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Persnickety Presbyterian
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Mark,

What on earth is your point?


Kyle

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To let folk know part of Calvins thought on the matter.

Why Kyle ? Whats your problem with that ?

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BrimstonePreacha,

Your apology is accepted and thank you for replying to my post. I will endeavor to explain in more detail what I wrote to you so we are not confused by misjudging one another's meaning.

I said: 'Let's make every effort to not disparage the reputation of our brothers, as we try to determine the truth as to whether or not "Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus."

Clearly, I did not only mean you, because "Let's" means 'Let us.' And 'us' would include myself and everyone reading my reply.

So, to everyone still wanting to discuss this topic, let's make every effort to not disparage the reputation of our brothers, as we try to determine the truth as to whether or not "Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus."

I used the word "brothers" to mean all my/our fellow saved Christians to the exclusion of all those who are not my/our fellow brothers in Christ. Since I don't know whether you are my brother in Christ or a tare growing among the wheat, I can't use the pronoun "our" exclusively. As soon as I discern you are my brother, that will change.

"Judge not, that you be not judged." Matthew 7:1 NKJV

My MacArthur Study Bible says the following: '7:1 Judge not. As the context reveals, this does not prohibit all types of judging (v.16). There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment (John 7:24). Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous, or other kinds of unfaif judgments are forbidden; but in order to fulfill the commandments that follow, it is necessary to discern dogs and swine (v.6) from one's own brethren (vv.3-5).'

Quite frankly, BrimstonePreacha, your own words have testified as to what is in your heart. You have indicated you don't care whether Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus.

You have said, your Arminian father has pointed this same passage out to you and quoted the same text of Scripture. Dr. MacArthur has also quoted from this same text of Scripture to make the same point in his excellent 6-part tape sermon 'The Way To Heaven.'

I discern your father and John MacArthur are my brothers and I believe Dr. MacArthur's testimony is accurate with regard to Servetus. I also believe all true believers would agree with Dr. MacArthur and myself with regard to this issue. That's the reason for my words, "Let's make every effort to not disparage the reputation of our brothers, as we try to determine the truth as to whether or not "Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus."

I sense you're not only trying to disparage Dr. MacArthur's and my reputation, but by bringing your Dad's testimony into this discussion and using "trying" and "arminian" to describe him and his testimony, you are trying to disparage his reputation as well. Are you ashamed of your father being a follower of Jacobus Arminius? If yes, then show me what 'bad fruit' Arminius or Wesley ever exhibited.

Unregenerant people can't discern the truth. This is because God is not in them. For if God were in them, He (God, the Holy Spirit) would testify to them of the truth.

In this issue, i.e. whether or not it matters to you that 'Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus,' or 'Cromwell's armies treated Irish Catholics with appalling ruthlessness', a line is drawn separating wheat from tares. If you are wheat it does matter. If you are tares then it does not matter.

I have said elsewhere there are only four categories of people. There are believers who know the truth (spiritually mature), there are believers who do not know the truth (little children), there are unbelievers who know the truth about their own spirituality (atheists) and there are unbelievers who do not know the truth about their own spirituality (all others.)

Are you claiming to be more spiritually mature (knowledgeable of the truth of God) than Dr. MacArthur? If you are, please provide the evidence, for I find evidences of this lacking in any testimony you have presented at this forum discussion.

Now, as to whether I agree with the authority of the Word of God, that sir, shows how little you have read my replies. I have been disparaged by many people at this website for clearly stating I accept ONLY Scripture as having ANY AUTHORITY.

Clearly Scripture allows for the death penalty, in fact God commands certain people be put to death - by stoning them - not by burning them. I also know Dr. MacArthur agrees with the death penalty and my opinions agree with those of Dr. MacArthur on the death penalty.

There's testimony presented here that Servetus wrote to Calvin in length to discuss Servetus' reasons for disagreeing with the official church doctrine on the trinity. There is no evidence presented that Calvin ever read what Servetus wrote. Does it matter to you IF "Calvin sanctioned the burning of Servetus" without reading what Servetus wrote? IF Calvin did not read what Servetus wrote can it be said he followed the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:1?

What is unChristian about disagreeing with the doctrine of the trinity as expressed by the Roman Catholic Church and Calvin, when NO ONE can explain the concept of the trinity to ANYONE'S satisfaction based ONLY on Scripture.

Even Dr. MacArthur has said he can't explain the trinity from Scripture, since it's a mystery, but he accepts the doctrine of the Church in faith.

