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Relics and Pagans With reference to Calvin

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John Calvin wrote an excellent treatise* against use of relics in his time, and was able to do so because of his extensive knowledge of church history. In this paper we will look at what Calvin said about the matter, showing that what began in the Roman church as ‘turning a blind eye’, eventually became a part of its structure. This is why no Christian should entertain sin in any form for any duration; once it takes hold it is hard to get rid of, growing from a small seed into full heresy. (* ‘A Treatise on Relics’; from edition published by Johnstone and Hunter, Edinburgh, 1854). Of course, Calvin was himself of Catholic background, so could see the error plainly as an insider.

Veneration of icons and relics, prayers to the saints, lighting candles to saints, prayers for the dead, are all rooted in Rome’s paganism. Unfortunately, ‘Christianity’ (or at least the shadow of the real thing) became ‘official’ in Rome over 300 years after Christ died. This was truly when Roman Catholic falsity began in earnest, proving, for one thing, that Rome is NOT the ‘mother church’.

“Hero-worship is innate to human nature, and it is founded on some of our noblest feelings, — gratitude, love, and admiration, — but which, like all other feelings, when uncontrolled by principle and reason, may easily degenerate into the wildest exaggerations, and lead to most dangerous consequences. It was by such an exaggeration of these noble feelings that [Roman] Paganism filled the Olympus with gods and demigods, — elevating to this rank men who have often deserved the gratitude of their fellow-creatures, by some signal services rendered to the community, or their admiration, by having performed some deeds which required a more than usual degree of mental and physical powers.

The same cause obtained for the Christian martyrs the gratitude and admiration of their fellow-Christians, and finally converted them into a kind of demigods. This was more particularly the case when the church began to be corrupted by her compromise with Paganism [during the fourth and fifth-centuries], which having been baptized without being converted, rapidly introduced into the Christian church, not only many of its rites and ceremonies, but even its polytheism, with this difference, that the divinities of Greece and Rome were replaced by Christian saints, many of whom received the offices of their Pagan predecessors.

The church in the beginning tolerated these abuses, as a temporary evil, but was afterwards unable to remove them; and they became so strong, particularly during the prevailing ignorance of the middle ages, that the church ended up legalizing, through her decrees, that at which she did nothing but wink at first.” (Pages 1 and 2)

“Thus St. Anthony of Padua restores, like Mercury, stolen property; St. Hubert, like Diana, is the patron of sportsmen; St. Cosmas, like Esculapius, that of physicians, etc. In fact, almost every profession and trade, as well as every place, have their especial patron saint, who, like the tutelary divinity of the Pagans, receives particular hours from his or her protégés.” (Page 2, footnote).

“There is... sufficient evidence that the fathers of the primitive church knew nothing of the innovation (of dead saints). (P4). “St Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna... addressed a letter to the Philipians, but he says nothing in it to recommend the invocation of St Paul... had the worship of the saints been at that time already introduced amongst the Christians.” (P5)

It is not my intention to copy out long portions of Calvin’s book, when Calvin has already admirably written one! Suffice to say that he proves beyond doubt that relics, prayers to dead saints, etc., are all manufactured to further the deceptions of Rome. He proves, too, the absurdity of relics claimed to be parts of saintly bodies... with the example (amongst others) of fingers supposedly from John, each claiming to be the ‘only one’ and yet found in dozens of different churches! More fingers than he actually had!

This is like churches claiming to have a splinter from the cross... a cross lost in history, or probably also used to crucify several other Roman-accused criminals or political dissenters, and yet, having bits of it somehow found in the Mediterranean countries; add them all together and they would make ten crosses! The Shroud is another example – though there is no way known to man to prove it belonged to Christ. Or, ‘milk from Mary’! Really, the claims and stories are endless, and they are all designed to support Rome and make its deceptions seem more attractive.

© July 2012

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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