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Was Geneva a Theocracy?

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From the first-hand accounts, Oxford's Gillian Lewis notes: "The city of Geneva possessed a significance which was symbolic and mythical. Her friends saw her as the mirror and model of piety, a haven of refuge, a roosting-place for fledglings, a stronghold to train and dispatch abroad soldiers of the Gospel and ministers of the Word." And yet, there were enemies as well, enemies who saw Geneva as "Satan's sanctuary, a source of heresy, atheism, and libertinage and a centre for the active dissemination of sedition." (1)

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1 [ Back ] Dr. Gillian Lewis, "Calvin and Geneva," in International Calvinism (Oxford Univ. Press), p. 39.
2 [ Back ] Dr. Alister McGrath, A Life of John Calvin (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1991), p. 86.
3 [ Back ] Ibid., p. 95.
4 [ Back ] Ibid., p. 96.
5 [ Back ] Ibid., p. 97.
6 [ Back ] Ibid.
7 [ Back ] Ibid., pp. 105 ff.
8 [ Back ] Ibid., p. 109.
9 [ Back ] L. Penning, Life and Times of Calvin, transl. by B.S. Berrington (London: Kegan, Trench, Trubner, 1912), p. 287.
10 [ Back ] Lewis, op. cit., p. 44.
11 [ Back ] Penning, op. cit., p. 288.
12 [ Back ] Ibid., p. 391.

Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "Christ and Culture" March/April 1992 Vol. 1 No. 2 Page number(s): 12-15

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