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European Reformation: The Anabaptists

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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.

Their crime?

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 ...

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European Reformation: Zwingli, Sausages, And The Reformation

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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 ...

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European Reformation: John Calvin And The Power Of Preaching

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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 ...

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The Attributes of God | Week 41: Omnipresent

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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

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European Reformation: John Calvin And Predestination

By Erwin W. Lutzer

John Calvin.

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 ...

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European Reformation: Calvin And A Heretic

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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 ...

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European Reformation: The Reformation Wall in Geneva

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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 ...

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The Attributes of God | Week 40: Omnipresent

By Erwin W. Lutzer

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

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The Attributes of God | Week 39: Omniscient

By Erwin W. Lutzer

God knows the secrets of the heart; there are no parts you can hide from Him.

"If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart."
- Psalm 44:20–21

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The Attributes of God | Week 38: Omniscient

By Erwin W. Lutzer

Does your heart condemn you with guilt, shame, or malice? Thankfully, God's understanding of us is greater than what others or even we believe about ourselves.

"By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."
- 1 John 3:19–20

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