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Trying to Understand the John Calvin/Michael Servetus Incident

I have read how some people have opposed Calvinism due to John Calvin's encounter with the Spanish heretic Michael Servetus.  For someone who struggled in between Protestant doctrine and Baptist doctrine (remember, Baptists are not Protestants), I have thought of how some Baptists are even ignorant of church history together with misinformation on the Reformation.  I'm having modernist Baptists argue that the Reformation was not of God and that Reformed Theology makes salvation complicated.  Worse, they have raised the Calvin/Servetus incident to defend their stand.  Sad to say even some brothers and sisters in Christ do not know the full story and have opposed Calvinism based on a wrong understanding of Servetus and Calvin.

As a learner of the Reformed Theology school of thought, I felt like it's important to understand the whole incident between Calvin and Servetus.  I am afraid but some Calvinist pastors have even believed the lie that Calvin did the grievous mistake of burning Servetus on the stake.  Some Roman Catholics have even dared to raise up Calvin's incident with Servetus never mind that the Inquisition had far more blood on their hands based on history as revealed by the Foxe's Book of Martyrs.  Today, the Roman Catholics are either forced to be silent about it or are told that it's just a myth after some time the late John Paul II supposedly apologized for all the atrocities during the Dark Ages.

Looking at the Calvin/Servetus incident may also be the very standing ground of Reformed Theology because many godly men adhered to Reformed theology like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, John Gill, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield in the past and as of present, I am also listening to other Calvinist preachers like John F. MacArthur, Robert Charles Sproul, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, John Piper and Ian Paisley.  Whenever a Calvinist preacher is childishly given an "award for infamy", I noticed how Calvin is always mentioned together with Servetus.  As part of defending the faith means also debunking some malicious rumors in Christendom and the Calvin/Servetus incident is one of them.

The problem behind the Internet or even the university libraries is that one must scrutinize everything read or heard of.  The same goes for the Calvin/Servetus incident which one may get contradicting sources from one book after another, even in one Christian academy to another.  I have read of some texts from some Roman Catholic sites, some Independent Baptist sites, some modernistic Baptist sites, from Arminian theology sites and the like that Calvin was a monster who burned down Servetus, he was a sadistic madman, he was a tyrant of Geneva and that he exercised full authority towards the execution.  However, later texts prove them to be false and the ashes of Servetus are flung to the faces of those who do not understand.

The reality is that Calvin was a pastor in Geneva, not a political official who held any form of authority.  He could not be the judge, prosecutor and judge three in one of Servetus was because he was not even a citizen in Geneva - if he could not vote, hold arms or hold public office (and in extension, he may even had no power to issue tickets for violation towards offenders who littered their garbage or spat anywhere) so he had no such power.  Now for a quote from Two Ages Pilgrims saying, "After the city council sentenced Servetus to death by burning, Calvin unsuccessfully pleaded with the city council to execute Servetus in a more humane manner such as beheading instead of burning.  And while Servetus waited for his execution, Calvin visited him, pleaded with him to recant to save his life, and prayed with him."

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