As to questions you asked, but you say I haven't answered. If you will please tell me which questions you think I failed to answer and re-post them or Private Message them to me, I will do my best to answer them.

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George,
No one here is disputing Calvin's role in sanctioning the death of Servetus. We all agree that he did. The issue of disagreement is that you believe his sanctioning of Servetus's death somehow demonstrates that Calvin was not saved, un-Christlike, and thus you conclude that the theology that he taught is false. First, I do not believe it demonstrates Calvin's unsaveness if we can call it that. I believe he was a spiritfilled, spirit fruit bearing man, just like John Bunyan. And secondly, it is an illogical conclusion to draw in the first place, because what Calvin did in his personal life with regards to Servetus has no bearing upon what he taught from scripture in regards to man's sin, election, and redemption.
Why is it that you refuse to draw this distinction?

Fred


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I thought the eveidence showed

1. Calvin concurred with the death sentence on Servetus.

2. He was familiar with Servetus' teaching.

3. He did not agree with the manner of execution but sought a less painful method.

4. He did not have the authority to procure arrest and punishment by execution. This was the action of the civil not church authorities in Geneva.

On a different point you will find plenty of bad fruit in the life of Wesley in the many disparaging comments and slurs he sent out to Calvinists. I suggest you take the time to read a biography on him.

As for judging whether people are saved by their fruits one must look at the whole tenor and character of their lives, not simply condemn them for one fault. Who of us could withstand such scrutiny?

As for whether we agree with the teaching of various Christian forebears we are to compare what they taught with Scripture which is the supreme (though not the only) authority in the church.

On a most serious note you state:

Quote
What is unChristian about disagreeing with the doctrine of the trinity as expressed by the Roman Catholic Church and Calvin, when NO ONE can explain the concept of the trinity to ANYONE'S satisfaction based ONLY on Scripture.

Even Dr. MacArthur has said he can't explain the trinity from Scripture, since it's a mystery, but he accepts the doctrine of the Church in faith.
There is a great difference between explaining the Trinity in the sense of fully comprehending it; and explaining the Trinity in the sense of showing what the Biblical data is concerning the Godhead. None of us fully comprehends the Trinity. All orthodox Christians accept the Scriptural truth of this doctrine and that it is faithfully reflected in the teachings of the church. Servetus did not accept these things and was justly condemned as a heretic.

Regards,

James.

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BookMark said:
To let folk know part of Calvins thought on the matter.

Why Kyle ? Whats your problem with that ?

Perhaps Mark because it seems to be that you are aligning yourself with Mr. Unfit.


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What is unChristian about disagreeing with the doctrine of the trinity as expressed by the Roman Catholic Church and Calvin, when NO ONE can explain the concept of the trinity to ANYONE'S satisfaction based ONLY on Scripture.

What's unChristian about it is that the Trinity's existence is CLEARLY ESTABLISHED by Scripture. Whether or not we can make reasoned arguments for the Trinity APART FROM Scripture is beside the point; that God exists eternally in three Persons is biblical.

Here is what Servetus taught; judge for yourself whether it is heresy!

Quote
Servetus rejected the doctrine of original sin and the entire theory of salvation based upon it, including the doctrines of Christ's dual nature and the vicarious atonement effected by his death. He believed Jesus had one nature, at once fully human and divine, and that Jesus was not another being of the godhead separate from the Father, but God come to earth. Other human beings, touched by Christian grace, could overcome sin and themselves become progressively divine. He thought of the trinity as manifesting an "economy" of the forms of activity which God could bring into play. Christ did not always exist. Once but a shadow, he had been brought to substantial existence when God needed to exercise that form of activity. In some future time he would no longer be a distinct mode of divine expression. Servetus called the crude and popular conception of the trinity, considerably less subtle than his own, "a three headed Cerberus." (In Greek mythology Cerberus is a three-headed dog-like creature of the underworld.)

Servetus did not believe people are totally depraved, as Calvin's theology supposed. He thought all people, even non-Christians, susceptible to or capable of improvement and justification. He did not restrict the benefits of faith to a few recipients of God's parsimonious dispensation of grace, as did Calvin's doctrine of the elect. Rather, grace abounds and human beings need only the intelligence and free will, which all human beings possess, to grasp it. Nor did Servetus describe, as did Calvin, an infinite chasm between the divine and mortal worlds. He conceived the divine and material realms to be a continuum of more and less divine entities. He held that God was present in and constitutive of all creation. This feature of Servetus' theology was especially obnoxious to Calvin. At the Geneva trial he asked Servetus, "What, wretch! If one stamps the floor would one say that one stamped on your God?"

