What a great reminder from Calvin's letters to John Knox that we should moderate our rigor with regard to worship principles and ceremonies. 

First Letter of 1555:

"Certainly no one I think who is possessed of sound judgment, will deny that lighted tapers, and crucifixes, and other trumpery of the same description, flow from superstition.  When I lay it down for certain, that those who from free choice retain these things, are but too eager to drink from polluted dregs.  Nor do I see for what reason a church should be burdened with these frivolous and useless, not to call them by their real name, pernicious ceremonies, when a pure and simple order of worship is in our power.  But I check myself, lest I should seem to stir up a new strife, respecting a matter which, as I hear from, is happily set at rest." 

Third Letter of 1561:

"With regard to ceremonies, I trust, even should you displease many, that you will moderate your rigor. Of course it is your duty to see that the church be purged of all defilements which flow from error or superstition...But with this exception, you are well aware that certain things should be tolerated even if you don't quite approve of them

I am deeply afflicted, as you may well believe, that the nobles of your nation are split into factions, and it is not without reason that you are more distressed and tormented, because Satan is now plotting in the bosom of your church...but God is to be entreated that he may heal this evil also...For though your discord should spread no farther, already more than sufficient mischief has been done.  It will then belong to your wisdom and equity, in order that kindly affections be kept up, sedulously to disperse whatever remains there may be of estrangement. "

We all need this reminder.


  1. Amen. A good reminder. I'm also reminded that Calvin wasn't pleased with John Knox's "First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women." Knox's work did untold damage in England with Elizabeth I.

  2. Interesting, I would love to see what Calvin said about the "First Blast" Do you know the reference? Thanks

  3. http://worldwidefreeresources.com/upload/CH320_T_11.pdf, from a lecture by David Calhoun, "Reformation and Modern Church History." https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/calvin-father-of-modern-democracy/ Also seems to be the view of Reformation historians, not sure you will be able to get a quote.