Did Calvin Murder Servetus?
"The purpose of this book is to examine the legality of the trial of a Spanish physician Michael Servetus. Servetus was burned at the stake in the protestant city of Geneva for the crime of heresy. His trial was organized and manipulated by the protestant theologian John Calvin, the father of reformed theology. Proponents of Calvinist theology have long maintained the innocence of Calvin in claiming that he had acted well within the bounds of Geneva's legal jurisdiction. It is also proposed that John Calvin's motives in seeking the death of the Spaniard were the benevolent and pious desire to defend the true faith against the errors of heresy. Almost 500 years after the martyrdom of Michael Servetus the facts have been obscured by well-meaning apologetics. Standford Rives takes on the monumental task of uncovering the historical truth underneath the centuries of misrepresentation and tailored research."--Amazon.com.
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Rives sets about re-examining the evidence garnered from a multititude of older and modern sources which have documented and analysed the conduct of both Servetus and Calvin in the times before and after the trial of Servetus. The evidence is well presented and stacked, alleging that Calvin was solely responsible for the reporting of Servetus to the Catholic inquisition in France, and when that did not secure his death (Servetus escaped from prison), Calvin then set about having the authorities in Geneva arrest and try Servetus on charges of heresy, and subsequently blasphemy, following Servetus travelling to Geneva after discovering Calvin's involvement (from personal letters exchanged between the pair that apparently ended up with the inquisitors in France). Rives puts his own legal skills to use as he lays out the evidence, blow after blow, against Calvin using material from supporters of Calvin and Servetus. A highly enjoyable read from which the reader can draw their own conclusions from Rives' prosecution of Calvin. Does the evidence stack up? You decide.
Contrary to another reviewer, Rives does NOT own or operate jesuswordsonly website and has no affiliation with it. This book is referenced on that website as a good read by the owner of that website, but that is where the connection ends.
Rives claims to be a Christian since the age of 15, but he is non-Trinitarian now. He demotes Apostle Paul to a proto-Macion, a heretic, in his website "jesuswordonly" (not Paul's). He promotes Shem-Tob's Hebrew Gospel of Matthew because it lacks the Trinitarian verse in the Great Commission. He worshipped in a Cavinist Church for 10 years, by he hates Calvin's guts. It seems self serving for Rives in this book trying to nail the title murderer on Calvin, because Calvin executed Serverus by regarding anti-Trinitarianism as blasphemy, more than heresy. He accused Calvin of not separating Church and state, when such a doctrine was just invented by the Anabaptist, and the two-realm (spiritual and secular) doctrine by Luther, not yet accepted as universal standard of justice as today. If Rives is an attorney, and he accuses Calvin for being excessive, isn't Rives himself a little excessive on Calvin, too? Mmmmm......
Two stars are given for good documentation; three stars are taken for using ad-hominem attacks in what supposed to be a logical exposition, and hiding personal agenda from the viewers, even borderline deception in the introduction of the author, and in the title of the book.