To be fair, Calvin and the Geneva Council were not the only ones of that period who believed that killing heretics was just. Many in the period thought that heresy was a poison to the people that must be dealt with severely. However, we must not simply let those who acted in such a manner off the hook too easily.
Because of the contemporary emphasis on Calvinism I thought that perhaps we should take a closer look at a man who, although he has been dead for over 400 years, still speaks to many in our day. Who was John Calvin? Where did he live? What did he teach? And would you want to live in a place where he exerted a dominating influence?
As a Calvinist I remember shaming other Christians for “stealing God’s glory” by suggesting they played any role in their salvation. I insisted they would be “boasting” to believe that they chose to come to Christ unless they first admitted that God irresistibly changed their nature to make them want to come.
For whose sins did Jesus die? Who are the elect? Is the sinner’s prayer biblical? What exactly is T.U.L.I.P.? Ever had questions like these?
Calvinists are notorious for asking the unsuspecting believer, “Why did you believe in Christ and someone else does not; are you smarter, or more praiseworthy in some way?” I asked this question more times than I can remember as a young Calvinist.