Slave owners, Calvin/Servetus, Luther/Anti-semite... How can we take these guys serious?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Stope, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior

    I think you would do well to make a study of the classical Reformed doctrine of the civil magistrate. The issue is what is called the Establishment Principle, or the principle of the Establishment of Religion (note that this is the language used in the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution--"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." They were consciously contradicting what most Christians in the world had accepted as true).
  2. Ray

    Ray Puritan Board Freshman

    You do know your on a Confessional Board? Right?
  3. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior

    There is a difference between church power and civil power. The Church does not have the power to kill anyone, but the civil magistrate has the power of the sword (Rom. 13:4).
  4. Joshua

    Joshua pilgrim

    I regret getting involved in the thread, and am reminded of one of the reasons I had stepped back my participation on the PB significantly. It is regrettable when one would like to interact in a meaningful way with someone with whom he may disagree, but the inevitable consequence (it seems) is the casting of aspersions, rather than seeking to understand one another, learn something, and grow from the discussion.

    Call it satire, or whatever you would like, but you're professed "horror" and outrage at a position that is well supported -even required- by Scripture, and your subsequent insulting and evil surmisings of those who hold to it, are unwarranted. It is clear to any fair reader that you do not want to understand the position, else you would restrain the expressions of "horror" before hearing it all out.

    I confess to being a man of like passions as any other son of Adam -so I am not seeking to correct you without having first taken inventory of my own speech and behavior- but I hope you will bethink your carriage in this thread (and perhaps, others, I do not know), hold it up to the mirror of the requirement that God has for us in our interaction with one another in his word, and consider changing it for future interaction.
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  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Senior

    Realise that all of us still have areas where we do not fully apply and practice what we know to be true, and that we need to reserve our sight fixed upon Jesus Christ, for He dos not have any blemish of not acting as he ought!
    And alo that many were the products of their time/culture, could not quite make full break that they should have!
  6. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    --Just dont be so smug and rude next time and you will do well ;)
  7. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    --The sword is context of violence and finances and NOT orthodoxy vs heresy - we know that because Rome was pagan, so surely it doesn't mean they are to executed judgment on persons Theological positions
  8. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    ---Sorry brother, Im not understanding to what end I should look into "Establishment Principle"??
  9. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    is our primary adherence to man made confessions or the Word? In other words, if the word trumps a confession who should be regarded?
  10. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    FYI, the reason I bring this up is:
    1. I just started reading Institutes and was curious to learn more of Calvin and so I poked around and:
    2. I found, and listened, to this
  11. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Sometimes, just maybe, we don't know what we think we know. From what I have read in the thread to date, you are laboring under several misunderstandings.

    We embrace some of those that have come before us because we have no warrant for chronological snobbery, as if we are somehow more endued by the Spirit than others before us. Accordingly, is serves us well to check-in on what others have to say about that which we hold dear, lest we go off attempting to re-create what others have driven mostly to ground. We interpret Scripture in a community of like-minded saints. We are not Lone Ranger believers. In not a few of the threads at this site, you have actually done this. See for example some of your discussions related to the Trinity or Christology topics. It is far better to test the results of our personal studies against those that have withstood the test of time and challenge by the church militant before we boldly claim this or that and embarrass ourselves.
    Why then would we embrace men like Moses, David, Solomon, or Paul? Yes, of course these men were inspired writers of Scripture, in a class of their own, but sinners all, grievous sinners at that. Apparently God thought that even these terrible sinners could be used as instruments to teach us something. For that matter, there is no doubt that the very Confessions each of us affirmed when we joined this site, were created by men who sinned, some greater than others. Yet we embrace these Confessions for their fidelity to Scripture.

    The same could be said of the old, dead guys, as it relates to their sins real or imagined, you see often appealed to or quoted herein.

    What are you suggesting by these comments, all of which have been rightly corrected by not a few of the other sinners posting herein and in no need of adding to by myself?

    Tell me, exactly, what is your logical conclusion of what appears to be a hyperbolic screed that we Reformed regularly encounter offered up by the anti-Reformed?

    In short, you have asked and I would like to now ask what is it that you are proposing based upon your observations above? After all, you must have had some motive in mind behind your post?

