The seeking disciple said...
“Charlie, you have no proof that Arminians have ever persecuted Calvinists other than debates. Not one Arminian theologian has ever argued by word or deed for the death of Calvinists.”
To my knowledge, Archbishop Laud was a militant Arminian who persecuted his theological opponents.
Therefore, if Calvin’s persecution of Servetus discredits Reformed theology, then Laud’s persecution of Puritans discredits Arminian theology.
“Again no logical Calvinist can excuse John Calvin's actions with Servetus. Simply admitting that Calvin was wrong on this issue is the only ethical way. To argue that Calvin was a product of his environment or the time period will not excuse his actions.”
i) To begin with, seeking disciple is apparently ignorant of the distinction between an extenuating circumstance and an exculpatory circumstance. An extenuating circumstance mitigates guilt rather than absolving guilt. When we make allowance for Calvin’s social conditioning, that isn’t the same thing as “excusing” him or claiming that his actions were “justified.”
ii) And the reason we take his social conditioning into account is that unscrupulous partisans like seeking discipline are try to single out Calvin and make him an example to discredit Reformed theology in particular, even though there’s nothing theologically distinctive about Calvin’s conduct.
He begins with an ad hominem argument which he then turns into guilt-by-association smear. To attack Reformed theology on such sophistical grounds is both illogical and unprincipled.
“Should we not argue as the anabaptists did that people should be free to think, act, and live what they believe.”
i) Seeking disciple is being duplicitous. He is not an Anabaptist. Rather, he’s an Arminian. At least, I seriously doubt that he’s an Amish blogger. To my knowledge, the Amish aren’t big on computer science. So he’s not entitled to co-opt the Anabaptist position.
ii) It’s also inane to say, without further qualification, that people should be free to think, act, and live what they believe.
What about suicide bombers? What about Muslims who practice honor killings, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and—what is more—try to impose their immoral customs on the rest of us?
Up to a point, people should be free to practice their faith, but that doesn’t give them a carte blanche to do whatever their religion dictates regardless of whether the practice is moral or immoral.
“There is still no justification for the actions of Calvin or any other ‘Christians’ of that era. You can argue that the state/church was one, the time period, etc. but these still are no justification for killing others in the name of Christ.”
Another absurd overstatement. I don’t think we should execute heretics. However, there are many situations in which we are justified in killing others in the name of Christ.
Christian citizens have a right to defend themselves. Christian magistrates have a right to execute criminals and wage defensive wars. This is warranted by Christian ethics.
“This is simply against the Word of God (1 John 4:8).”
That’s a ridiculous appeal. God often rains down judgment on idolaters.
“In fact, ‘Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life ab abiding in him’ (1 John 3:15).”
Another absurd appeal. The apostle John is writing against heretics. John would hardly regard Servetus as a fellow Christian.
“We are to followe Jesus' example in Matthew 5:43-48 no matter what.”
Once again, this is irrelevant to the case of Servetus. Servetus wasn’t Calvin’s personal enemy. And he wasn’t a hostile, gov’t official. Seeking disciple is ripping this passage out of context.
I agree with him that we shouldn’t execute heretics. But his prooftexts are either irrelevant or counterproductive.
The seeking disciple needs to do more seeking, and less speaking.