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John Calvin, Government, and Geneva

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

 Liberty's Pioneer



At the beginning of the sixteenth century, individual freedom, either political or religious, was virtually unknown. Geneva was a good example. Before the city council had disestablished Roman Catholicism, the Church ruled the State through the Roman Catholic bishop. Afterwards, the State ruled the Church through the council. When John Calvin arrived at Geneva in August 1536, he was confronted with this unbiblical approach to government. Calvin's goal was to establish a Church governmentally independent of the council while assuring that the council would not be independent of God's law as it pertained to its civil jurisdiction. His tool in accomplishing this difficult task was the Word of God. He preached and lectured from the Bible every day. He knew that when changes came they would come from the bottom up--from the people who desired a true Reformation without revolution. Calvin drew a clear line of distinction between the civil magistrate, whose authority was confined to civil matters, and the elders of churches, whose authority was confined to ecclesiastical matters. He established in Geneva the biblical idea of the jurisdictional separation between Church and State. Contrary to popular opinion, Calvin did not set up a system of government in which the clergy dominated the city council. He was not even a citizen of Geneva until 1559, and he appeared before the council when he was called on to offer his opinions on theological issues. He never occupied a political or civil office in Geneva.


American Vision P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127, 800-628-9460, www.americanvision.org . History Unwrapped by Gary DeMar.


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