A History of the Christian Church
Part Eleven, by Denis Jenkins
compiled by Denis Jenkins
Title A History of the Christian Church
Theme Calvin Views the Actions of the Roman church.
The scripture clearly identifies when a church organisation is not led by the spirit and character of God. In fact, Christ himself gave us the most telling sign or identification of a body of believers or a church organisation that is led by the spirit of God. Christ said, "You will know that you are my disciples if you love one another". Paul Writes under inspiration in 1 Corinthians 14:1 "Make love your aim and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. Prophesying is the process of providing clarity of God's will and character under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As an individual is guided and moved by the Holy Spirit, God is able to demonstrate his character both through that person's actions and words of clear insight into the will and purpose of God. Another way of identifying a church body led by the spirit of God is that they declare Christ as their saviour and that sins can not be forgiven in any other way than through the grace of Jesus Christ.
Calvin, a good and devout observer of the Roman faith, had his eyes opened as to how far away from the truth of God the Roman church was. The peace and serenity of those he saw burning at the stake at the hand of the Roman Church, demonstrated the love that surpasses all understanding. Under normal circumstances human nature would rebel and curse at such injustice.
After discovering in scripture that the Roman Church was not upheld by the inspired word of God, Calvin resolved that he could not become a priest.
Calvin was not a person to lash out into public view. Calvin was a timid person who displayed great fervour for the truth of God's word. Calvin was still a youth who under the protection of Princess Margaret began to share the truths of the Bible with people in their own homes. Those who accepted the good news of the Gospel, passed it on to others. Soon the influence of Calvin's work passed beyond the city to smaller towns, hamlets, to both castle and cabin.
The spirit of God moved on the mind and will of Princess Margaret, who ordered that the reformation Gospel be preached in all the Paris churches. Margaret had the ambition that the reformers' faith would become the people's faith in Paris and then for all those in France. However, her decision was overthrown by papal dignitaries. This did not stop Princess Margaret from her resolve to spread the Gospel. In the palace, she fitted out a chapel. Every day at specified hours, a sermon was preached where people of all classes were invited to attend.
When the king Francis the first returned, instead of forbidding these assemblies, he ordered that two Paris churches be dedicated for the reformers' use. The city was moved by the Word Of God. Temperance, purity, order and industry took the place of idleness, drunkenness, and lawlessness. For two years, the Gospel was preached in Paris until once again the Roman Church authorities gained power. They closed the churches and once again set up the stake to punish those who had accepted the word of God.
Calvin, at this point of the Roman Church's regaining of power, was in Paris preparing himself through Bible study for his labours of preaching the Gospel. The Roman Church authorities got wind of where Calvin was staying. Soldiers were sent to arrest him. Friends warned Calvin who escaped through a window escaping to Princess Margaret's refuge. Here Calvin remained safe in the power of influential friends. When the authoritative heat passed, Calvin worked under this protection at the University of Paris. Calvin once again preached the Gospel in private homes. But soon the crowds became so large that a place outside the city had to be chosen to conceal the crowds wishing to attend the meetings. A cave outside the city in a deep gorge was chosen as the meeting place. It was in that cave that the Lord's Supper was first celebrated in France. It was from this humble church that listeners dedicated their lives to become preachers of the Gospel. Several faithful evangelists were sent out from this humble church to spread the Gospel.
Calvin returned to Paris to find all doors closed to spreading the Gospel. To do so would have meant a sure road to being burnt at the stake for his faith. So Calvin left for Germany where he knew he would receive protection for his faith and where he could advance the cause of God.
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