Sunday, January 10, 2010


Make no mistake, Calvinism and Neo-Darwinism are two very much opposed worldviews. They are locked in mortal combat. So serious is this matter that, if it hasn’t already, Western democracy will become detached from its Christian moorings to be set adrift in the uncharted seas of relativism – i.e., if Neo-Darwinism is permitted to cut the West’s Biblical moorings.
Says one representative atheist,

'We must fight for a post-Christian secularism, that is to say atheistic, militant, and radically opposed to choosing between Western Judeo-Christianity and its Islamic adversary – neither Bible nor Koran. I persist in preferring philosophers to rabbis, priests, imams, ayatollahs, and mullahs. Rather than trust their theological hocus-pocus, I prefer to draw on alternatives to the dominant philosophical historiography: the laughers, materialists, radicals, cynics, hedonists, atheists, sensualists, voluptuaries. They know that there is only one world, and that promotion of an afterlife deprives us of the enjoyment and benefit of the only one there is. A genuinely deadly sin.'[1]

Au contraire! As a matter of fact, as a Christian I enjoy this world very much thank you! I’m also looking forward to this world’s future renewal! Therefore I would much rather listen to the Frenchman and Christian John Calvin than the Frenchman and anti-Christian Michel Onfray any day! Says Calvin,

'The Apostle Paul distinguishes believers by this mark, that their ‘conversation is in heaven,’ whence also they ‘await their Saviour’ (Philippians 3:20). And, that their courage may not fail in this race, Paul joins all creatures to them as companions. For because formless ruins are seen everywhere, he says that everything in heaven and on earth strives after renewal (Romans 8:19). For since Adam by his fall brought into confusion the perfect order of nature, the bondage to which the creatures have been subjected because of man’s sin is heavy and grievous to them. Not that they are endowed with any perception, but they naturally long for the undamaged condition whence they have fallen. Accordingly, Paul has attributed ‘groaning’ and ‘birth pangs’ (Romans 8:22) to them, that we, ‘who have received the first fruits of the Spirit’ (Romans 8:23), should be ashamed to languish in our corruption, and not at least to imitate the dead elements, which bear the punishment for the sin of another.

'To prick us more sharply, Paul calls the final coming of Christ ‘our redemption’ (cf. Romans 8:23). It is true indeed that all the parts of our resurrection have already been completed; but because Christ was once for all offered for sins (Hebrews 10:12), ‘He shall appear a second time, apart from sin... unto salvation’ (Hebrews 9:28). Whatever hardships distress us, let this ‘redemption’ sustain us until its completion.'[2]

John Calvin (1509-64) systematized the Christian Religion at the time when the Church that had become very deformed under the papacy and Roman Catholicism, was being reformed. Reformed Christianity, to which I adhere, began at the time of the great Reformation – a time of getting back to what the Bible really teaches.

Perhaps you have been inoculated against Reformed Christianity and the Christian worldview. Perhaps some portion of misinformation propagated by anti-Christians such as Michel Onfray or Richard Dawkins has so gotten stuck in your craw that it causes you to spit whenever you hear Calvin’s name mentioned! A small sample of the teeth gnashing and vitriol spewing that the name of Calvin causes in some can be found the following caricature of Calvin and some of his Biblical understandings, as painted by the Darwinist and ‘journalist’ Christopher Hitchens,

'According to the really extreme religious totalitarians, such as John Calvin, who borrowed his awful doctrine from Augustine, an infinity of punishment can be awaiting you even before you are born. Long ago it was written which souls would be chosen or ‘elected’ when the time came to divide the sheep from the goats. No appeal against this primordial sentence is possible, and no good works or profession of faith can save one who has not been fortunate enough to be picked. Calvin’s Geneva was a prototypical totalitarian state, and Calvin himself a sadist and torturer and killer, who burned Servetus (one of the great thinkers and questioners of the day) while the man was still alive. The lesser wretchedness induced in Calvin’s followers, compelled [them] to waste their lives worrying if they had been ‘elected’ or not…'[3]

Hitchens goes on to state that he has had some crazy people phone him ‘with hoarse voices condemning me to death or hell or both’ … And of ‘the eternal blackening of my name by religious frauds and liars.’[4] Crazy people are crazy whatever their worldview, but, in the interest of truth, sanity, and the un-blackening of the name of John Calvin, Francis Nigel Lee sets the record straight,

'Servetus had blasphemously described the most blessed Trinity as a three-headed dog and a monster from hell! Yet even at a time when the Catholic Inquisition was seeking to slay Servetus and every Protestant city in Europe had expelled him or condemned him, Calvin corresponded with him and sent him a copy of his Institutes. For Calvin sought to win Servetus to Christ!

