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How Important Were Calvin’s Ideas About Church Organisation To Success Of Genevan Reformation. (24)

915 words - 4 pages

Calvin was a theologian and key figure during the Protestant Reformation. Calvin introduced new forms of Church government to the City of Geneva. Despite his eventual dominance in Geneva in the years after 1555, Calvin faced opposition, such as that from Michael Servetus. Various factors contributed to Calvin’s success, one such factor being his ideas about Church organisation, thought there were other important reasons, such as Calvin’s theology, his leadership, and his ability to defeat his opponents, due to his intelligence.
Firstly, the emphasis which Calvin himself put upon the Ecclesiastical Ordinances (E.O.), supports the idea that Church organisation was important. The passing of ...view middle of the document...

The council reversed itself and voted that excommunication was in the right of the Consistory. This highlights the Consistory’s growing dominance, and thus Calvin’s too; the council handed over its right to excommunicate to the Consistory, giving the Consistory the greater power it desired in ecclesiastical matters.
Further institutions also aided the success of the Reformation. The Grabeau was a session in which pastors faced criticism of their ministry and conduct, from fellow pastors. The session was described as a “mutual, frank and loving criticism”. This was important because it helped to raise the standards, by encouraging people to be honest and accept criticism from others. These heightened standards would relate to the Pastors’ work of preaching, administering of Sacraments, and assisting in the exercise of discipline. If the preaching is of a higher standard, the citizens of Geneva are then more likely to be in agreement with the Sermons delivered by Pastors. Another institution was the Consistory, which helped to ensure a more certain and ordered religious movement. In 1542 there were 9 pastors on the Consistory, but by 1564 there 19, illuminating how Calvin’s relationship with the authorities had changed in his favour. The duty of the Consistory was to enforce the high standards of social and religious behaviour, for example 1/3 of the cases dealt with were sexual misconduct, and ½ were family or neighbour disputes. In 1550, the Pastors were given the power to visit each household to see if the rules of the Church were being upheld. The Consistory was a system with the ability to uphold Calvin’s strict rules, and gave a place for not just religious but moral issues to be dealt with.
However, there are also alternative reasons for...

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