Hero of the Faith?
As we homeschool, part of our studies include the history of godly men and women from the past. We use all sorts of sources to gain as clear as an understanding we can regarding the lives of those who gave their all for God.
One of the series that we use on occasion for our younger children is called Heroes of the Faith. I ran across one on John Calvin. As much as I dislike this godless man I wanted to make sure my children knew of him and everything that he represented down to doctrines that are embraced by a lot of professing Christians today.
I was curious as to how accurate this Heroes of the Faith episode would be in regards to Calvin's life. As we listened the narrators made every effort to emphasize how Calvin was persecuted and at times had to hide as people sought to punish him for heresy. They played the man out as a persecuted Christian who after his own persecution had let up defended other Christians such as the Huguenots who were also being persecuted.
This documentary of Calvin failed to include all of the known history including a most important piece, how John Calvin conspired and participated in the murder of Christians. It failed to cover how Calvin manipulated the government in Geneva and used the state to carry out his desire to kill those whom he identified as heretics.
After listening to this rendition of Calvin's history I shared with my children the missing pieces of history which included in great detail the conspiracy to entrap Servetus and to have him murdered for perceived heresy.
My children asked why the Heroes of the Faith left out all of those other horrid details. I told them it is because people go to great lengths to circumvent the truth or they justify the man's actions and beliefs in justified homicide because they so desperately want to accept his doctrines. I taught my children that this is what is called "the ends justifying the means". Calvin used it and so do his followers today.
I shared with my children how God's word tells us we are to pull people from the spiritual flames of death and to not use literal flames to physically kill nonbelievers. My children understood that murdering someone eliminates all future possibilities of the murdered to repent and gain eternal life. To emphasize this I read from Jude 1:21-23: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
I also shared with my children what Jesus said in Matthew 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." I asked my children if Calvin showed mercy to Servetus. They fully agreed that Calvin showed no mercy. I told them that some people argue that Calvin showed mercy in trying to have Servetus' head chopped off instead of burning him at the stake as this would somehow be a more merciful death. My children responded that this did not make sense because the man was still being murdered.
I shared with them what Paul said about what sinners deserve versus what we should on our end. Paul said sinners were worthy of death. He never said they should be put to death. Instead Paul emphasized that evangelism and mercy are what the sinners needed from us.
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:14-15
Tonight I plan to continue the history lesson with a focus on God's word and how what Calvin did was evil and without compassion for the lost. I will share with them how it is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance and how murdering someone for unbelief is not good and that murder is not what God calls us to do. We are to save others not kill them.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4