Friday, 20 January 2012

Scripture and Church: Calvin, Servetus and Castellio

Last night Bruce Gordon gave a stimulating lecture at UTC entitled, "Scripture and Church: Calvin, Servetus and Castellio." The lecture hall was packed, with at least one hundred people--a mixture of students, faculty, and members of the Chattanooga community. Bruce's talk examined Calvin's, Servetus's, and Castellio's view of scripture, describing each theologian's way of interpreting the Bible.

I particularly enjoyed the time allotted for questions at the end of the lecture. As a good historian, Bruce did a wonderful job at bringing to light Calvin's strengths and weaknesses from a balanced perspective. While certainly not deifying Calvin, Bruce was quick to defend the Reformer against embellished accounts of him as a blood-thirsty monster who demanded the death of Michael Servetus.

As host of this event, I enjoyed taking Bruce to see Chattanooga's world-class aquarium and learning about what life is like as a faculty member at Yale. He mentioned his hope to produce a biography of Zwingli at some point in the future.

I look forward to the upcoming LeRoy Martin lectures from Gerald McDermott, Thomas Kidd, and Catherine Brekus in mid-February.

Jonathan Yeager

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