2) BAMMM...We end up getting the messed-up America of 2019.

Let's remember, America in 2019 is still pretty good by history's standards. And let us also remember that those countries which had State Churches did not do better, but rather worse, than America.

I have not been to Geneva, but I would wager it is probably a nice city because the Swiss are an orderly people. But I am not sure how Christian they are or not? Any info on that? Any lasting effects from Calvin's reforms in Geneva today? Holland is very Calvinistic, but I've seen pictures of Amsterdam. Calvin would disapprove.

Most of the laws of America have been generally informed by broad Christian principles. But this is not what Geneva did. They legislated church attendance. All laws are derived from general principles of morality; but Geneva's laws confused civil and ecclesiastical categories.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
We must remember that Calvin was not a tyrant by relative comparison with his times. But yet his times were fairly tyrannical. Transported to the 20th century, he would be considered repressive. Perhaps Jim Jones-ish in his control over the people.

But for the times, this was normal. If I remember correctly he himself fled some militant Catholics in France. In the era of the Edict of Nantes and tens of thousands massacred for their faith, Calvin's Geneva was downright free by comparison. So that was the flavor of the times. And so his actions were consistent with the general mood of the era. But that doesn't make them desirable for us today.

In the Amaeux episode where a man criticized Calvin and the city's ministers, Calvin made him bow and apologize and then do the same at every intersection in a form of a sort of civil penitence. Apologists for Calvin such as Dr. Clark on the Heidelblog excuse this and say, "technically it was the city council who effected the sentence.." and I laughed out loud at that defense by Clark because that is pretty much the same defense that Catholics give to the execution of Protestant heretics in Catholic regions of Europe during that same era (the Catholic Church "delivering" the guilty over to the civil sword to be executed, so that the Church is not guilty of shedding blood). This is all merely a technicality when you control both the Church and the City Council.

At least Clark gets it right a few sentences later when he rightly notes:

"Nowhere in the New Testament or in the moral law is theological heresy a ground for civil punishment. The only sphere authorized by God to correct theological error is the visible church (see Matthew 18) and their means are purely spiritual: Word, sacrament, and discipline (e.g., rebuke, censure, excommunication)."
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
I have not been to Geneva, but I would wager it is probably a nice city because the Swiss are an orderly people. But I am not sure how Christian they are or not? Any info on that?

Purely anecdotal...

We were in Geneva a couple of years ago and I asked a store clerk where I might find Calvin's church (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre). She asked, "Calvin who?"
Turns out the shop was literally next door to the church...
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
If you are speaking that in case of believers then I can agree that we should have some discipline since believers are obliged to obey the 4th commandment in worshipping God.
It’s important to remember that all humans are bound to obey all of God’s moral law. The 4th command is just as binding on a Buddhist as it is on an Christian.

Westminster 19.5:
5. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;a and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it.b Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.c
 

Minh

Puritan Board Freshman
All humans are bound to obey all of God’s moral law. The 4th command is just as binding on a Buddhist as it is on an Christian.

I don't deny that all men in Adam are obligated to serve and worship God who expresses his preceptive wills through the 10 commandments. That being said, my opinion is that though the unbelievers can recognize God and His commandments that they should perform (Romans 2:14), their heart are at enmity with Him (Romans 8:5) since they are spiritual dead. It's impossible for them to worship God without His regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

I would advice not to be so divisive over this complex matter and rely instead on evangelism to convert unbelievers to Christ.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
It's impossible for them to worship God without His regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

Again that is true of all men. It would also seem that the Prophet Nehemiah (Chapter 13) saw zero issue with expecting and forcing outsiders to respect the Sabbath.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
So, will this theocracy be denominational or generic Trinitarianism? This is the nightmare question that more or less tanks the project.
 
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