'Knowing full well that Calvin favoured the punishment of exile for heretics and the death penalty for blasphemers, the wretched Servetus arrogantly made his way to Geneva planning to overthrow Calvin and de-christianize the city. Put on trial by the civil magistrates of Geneva (and not by Calvin who was neither a judge nor a citizen of that city) Servetus was found guilty of blasphemy and sedition and sentenced to death by burning. Calvin unsuccessfully tried to get Servetus to recant his errors. When Servetus would not recant, Calvin pleaded for a milder form of punishment. And later still, Calvin also pleaded with Servetus in his death cell to get right with God and accept the Divine Christ as his Lord and Master!

'Rarely in the annals of history has so much evangelical concern ever been shown to such a monstrous miscreant, as Calvin showed to Michael Servetus, enemy of Christ and Christianity and of public law and order! Even during that highly intolerant age, the gentle Calvin tenderly yet firmly presented Christ and His salvation to the very man who had sought to destroy him!'[5]
See also Doug Phillips’ article John Calvin, Founding Father in Washington Post

[1] Michel Onfray, The Atheist Manifesto – The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Melbourne University Press, 2007, (Translated from the French by Jeremy Leggatt) p. 219.
[2] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3:25:2, 1559.
[3] Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great, How religion poisons everything, Allen & Ulwin, 2007, p. 233.
[4] Ibid. p. 271.
[5] Francis Nigel Lee, John Calvin True Presbyterian, Jesus Lives Series, pp. 17-18.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Neil,
    Here are two quotes regarding Calvin and Servetus, reinforcing Prof. Francis Nigel Lee's account:

    Quote 1 by Allen Guelzo, reviewing a book on Calvin by Alister E. McGrath:
    "There is no sense in which McGrath’s Calvin could be mistaken for a Geneva Jim Jones: Calvin had little personal authority with the city council and no legal political standing or following (as a foreigner, he had no vote or voice in Genevan politics), and could rely only on the persuasiveness of his own ideas and preaching to carry his reforms forward. In making these points, McGrath clearly throws the notorious arrest and execution of Michael Servetus into the lap of Geneva’s secular leadership at a time when that leadership was hardly more sympathetic to Calvin than it was to Servetus; and he rightly stresses (as other biographers have not) that Servetus’ execution was due as much to his anarchical Anabaptism as to his disagreements with Calvin on the Trinity." (A Life of John Calvin: A Study of the Shaping of Western Culture by Alister E. McGrath, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990) Reviewed by Allen Guelzo:
    Quote 2 by Prof. Roy A. Clouser (posted on an online forum):
    "Since Calvin is often accused of ordering Servetus to be burned at the stake, I think it apropos to mention that it is one of the many lies about the Reformers that has been repeated over & over. First, it is important to note that Calvin never held a political office in Geneva. Indeed, as a foreign national and not a Swiss citizen, he was not even eligible for office. Geneva was ruled by a town Council, which hired Calvin to perform certain duties. One of these was to interview Servetus after he'd been asked to leave Geneva & refused. I have read (a translation of) the letter that Calvin wrote to the Council following the interview. In it he confirms that Servetus is a heretic, but recommends that "the sentence not be carried out". I also found the letter he wrote to the Council after it condemned Servetus to be burned. In it Calvin said that if they insisted on executing Servetus it should not be by burning "which is a cruel and inhumane method of execution". The council again ignored Calvin. BTW, I've also read accusations about how Calvin was supposed to have used state power to enforce church attendance. The fact is, however, that he opposed the political party that wanted to make the church of Geneva (in which he was a pastor) the state church. When that party was elected anyway, Calvin left Geneva for 6 years in protest and returned only after it was voted out. He regarded such a law as an intolerable intrusion of the state into matters that belonged properly to the church. There is a fine recent book on the Reformation that I've found helpful titled "The Reformation World", Edited by Andrew Pettegree, London: Routledge, 2000).
    (Above comments by Prof. Roy A. Clouser on "Thinknet" Dooyeweerdian forum)

    More info on Pettegree's book at: