I originally posted this email under the "Covenant Succession" thread, because 1Saved insisted that my pastor and boss was some how giving a negative treatment to John Calvin for the death of Servetus. It looks as though the moderators, or 1Saved himself, started a new thread with this as the topic. Because he again mis-cites John from an appendix in his book "Reckless Faith" I wanted to make sure that those who stumble across this thread would read what I responded to 1Saved at the other thread.

I am not absolutely sure why John Mac is being involked in this discussion, but seeing that I personally work for the guy here at his radio ministry, I just wanted to comment upon this statement from his book.
The section is from an appendix on the changing nature of Roman Catholicism. John is establishing how, through out all of church history, there is a history of persecution. I would add, that the persecution of dissenting "heretics" was due to more of a state/church monstrosity of the time, but that is neither here nor there. Suffice it to say, John is simply establishing that even though Protestant Christians, individuals we hold up as heroes of the faith, and rightly so, had their share of doing bad things in the name of Christianity, they had nothing on the RCC. John goes on to say that the persecution carried out by Protestants "pale in comparison to the horrifying waves of tyranny and inhumanity carried out in the name of Roman Catholicism." John is only setting up an historical contrast.

Now, where I am a bit lost is with why John MacArthur mentioning John Calvin sanctioning Servetus's death is relevant. Are you saying, George, that John is implying that Calvin was not a Christian? Or that he has nothing worthy of his rightful honor as a tremendous contributor to Christianity and Christian thought? That would be a difficult point to establish seeing that Dr. MacArthur gave a series of lectures on the importance of preaching at the seminary chapel a few years ago, and he used John Calvin as his primary model and example of how we should preach.

Granted, John is not a Calvinist in the sense that Pilgrim mentioned, but Calvin is one of John's spiritual heroes and he would never tell anyone not to read Calvin just because Calvin helped establish charges in the trial and death of Servetus.

By the way, not to excuse Calvin; Servetus's death was a horrific crime, but if you know anything about Servetus and his angry, stalker like personality, especially toward Calvin, he sort of had it coming.

With that re-posted, I might ask George - 1saved - a question: What relevance does Calvin's involvement with Servetus have on how we understand predestination, election, the atonment, etc? I always find it slightly amusing that any time Calvinism is involved in a discussion, at some point the anti-Calvinist antagonist will drag out the burned corpse of Michael Servetus as to why the Five points of Calvinism are heretical and should be rejected. But what bearing does the death of Servetus have on understanding what the Bible teaches on the nature of salvation? How does Servetus's unjust death change the exegesis of Romans 9 or Ephesians 1 or 1 John 2:2 for that matter? It is illogical to suggest that Calvin's involvement with Servetus nullifies the Bible's teaching on the doctrines of grace as Calvin taught in his theology and his followers continued to teach after his death. This is similar logic employed by anti-Bush haters who think Bush's drunkedness in college 30 years ago has some connection to American military policy in Iraq today. Maybe you can answer these questions George before Joe posts you back.


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns