Agonizomai: (Not a) Sermon of the Week<br>The Servetus Canard

Sunday, September 20, 2009

(Not a) Sermon of the Week
The Servetus Canard
Canard is a French word for a duck, and is often used in English to refer to a deliberately false story, originating from an abbreviated form of an old French idiom, "vendre un canard à moitié," meaning "to half-sell a duck."


If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a canard. And the old "Servetus was burned at the stake by the big, bad John Calvin" canard is alive and well, despite being only half a duck. In this excerpt from one of his Dividing Line programs, Dr. James White examines the unlearned assertions on this matter of celebrity atheist and apostate Dan Barker, made during a debate with Doug Wilson.

Until about 6 years ago I myself was sublimely unaware of the name "Miguel Servetus" (or Michael Servetus). I knew about Calvin, of course and had even read an abridged version of the "Institutes" - a lot of which sailed over my head, and some of which troubled me. Be that as it may - my ignorance on the matter of Servetus was interrupted by the emotional reaction of a fellow congregant upon learning of my Calvinism.

Now, to be a Calvinist is not to be a worshiper of Calvin (which I certainly am not) but neither does it exclude the appreciation of the power of his mind, his great exegetical skills and, yes, his courage in a difficult time. Honor to whom honor is due - though, IMHO, he got baptism and ecclesiology wrong. [/half smile]

So I looked into the matter because I wanted to satisfy myself first, and secondly to have an answer for my fellow pilgrim. I learned the facts when I found the answers amid the cloud of misinformation on the topic but, alas, my corespondent was impervious to anything but the prejudice that had infiltrated his mind.

Moving along, the damage done to Calvin's reputation and the twisted impression inculcated in the faithful by half-baked, ahistorical information and sloughed off on the public by men like Dan Barker (and a host of others) is something they will one day answer for. Not the least because of how their lame and lazy research and careless distortion of truth has had on some of the children of God. Because of such people, my fellow traveler mentioned above has been debarred from gaining anything from the considerable gifts and graces of our Lord Jesus Christ that were manifested in the world through John Calvin. Give it a listen and see for yourself...

Calvin and Servetus - Dr. James White


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