John Calvin Murder?

rfields's picture

I have been reading that John Calvin is a murder... Does anyone know of a realable source that I can read to find information on this? What I have found thus far is two interperation on this topic, I want to read a primary source.

ElderDad's picture

Google suggestions


In the Study of John, "samy1" suggested a Google search on "Michael Servetus." I am putting his suggestion in this post because I deleted the original post after you asked your question in this forum. Thank you for moving your question. I believe it better fits the nature of this forum.

I would suggest you might also try a Google search for "John Calvin Murderer."

Also, at near the top of the CCEL home page is a white box with a magnifying glass. This is the internal CCEL search mechanism and is very powerful for specific topics. I would suggest you search "Michael Servetus" on this site. Besides the links Tom gave, you will find a number of other places Michael Servetus is mentioned in the CCEL library.

My overall suggestion in response to your question is that you read articles on both sides of the issue. It is easy to throw out the term "Murderer" when that is not precisely what occurred. Keep in mind the history, the culture, the politics, and the theology. Americans especially are unaccustomed to the concept of a church-state. We have a great addiction to the concept of freedom of religion. As you study this problem, you should probably note that John Calvin was not on the government council that tried Michael Servetus. Most of the criticism treats him as the deciding person who punished Michael Servetus for his heresy. He did instigate the trial, and served as a witness against the accused, however.

Please also note that the critics tend to generalize John Calvin's error as murdering Michael Servetus for disagreeing with him. Many people disagreed with Calvin and were not put to death. In Michael Servetus's case, he was tried for heresy in denying the triune existence of God.

I mention these two things to demonstrate that you will need to think deeply on this question, not just take someone's opinion based on surface considerations.

Submitted as a poster,

Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.