    Are you intimating by the above that you think we could all be wrong for "embracing" the theological efforts of others, especially those you hold up for examination, Luther and Calvin? What is it about the beliefs they espoused from their careful studies of Scripture, that have been shown to be accurate summaries of the actual teachings of Scripture, that you find unworthy of embracing as timelessly accurate?
  12. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    Wow! The tone of the thread is disheartening.
    Look up establishmentarianism, you might learn a thing or two about someone else's beliefs.
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Why is this relevant? Please summarize the points you believe are pertinent to the discussion as many do not have the time to site through the video.
  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    You're on thin ice already. Quit while you're ahead.
    Confessions are viewed by Churches as standard expositions of the Word. It's cute to pit your understanding of the Word against a Church's confession but whose confession is it now? Jason's.
    In other words, is it the case that all who put their trust in Christ shall be saved by His imputed righteousness?
    that's a confession. It's true because it represents many ministers common confession of the Scriptures and they bind themselves to one another promising that they hold to orthodox, Biblical ideas.
    A Confession can be changed - most American Presbyterians do not subscribe to the original Confession and do not believe that the magistrate has a role in ecclesiastical affairs.
    That said, a government might decide it has an interest in upholding a principle of God's law for the common good of its citizenry. If they decide to outlaw commerce on Sundays for reasons sufficient to the magistrate (perhaps they believe that it is God-honoring and gives people rest) then it is not "theocratic". It is simply the magistrate deciding what it believes is good for its citizenry.
    Now we can all debate what the death penalty should and should not be administered for but this is a discussion regarding what the magistrate does and not the Church. The magistrate can have reasons, sufficient for its own purposes, to administer the death penalty. Some governments may put adulterers to death. Can we say, before God, that he abhors (in His very nature) the notion that a government would put someone to death for the crime of adultery? Again, we can debate whether we want our government to perform this.
    It's then simply a matter of what crimes we believe should and should not be capital crimes. We do not reflexively believe that anyone should be inhibited from the free exercise of any religion they want to practice.
    Oh, that's right, provided it doesn't harm anyone.
    Harm them in what way?
    What if a locality believes that a religion would be destructive to the very fabric of society?
    Again, you just need to think through this harder. We don't have to advocate for something in order to understand it. Our government was not founded on establishmentarian principles and in many ways I am grateful for that. That, however, does not mean that a government cannot legitimately be formed that gives preference to the Christian religion and decide that it will punish heretics.
    The irony is that even the colonies that were formed fleeing persecution ended up realizing there are certain religions you don't want around. These things get messy historically and it's anachronistic to treat everyone as if they have to agree, in principle, with Article 1 of our Constitution or that God abhors the very idea of a government that would put to death someone they believe is dangerous because of his religious views.
    That does not mean that the Church is putting the man to death in such cases. It just means that the Magistrate, in its role, may be permitted to do so and you have to treat that case independently of how you would act as one citizen to another or as one member of a Church to another. If you cannot keep these categories in mind then you have not really studied the issue in the lease.
  15. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dont be disheartened, instead encourage!!!
  16. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was just trying to say that I bring up Calvin in the context that this video, agrees with what most of you folks are saying, Im not Arminian or trying to slander, I THOUGHT I was calling a spade a spade and assumed you would all say "Yeah, that was bonkers that he didnt speak up"
  17. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    This is a general comment not specific to the men you mentioned. But the God who wrote the Old Testament was the same God as the one who wrote the New Testament. The One God, one will and one mind, wrote the laws of Moses.

    I struggled with God for a long time. I mean, God told Israel to wipe out entire cities including babies. Why didn't he say to adopt the babies? Huh? ( I have an adopted child). God said to kill a kid who cursed his parents. What, no grace, no patience? Kill a gay? I know a "Christian" gay that was raped repeatedly as a about some counseling and time and patience. Kill them? What if my husband's brother died and my husband had to take my sister in law as a wife and impregnate her? Yech, polygamy, really God? I could go on. Your issue is with God at the root. The Old testament had laws about slavery ( I am NOT endorsing it for today, just pointing out that it is there).

    We live in a world where the fall has made us all VERY fallen. Even the best of us are deeply flawed. I hope you can come to peace with it.
  18. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thank you for your asking me this (by the way I wanted to respond more to your post but the multi quote tool isnt working, its bringing previous quotes and isnt separating them).

    As for my reasons for bringing this up was 2 reasons:
    1. Simple curiosity. That is, I know that great and Jesus loving men have owned slaves. I know that Calvin loved Jesus, yet he didnt speak against the torture-killing of Servetus. That is to say, how do we reconcile in our minds the fact that great people of God who can nuance scripture could have simply "overlooked" or just been a "product of their time", when, a sit appears to me, the Bible in no way even close allows for, since the time of Christ, persons (in any position of authority) the right to kill heretics (or own slaves).

    2. Safeguard. I do fear that there might be some aspect of my culture and day and age where it is common/just part of that time and culture, so that I would, unbeknownst to me, disobey/ignore God.

    As far as me getting confused, some of you seem to say its wrong TODAY to kill heretics, yet some allude to it being the norm.
  19. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    From the point of your response where you said "A confession can be changed" and that is below is very very very helpful. Thank you!
  20. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    Let's just be absolutely clear. The number of people John Calvin killed, murdered, tortured, executed, etc., is zero. We as a society who have a remarkable access to the annuls of history need to get this notion out of our heads for good. Calvin never killed anyone. Of course, he might not have "spoken out" (depending on how one defines this, for he did, indeed, petition to have the punishment lessened, for which he himself was fortunate not to have been accused of having sympathies for a heretic and a traitor) against Servetus' execution. Sure, I will grant that. However, if we are going to start condemning this act of omission, I am absolutely positive that nobody on this board or anywhere else would like to have listed before their eyes the number of evils in this world concerning which we remain absolutely silent, either unwittingly or deliberately. And we have no excuses, considering we are aware not only of what happens around us locally but what happens everywhere in the world virtually instantaneously via the Internet.

    Was Calvin perfect? Of course not. But we need to be a little more careful about how we talk about our brothers and sisters in Christ (which he is, even at this present moment). I certainly do not want people looking back on me after I am dead with the scrutiny and Pharisaical superiority that Calvin has received post mortem. If that will be the case, then no doubt my earlier days—when for years, while professing Christianity vigorously, I thoroughly enjoyed the sexual objectification of women indicative of p0rnography—will render me a monster in all men's eyes until the resurrection.

    A personal question, Jason: Do you support the death penalty here in America? If so, why?
  21. Ray

    Ray Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes a Confession can be changed for being unbiblical, for example the London Baptist Confession should change articles Chapters 28, 29 and 30 and should adopt chapters 27, 28, and 29 of WCF or 33, 34, and 35 of Belgic Confession of Faith :) just one thing we can point out of that Confession to change, so it can conform more to Scripture:) Sorry I could not resist.
  22. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I never said anything close to Calvin did kill anyone (in fact Geneva only killed 1). I said, as you did, that he didnt "speak up". Indeed we all have turned a blind eye, but the scenario is apples and oranges. For example, Im anti abortion and I do "speak out" against it cause its killing babies, but if I was in a hearing and I wasnt ARDENTLY opposed to that abortion and making my voice heard than I am just as guilty. This is what it appears Calvin has done (further, he NEVER said it was wrong to kill him, only it was wrong to burn him).

    Yes I do believe in capitol punishment in America as enacted by our current system of govt.
  23. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Yes I would agree. We can certainly fault Aquinas et al for any unscriptural positions they may have held, but we really can't fault them for being Catholic. What other church should they have joined?
  24. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    How so?

    These last two statements in juxtaposition are interesting to me. Although you did not explain why as I requested, you seem to believe it is just and right for the American government to enact capital punishment (as do I). However, in the same breath you seem (to me) to be denying the Genevan government the same authority and right. Servetus was not just a heretic, brother; he was a traitor, an enemy of the state. He committed a civil crime and was administered the due civil punishment by the civil (not Church) authorities. America does the exact same thing. How is it consistent to support the latter and decry the former?

    Thanks for clearing this up for me.
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The Confession declares what the Word teaches.

    Saul of Tarsus, who was transformed into Paul the apostle by Jesus Christ, completely changed his mind on the truth as it is in Jesus, but he never changed his mind on the moral principle that judgment should be according to truth; and when he was being judged on theological matters as they affected the civil society he submitted himself to the authority of Caesar and was willing to undergo the death penalty if he were found to deserve anything worthy of death. Please read Acts 25:6-12.

  26. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Interesting point. Surely Saul was being the martyr there not actually thinking he did anything wrong. In fact I think most would agree that was just his rhetoric.
  27. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    For example, Im anti abortion and I do "speak out" against it cause its killing babies, but if I was in a hearing and I wasnt ARDENTLY opposed to that abortion and making my voice heard than I am just as guilty. This is what it appears Calvin has done (further, he NEVER said it was wrong to kill him, only it was wrong to burn him).
  28. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Freshman

    I read that in your first post, but I was wondering if I could get some more explanation. I think you have skated around the point that I made regarding the internet. Because of the internet, we are "in a hearing" every single day. Are we all held morally responsible for not responding to everything with ardent opposition? Furthermore, does not Calvin's petition for mercy indicate at least some level of unease about the dilemma?

    Also, I asked a few other questions that have been unanswered. Would you mind answering them? It would help me understand better.

  29. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The civil magistrate does have the right to execute those who tear apart the fabric of society.
  30. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    Eeaasy. Are you still asking for advice on handling these 'issues' with unbelievers who raise the question?
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