7/14/2020 11:49:04 AM
Protecting The Church At All Costs
We must protect the church. The issue, as always, is the glory of Christ. John Calvin was once being forced by the secular government of Geneva to offer communion to a man of known ungodliness. He wrote, “I . . . took an oath that I had resolved rather to meet death than profane so shamefully the Holy Supper of the Lord. . . . My ministry is abandoned if I suffer the authority of the Consistory to be trampled upon, and extend the Supper of Christ to open scoffers. . . . I should rather die a hundred times than subject Christ to such foul mockery” (Calvin in his Letters, 77).
The Lord’s day of testing arrived. The Libertines were present to eat the Lord’s Supper. It was a critical moment for the Reformed faith in Geneva.
Beza (Calvin's Biographer) writes, "The sermon had been preached, the prayers had been offered, and Calvin descended from the pulpit to take his place beside the elements at the communion table. The bread and wine were duly consecrated by him, and he was now ready to distribute them to the communicants. Then on a sudden a rush was begun by the troublers in Israel in the direction of the communion table. . . . Calvin flung his arms around the sacramental vessels as if to protect them from sacrilege, while his voice rang through the building:
“These hands you may crush, these arms you may lop off, my life you may take, my blood is yours, you may shed it; but you shall never force me to give holy things to the profaned, and dishonor the table of my God.” After this, the sacred ordinance was celebrated with a profound silence, and under solemn awe in all present, as if the Deity Himself had been visible among them” (Calvin in his Letters, 78).