Calvin asked if the devil was part of God. Servetus laughed and replied, "Can you doubt it? This is my fundamental principle that all things are a part and portion of God and the nature of things is the substantial spirit of God."

The devil was an important factor in Servetian theology. Servetus was a dualist. He thought God and the devil were engaged in a great cosmic battle. The fate of humanity was just a small skirmish in salvation history. He charged orthodox trinitarians with creating their doctrine of the trinity, not to describe God, but to puff themselves up as central to God's concern. Because they defined God to suit their own purposes, he called them atheists.

Servetus' demonology included the notion that the devil had created the papacy as an effective countermeasure to Christ's coming to earth. Through the popes the devil had taken over the church. Infant baptism was a diabolic rite, instituted by Satan, who in ancient days had presided over pagan infant sacrifices. He calculated that the Archangel Michael would soon come to bring deliverance and the end of the world, probably in 1585. (Source: Michael Servetus.)


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Even Dr. MacArthur has said he can't explain the trinity from Scripture, since it's a mystery, but he accepts the doctrine of the Church in faith.

(Fred) I just caught this and need to respond. John has never stated this. What he has stated is that the concept of three persons in one God is mysterious to understand. Never has he claimed that it is difficult to explain the Trinity from the Bible. One only has to go to Ephesians 1:4-14 or 1 Peter 1:2 to see the Trinity is clearly affirmed in scripture and affirm by John MacArthur.

Fred


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Quote
To let folk know part of Calvins thought on the matter.

Why Kyle ? Whats your problem with that ?

I don't have a problem with it, I just don't know what it had to do with what I wrote.


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Fred

I caught that remark too and somehow I doubted it was true. Thanks for clearing it up. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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Dear sir, and I use that term loosely, let me first of all make it absolutely clear that you have annoyed and disturbed me to no end.

Also, let me make it clear that I was not apologizing for my implications, I was apologizing for your inferences taken from my post. I also apologize that you have been so poorly taught as to be unable to read what I have posted in plain English, I DON"T GIVE A FIG NEWTON ABOUT A LEGAL DECISION, I CARE ABOUT YOU INSULTING MOST EVERYTHING I BELIEVE IN, I CARE ABOUT YOU AND PERSON'S LIKE YOU MISREPRESENTING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH BY POSTING SUCH WILD LEAPS OF LOGIC AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE LACK OF INTELLIGENCE WE SEE SO PREVALENT IN THIS SOCIETY, THAT AMONGST OTHER THINGS IS WHAT I CARE ABOUT.

I sir have not disparaged Johnny Mac or your reputations, though I am greatly tempted to say some rather unkind things about you, but in kindness I hold back (for now).

If I can post what I have posted in this thread and others and not be a Christian then I have imitated one soundly enough that I deserve the largest of helpings to hellfire for forgery and perjury, but I KNOW the ONE in whom I have believed.

Furthermore, you discern that a Calvinist of note and an Arminian of which you have only read a sentence of are your brothers? But then to so liberally imply a lack of salvation upon my part? Again, your leaps of logic are astonishing.

I am less embarrassed by my dad's lack of understanding than I am by churches that allow for such a lack of understanding, one of which I even now work to encourage to the study of church history and doctrine. It is such church's that I would discern people like unto yourself come from. As has been pointed out, I needn't speak as to the reputations of Jacob Arminius and John Wesley, God will judge them on that final day, but their reputations can very easily speak as to their behalf, I suggest you study them as I see you are already on the way to learning their craft in my opinion.

Quote
You remarked:
Unregenerate people can't discern the truth. This is because God is not in them. For if God were in them, He (God, the Holy Spirit) would testify to them of the truth.
I bear this in mind when I deal with persons such as yourself.

I further reiterate that I do not have a problem with the work of John MacArthur, from what I have heard he preaches Christ and Him crucified, that I applaud. I do not however consider Johnny Mac as being authoritative, he is just as human as the rest of us.

Nevertheless, whatever your supposition, whatever your hypothetical situation, Calvin upheld the law in this matter, and there are others here arguing that he asked for mercy on the behalf of this heretic, so even amidst your bashing of John Calvin and his reputation it is clear that Calvin was obeying the Bible.

As to the explanation of the Trinity, as you have already pointed out, the regenerate will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I trust that if you need an explanation of it from Scripture you shall either ask one of those who has born good fruit upon this board or you could read one of the many sermon's linked to this site and other reputable Christian sites.

