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Vol 97 Issue 03

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A letter of comfort to believers*

To all those who suffer persecution for the name of Jesus, greetings. Grace, peace, and mercy from God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, who desires to comfort and strengthen you by His Holy Spirit in the midst of the trials and afflictions of this miserable world, in order that you might not faint, but instead persevere with great steadfastness of heart in the grace in which you were called, casting the anchor of your hope upon Jesus, who reigns in heaven at the right hand of the Father Almighty, who does not allow a single hair of our...

Editor’s Notes

What comes to mind when you hear (or read) of “the French Reformation”? Most, I suspect, have little knowledge of this aspect of the sixteenth-century Reformation that began in Wittenberg (Luther), and spread through many countries in Europe. The great majority of our readers come from a European context (ethnically and theologically) other than France. Many are tied to the Reformation in the Netherlands by blood lines. Theologically, we connect with Martin Luther in Germany and John Calvin in Geneva. A very small group has ties to French Huguenots (the term used to identify Reformed believers in France). Consequently, France...

Lessons from the Reformation in France

The Reformation is the work of God, not man. God reforms His church. God raises up men of understanding, courage, and strength for the purpose of using these men for church reformation, just as God raised up judges in the Old Testament. But even then, reformation begins in the heart of such men. The Spirit works a personal conviction of sin and unworthiness, a strong faith in Christ, and the assurance of salvation. The Spirit works in these men godliness and integrity. And God uses them in His time and way. No reformer sets out thinking that he is God’s...

Pierre Viret: The angel of the Reformation

Pierre Viret (1511-1571), known as “the Angel of the Reformation,” a worthy epithet for a man about whom his friend Farel wrote, “I can say that never have I found in him anything but a sincere affection for Christ and His Gospel, a character devoid of all harshness, a truly Christian soul, walking in love and seeking peace.”1 He has also been called the “forgotten Reformer,” and inasmuch as we have, it is to our loss. Viret was born in Orbe, Switzerland, a city of Vaud, the region in which he principally worked. When a young man, he was delivered...

The history of the French Reformation

Bloodshed. That one word sums up the history of the Reformation in France. In Luther’s Germany and Calvin’s Geneva, most princes and civil leaders supported the Reformation. In France, most opposed it. The French kings often tried to exterminate the movement by killing Reformed believers. At one point, Reformed believers in France also shed blood, taking up the sword to defend their cause, with many of them dying as a result. These Reformed believers in France are known as Huguenots. The story of the French Reformation is the story of Jesus Christ gathering these Huguenots into His church and defending...

The massacre on Saint Bartholomew’s Day

In the morning of August 24, 1572, the body of a Frenchman fell lifeless from the window of the Paris residence where he was staying. It was neither suicide nor accident. His name was Gaspard de Coligny, the nobleman who took charge of the Protestant cause in France. Moments before his body was dumped out the window, Coligny was killed in cold blood by assassins, triggering the brutal campaign of persecution known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. The Reformation in France struggled against vehement persecution from the beginning. John Calvin was among many Frenchman who lived as a refugee,...

Geneva’s influence on the French Reformed churches

The church in Geneva, Switzerland had a significant place in the formation and continuation of the Reformed churches in France. Geneva supported and nurtured the work of the French Reformed churches “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ” in France to the glory of the God of grace (Eph. 4:12). The Reformed in France recognized and appreciated the place God gave Geneva in their history and development.   Three Frenchmen in Geneva The influence of Geneva upon the Reformation in France and the French Reformed churches is...

The Synod of Dordt, Arminianism, and Pierre du Moulin

When the leading theologians at the Synod of Dordt are spoken of, Pierre Du Moulin’s name is not mentioned. While Du Moulin was not allowed to attend the Synod, God did use him to promote the Canons and to preserve the truth that has been passed to us. In the early 1600s, the Calvinist-Arminian controversy spread throughout Europe. The controversy was over predestination and related topics, such as free will and the extent of Christ’s atonement. The debate began in the Netherlands as a result of the teachings of Jacob Arminius. After Arminius died, his supporters summarized his views in...

Moïse Amyraut and hypothetical universalism

Moïse Amyraut (1596-1664) intended to study law, but Philippe de Mornay, who had founded the Huguenot university and seminary L’Académie de Saumur in 1593, persuaded him to study theology. Amyraut was appointed by the provincial synod of Anjou to the chair of theology in 1633, where he remained until his death in 1664. Amyraut’s life was largely uneventful, as he labored as a pastor and theological professor in the city of Saumur for some thirty years; but his theology engendered intense controversy within French Protestantism and weakened the Reformed Church in France. The controversy began with the publication in 1634...

Calvin and the Nicodemites

The Reformation penetrated France along with the rest of Europe as the writings of Luther were distributed far and wide. Many a Frenchman, as well as their families, was converted from Catholicism to the biblical, apostolic faith. The outstanding case, of course, was the conversion of the young Jean Calvinus himself in the 1520s to the “Calvinistic” faith, by which we mean, to confessing salvation by grace alone, sovereign and irresistible, and the Scriptures as the final authority in all matters of doctrine and life. The papal mass was to be condemned as an accursed idolatry and meritorious work-righteousness rejected...

11/01/2020