Does Calvinism Lead To Domestic Violence?

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

Few bogeyman frighten Moderns as much as Calvin apparently does. He has been frightening them since about the onset of the European, British, and American Enlightenment movements and has served as a bogeyman for longer than that. He was caricatured during his own lifetime. One of earliest was by a theological opponent, Jerome Bolsec (d. c. 1584), a former Carmelite (Romanist) monk who converted to Protestantism about 1545. He married and became a physician. 1550 finds him in Geneva, a city of refuge for many Protestants looking for safe harbor. He did not impress the Genevan authorities who, in an October 1551 letter wrote, “one of those strolling physicians, who, by habitual deception and trickery, acquire a degree of impudence which makes them prompt and ready in venturing upon anything whatever.”1 He became especially notorious in Geneva when, early 1551, at the Friday night Bible Study in St Pierre Church, he stood up—thinking Calvin to be absent—to denounce Calvin and the “doctrine of free [unconditional] election.”2 He sided with the older semi-Pelagians against Augustine (and anticipated the Arminians) by charging that the doctrine of unconditional election makes God the author of evil.3

Calvin, as it happened, did hear Bolsec’s speech and proceeded to refute him at length. The city magistrate (not Calvin) arrested Bolsec and put him on trial.4 In his defense he claimed that a number of Reformed ministers, Heinrich Bullinger, agreed with him. Thus, the Genevans asked Bern, Zürich, and others for their judgment on the matter.5The Genevans argued...


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