Friday, May 30, 2014

Calvin and Geneva

It is funny how Calvin came to be at Geneva, he was merely passing through and was confronted by William Farel, a religious leader in the city at the time. Calvin had no intention of staying in the city for longer than a day, because he was on his way to Strasbourg.[1]  It was Farel who pretty much threatened Calvin with an appeal to the Lord that helped Calvin to decide to stay in the city.
            What was John Calvin walking into at the city of Geneva?  He was entering a city that had won its freedom from the Duchy of Savoy, and wanted to determine its own trajectory. In August of 1535 the city council voted and the city was now protestant without a mass.[2]  All of this took place just a few short months before Calvin’s arrival in Geneva. While Farel was the new religious leader it soon became apparent that he sorely lacked the needed skills to lead and required help.  One thing that Calvin was clearly against was Anabaptism, which he included a rebuttal against in the preface to his Institutes. In 1538 both Farel and Calvin would be evicted from Geneva, it would be during that time he would marry and make additions to the Institutes.
            It would take three years, but in 1541, Calvin was invited back to Geneva, however, during his absence the religious and political situation deteriorated.[3]All of these events would shape who Calvin had become, and the way he viewed things. Calvin wanted order and so did the city. So it was expected that as he brought the religious life back to order civilian life should fall in line.
             I would argue that the impact of the church on society should be much greater than it has become. We are in an age when we can reach many more people with the gospel in the matter of just a few clicks of a button/mouse. If we as a body cannot show kindness and decency to one another and the world, how can we expect them to do such? It is through Christian values we should be seeking to establish society and with those values you will gain morals, insight, wisdom, charity, decency, and etc.

            [1]Justo L.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity Vol Two: The Reformation to Present Day. (New York: Harper Collins, 2010)81.

            [2] Alister McGrath, Christianity's Dangerous Idea. (New York: Harper One, 2007)88.

            [3] Ibid., 92.

No comments:

Post a Comment