Oh, and just as a general note to anyone who reads this, the only reason I mentioned the usage of Cromwell as an example is to ask when he became a leader of the church since I've never seen him addressed as anything but a political figure in British history. If Cromwell was a protestant, that's sweet, but I won't accept him as a plausible example of anything except what I know him to be until I see evidence of him being something else.

And that is all I really have to say on this matter at this time.

-Brother Luke

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Pete, I quoted Calvin from HIS OWN pen - as is always best.

If you noticed ,the above letter in which Calvin had already comdemned Servetus in his own mind was written in 1546. Servetus was not arrested and tried until 1553- 7 years later.

Just presenting some facts concerning the question possed in this thread <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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BookMark said:
Pete, I quoted Calvin from HIS OWN pen - as is always best.

If you noticed ,the above letter in which Calvin had already comdemned Servetus in his own mind was written in 1546. Servetus was not arrested and tried until 1553- 7 years later.

Just presenting some facts concerning the question possed in this thread
Mark,

Frankly, I don't know what your point is either? Michael Servetus was a known heretic long before his public trial. In fact, he was a "wanted" man for over 10 years who changed his name, moved to various places and even denied his real identity when confronted.

Anyway.... either make a salient point or stay out of the discussion. One of the Guideline rules is that "frivolous posts" will be removed.

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Sir,

We shall see as to who is telling the truth and who isn't.

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." - Jesus Christ

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Brother Fred,

Thank you for correcting my words regarding what Dr. MacArthur said. I did not mean to imply that the doctrine of the trinity is wrong, or that Dr. MacArthur does not agree with the doctrine of the trinity. I was only trying to point out that the Godhead/trinity is a mystery to some.

If I said 'Trinity', when I should have said 'Godhead', is a mystery, then I apologize for my ignorance. I have always thought the words were synonymous.

Checking my college dictionary, 'Trinity': Theol. A threefold consubstantial personality existing in the one divine being or substance; the union in one God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three infinite persons.

'Godhead': The essential nature of God; the Diety.

Checking my Bible Dictionary, 'Trinity'- the coexistence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Godhead (divine nature or essence).

Godhead - an old English term that is a synonym for God, with an emphasis on that which makes the triune God essentially one (Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9).

Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse, NKJV
I checked my MacArthur Study Bible and Dr. MacArthur doesn't use the word 'Trinity' in his exegesis of this passage.

Colossians 2:9 "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;..." NKJV Again, Dr. MacArthur doesn't use the word 'Trinity' in his exegesis of this passage, either.

Ephesians 1:4-14 does not even use the words 'Godhead' or 'Trinity' in the NKJV, nor do I find any menion of either word used by Dr. MacArthur to exegete this passage in his study Bible.

1 Peter 1:2 - "...elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:..."

Again I find neither the word 'Godhead' nor the word 'Trinity' used here. Nor do I find the word 'Godhead' or 'Trinity' used by Dr. MacArthur in his exegesis of this passage in his study Bible.

I only provide this information to those who may not have 'The MacArthur Study Bible.' I do not claim his study Bible contains everything Dr. MacArthur teaches or believes. I have said that I believe 'The MacArthur Study Bible' is usefull and informative, but I do not call it an AUTHORITY, therefore I will not use the word 'authoritative' to describe it, to avoid any confusion.

I'm relaying information I heard Dr. MacArthur say and if I used the word 'Trinity' when I should have used the word 'Godhead' it was an HONEST mistake, since I still don't see any real difference between the two words.

Again, since we do not know exactly what was in the letter Servetus sent to Calvin, how do we know Servetus said anything contradicting Scripture? For all we know or Calvin knew, Servetus may have repented! Although I'm quite sure he (Servetus) would have used that defense at his trial in Geneva, if given the chance.

All we know for sure is Calvin decided along with the Roman Catholic Church that Servetus' teaching was 'heresy' and agreed with the Catholics to the death of Servetus.

That was the point I was trying to make. I was not condoning Servetus' teaching, because obviously I don't know what it was.

I'm simply saying that to agree to execute someone for teaching 'heresy' is unChristian based upon my understanding of the teaching of Christ in 'The Sermon on the Mount.' I've previously cited Matthew 5:38-43, but this passage applies also.

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say unto you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:21,22 NKJV

What cause did Calvin have for being angry with Servetus, if Calvin never read the letter it is alleged Servetus sent to him?

If any of you are angry with me for bringing this to your attention, be warned, I am the brother of Jesus Christ and a child of God the Father.

He who has eyes to see, let him see. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

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