In his dying prayer

…in his dying prayer Servetus cried: “O Jesus, son of eternal God, have pity on me.” Had he only prayed: “O Jesus, eternal son of God,” his prayer would have been orthodox. His punishment was due to his misplacing a single adjective, but “heresy is often a question of grammar” (Cottret).

But clearly in the sixteenth century the sense of order for both Catholics and Protestants was horrified by something else – something quite sobering and something to which few in our day give heed anymore at all – namely, the thought of immortal souls being destroyed by false doctrine, of churches being rent asunder by heretical parties, and of God’s vengeance being poured out upon cities and nations that tolerate and endorse immorality by means of war, pestilence, and famine (see Psalm 2).

Two interesting quotes from Robert L. Reymond’s John Calvin: His Life and Influence (p 112 ft 2; p 124). The topic of Severtus is typically abused and Reymond’s  points are worth reviewing. Reymond’s point is that in our “progress” from the time of John Calvin to today we have lost our way when we find a person’s burning at the stake a more horrible thought than the eternal sufferings of Hell.


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