On January 5, 1527, six men were forcibly drowned here in the cold water of the Limmat River in Zurich, Switzerland. The plaque you see in the foreground marks the location of the drowning, and lists the name of Felix Manz as the leader of the group.
Although baptized as infants, they re-baptized one another as adults upon profession of faith. The Zurich City Council decreed, "Whoever baptizes someone will be apprehended by our lords and drowned without mercy." Huldrych Zwingli, the great Reformer who had mentored these men, agreed with the City Council's decision. Apparently, Zwingli ...
In this cathedral in Zurich, Switzerland, Huldrych Zwingli preached the Reformation beginning January 1, 1519. He defended his views with an open Bible and ran into stiff opposition with the Catholic majority in the city. In those days, issues that we would consider trivial were hugely important.
For example, in 1522, Zwingli was attending a supper during Lent when two dried sausages were cut up, and each man ate a small piece. That sounds very innocuous to us, but back then, when word of this got out, there was a backlash; meat was not to be eaten during Lent. The ...
Standing next to Calvin’s pulpit in Geneva, Switzerland made me reminisce about the power of preaching. From here, Calvin impacted the world. But perhaps his preaching would not be well received today.
Let me explain.
My friend John Glass, a pastor in Geneva, told some of us that Calvin's sermon output was enormous. For example, he preached 43 sermons on Galatians, 46 sermons on Thessalonians, 48 sermons on Ephesians, 86 sermons on the Pastoral Epistles, 186 sermons on Corinthians, and spent five years preaching on the harmony of the Gospels until his death in 1564. In the Old Testament ...
God is present everywhere, as we learned last week. But one of the distinguishing traits of His people is that He is present in us as well!
"Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD." - Jeremiah 23:23–24
Mention his name, and the word “predestination” comes immediately to mind. In the portrait above, he is pictured as being stern, perhaps even vengeful—a man who relished preaching the judgement of God.
But that is far from the truth.
When Rebecca and I visited his church in Geneva, Switzerland recently, I was reminded that this man was actually a caring pastor who believed that predestination should be a comfort to God’s children and an encouragement to preach the Gospel.
Calvin did not invent the word “predestination;” after all, it occurs several times in the Bible. He simply ...
Rebecca and I are traveling in Switzerland and Germany, and I am lecturing on the Reformation. Each day in this blog I’ll be answering a question that might be on your mind regarding this event that changed the course of history.
Question: Why did Voltaire believe that there was a special place in hell for John Calvin? The answer is because of Calvin’s role in the burning of the heretic Servetus, who was condemned for denying the Trinity.
Catholic authorities sought his extradition to face charges of heresy in France, but Servetus escaped and came to Geneva and entered the ...
Rebecca and I are in Switzerland, and I am teaching on the Reformation. For the next several days I will be providing commentary, answering some questions that might have come to your mind as you have thought about these 16th-Century events that changed world history.
This picture is of the Reformation Wall in Geneva, which highlights four great reformers. The second from the left is Calvin, and if you could see him up close you would notice that he stands a bit taller than the others—and is set more prominently to the front.
Question: How did Calvin’s influence spread around ...
There is nowhere we can go where God is not—even if we wanted to, we cannot flee from His presence.
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." - Psalm 139:7–10