John Calvin: Scandal, Cover Up, and Bias (Or: The Old, Old Story of the Good ‘Ol Boys)

History is a mirror. If anyone is a hearer of history only, and not a learner, “he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:24). One of the lessons of history that Christianity seems doomed to repeat is the propensity of leaders showing partiality for their fellow leaders.

This is a story about John Calvin and his mentor and friend William (Guillaume) Farel. It is a story about Calvin’s sin and shortcomings. Not to bash Calvin, but to hold up a mirror for ourselves. Can we see ourselves in Calvin in this story? If not, I fear we will continue to repeat history, remaining blind to our sin the same way we pass over the sins of our heroes. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story centers on a wedding in 1558 between William Farel and Marie Thorel, and that is where we begin.

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