Jarrod McKenna has written a very interesting post entitled “Orthodoxy and heretics like Calvin?” which is worth your attention, especially if you claim the Reformed tradition as your tribe. I’m just in the middle of studying for my Calvin take home final, so it was good timing that I read the article now. Jarrod dialogues with Greg Boyd on the topic of Calvin and his support for the execution of Servetus. Jarrod has some great points in the article, and eventually asks this questions:
“Why is it that the litmus test for orthodoxy for many evangelicals has been frozen in the 16th century in the thought of brilliant men who never the less had theologies that made it possible to disobey Christ’s commands to put away the sword, love our neighbour and even enemies like God has loved us (ie. not drowning, beheading or burning those who disagree with us).
How do we answer this question? Why have we made the thoughts of 16th century theologians the litmus test for those of us in the 21st century. This is something that Doug Pagitt constantly goes off on, and for good reason I think. Did theological creativity and thought end with Calvin in Geneva in the 16th century? Or at the Wartburg Castle with Luther? Surely we can learn great things from these theological giants – but why the focus on their theology being the theology that seminarians and future pastors focus on and are examined on before we can do ministry?
I’m interested in your thoughts on this, especially those of you who are currently in seminary?