Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ella on Bullinger and Calvin

The following is Ella’s assessment of the relationship of Calvin vis-à-vis Bullinger (George Ella, Henry Bullinger: Shepherd of the Churches):

“It is this author’s contention that Calvin, with all his obvious abilities as a Reformer, has been placed on a pedestal which rightly belongs to Bullinger who eclipsed his French friend in almost all areas. Indeed, had it not been for Bullinger’s strong leadership over Calvin and the enormous influence Bullinger exerted on his doctrine and the fatherly and brotherly way Bullinger supported Calvin in all his battles, Calvin would never have remained in Geneva from 1541-1564 and never have been half the Reformer he was. Bullinger’s advantage over Calvin was that Zurich at that time, as Bullinger repeatedly testifies, was a City of a Hill in the spiritual sense that church and state lived in almost constant, peaceful harmony. On the other hand, the scene at Geneva was one of turbulence and strife both with each other. We never hear of Bullinger denouncing his fellow ministers, citizens and Council in the denigrating way Calvin did the ministers, Church, citizenship and Council of Geneva up to the last few years of his life. It must be also be said with equal truthfulness that the peace of Zurich was largely Bullinger’s making and the problems which arose in Geneva, which Bullinger was invariably looked upon to solve, were often because of Calvin’s lack of diplomacy and lack of control over his temper, tongue and pen.”

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