Uncompassionate Theology

As some might have noticed both in their present experience and considering the character of its very founders, those of a Reformed Theology, while zealously dogmatic, are rather deficient when it comes to the attributes of empathy and compassion. I would argue that a man's character is a function of their theology. For people behave in accordance with their perception of God. But before getting into issues of theology, consider two of the pillars of Reformed Theology - Martin Luther and John Calvin - with regards to their character.
Martin Luther

Consider his lack of compassion in the following passage in his book, "The Jews and their Lies" utilized by Nazis and Christians to turn a blind eye to victims of unjustified suffering. "I shall give you my sincere advice: First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn ... Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed ... Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them ... Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb ... Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews" And he goes on and on with unbelievably anti-semetic statements. But what can be expected given his theology?

John Calvin

Now let's consider another one of their heroes, that pillar of Reformed Theology John Calvin. Surely they're not ashamed of John Calvin - that tyrant, that murderer. Concerning his reign over Geneva it is written that all spheres of life in Geneva were affected by Calvin's policies as seen in the following quote; "There is hardly a day, in the records of the settings of the Town Council, in which we do not find the remark: 'Better consult Master Calvin about this.'" (from [5] What Love is This? Dave Hunt, The Berean Call, Bend, OR; 2006, Pg 73; Citing, Zweig, Erasmus, 217.)   Many were executed for challenging or disagreeing with his "Institutes" which was tantamount to breaking the law.  He ruled with complete authority, putting citizens to death for supposedly spreading the plague, suspicion of witchcraft or crossing him.  Bitter opposition developed from Geneva's citizens toward Calvin’s despotic rule. In 1545 alone, twenty-three people were burned to death in Geneva under charges of practicing witchcraft and attempting to spread the plague. And Calvin virtually made every sin a crime, and so did not hesitate to make use of the civil power for the execution of church discipline.

As a particular example of the character of this man, consider his murder of Servetus of which I'll summarize, but of which I have more extensive factual details at http://bcbsr.com/topics/servetus.html. To quote John Calvin:

7 years before the incident:
"If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight."
Written by John Calvin in a letter to Farel Feb. 13, 1546

During the incident
Again Calvin writes Farel in a letter dated Aug 20th 1553 where he has Servetus arrested.
"We have now new business in hand with Servetus. He intended perhaps passing through this city; for it is not yet known with what design he came. But after he had been recognized, I thought that he should be detained. My friend Nicolas summoned him on a capital charge. ... I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed upon him"

After the incident:
"Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that (they allege) I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face."

Servetus was accused of heresy. John Calvin wrote, ""Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt." (Ironically Martin Luther advocated that heretics not be put to death, so technically John Calvin was advocating the murder of Martin Luther!)

John Calvin admitted his hand in exterminating Servetus, and I quote, "above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard."

Some Official Reasons for being burned alive:

Realize that Servetus did believe that Jesus was the Son of God. His last words while being burned alive: "Jesu, thou Son of the eternal God, have compassion upon me!" Yet a heartless modern day Calvinist (typical of the character of Calvinists) comments on this saying "This phrase epitomizes the essence of his Trinitarian error" for he said "Son of the eternal God" rather than "eternal Son of God" Apparently calling Jesus the Son of God is heresy to Calvinists!!! And again to quote a Calvinist concerning this event, they blame Servetus.  If ever a poor fanatic thrust himself into the fire,” says J. T. Coleridge, “it was Michael Servetus.” While they strive to hold John Calvin as the victim of circumstance. Typical! John Calvin and his cronies committed murder. And as it is written that, "no murderer has eternal life in him." (1Jn 3:15b), well, there you go.

John Calvin's character is a product of his own theology, and so also with Calvinists.

Their Lack of Comprehension

Due to their lack of empathy, those of a Reformed Theology characteristically have difficulty dealing honestly and objectively with ideas which are contrary to their theology and consequently frequently end up misrepresenting and slandering their opposition. For example in my discussions on the Theology List - a yahoogroup devoted to debating issues of Reformed Theology - I was classified as, and I quote, "completely insane" and a full Pelagian. (If anyone has read my site and knows what a Pelagian is, they know that's a mischaracterization of me). And furthermore as Reformed Theology is devoted to the interpretations of their denominational leaders - the pillars of Reformed Theology, they are not Berean. For they do not subject the interpretations of Reformed Theology to scrutiny. They don't tend to reason, but much like Catholics, simply parrot the interpretation they've been indoctrinated with. And since they don't tend to reason, they don't even both to consider the implications of their theology, though it affects their character.



The Theology of Uncompassion

The Injustice of Reformed Theology

The major hermeneutical error they've made is to not interpret the Bible in light of God's character. While the Bible indicates that God is just, they end up misreading the Bible to mean that God reckons guilt to the innocent, and that God subsequently subjects them to wrath. Take, for example, their view of original sin. They view that people are born guilty, and not of their own sin, but of Adam's sin - the sin of a man who lived thousands of years before they were born. Another example of this injustice is their view of the atonement. For they say that God reckoned Christ as a sinnner, even though Christ didn't actually sin. They falsely claim that God poured out his wrath on him on the cross. (For my view of the atonement see http://bcbsr.com/topics/atonement.html which takes into account a compassionate principle of justice of which those of a Reformed Theology turn a blind eye, namely that justice demands victims of unjustified suffering be compensated.) As reckoning guilt to the innocent and subjecting them to wrath is the very definition of injustice, so the "god" of Reformed Theology is not the God of the Bible. For the God of the Bible is just.

Jesus' Empathy

Another idea they get wrong that affects their character in the realm of compassion and empathy regards their denial of Jesus Christ coming the flesh.  It is written:

"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
Heb 2:17,18

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin." Heb 4:15 

The reason given, and the necessary condition, for Jesus having sympathy for us is that he was made like us in every way, experiencing temptation the same way we do. How do we experience temptation? We experience temptation through the flesh (Gal 5:16,17) - the sinful nature inherent in being human. In fact having a sinful nature is so tied up in being human that the word in the NIV translated "sinful nature" is the same Greek word "sarx" as is the word "flesh". To be human is to have a sinful nature. Now there were Gnostics who had such "honor" for Christ that they couldn't imagine such a sinless being coming the flesh. And so they denied that he came as a human. Likewise for those of a Reformed Theology who deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Their "Jesus" has not been made like his brothers in every way. Their "Jesus" has not been tempted in every way as we are. And consequently because their "Jesus" lacks the capacity to sympathize (as their Jesus does not fulfill the requirement of Heb 4:15), that lends itself to explain the lack of compassion, empathy and sympathy among those of a Reformed Theology. For a man's character is a reflection of his theology.

John writes, "every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God." Well, there you go.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015