How Important Were Calvin's Ideas About the Church Organisation to the Success of the Genevan Reformation? (24)

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There are many factors which are important to examine in determining the main reason for the success of the Genevan Reformation, for example Calvin's ideas about the Church organisation and Calvin's leadership and personal impact, the previous exposure of Geneva to Protestantism and Calvin's ability to overcome his opponents. Calvin himself placed a strong emphasis on The Ecclesiastical Ordinances, differing from Luther who left organization to the Princes. As it was vital to him, in 1541 Calvin drafted an ecclesiastical constitution for Geneva which should be accepted in return for him taking on responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the city. With some modifications it was approved by the political authorities and set in place a Calvinist Church order. Calvin believed there must be a strict structure to preach the Word and it consisted of four orders of ministers: Pastors to teach, preach, administer the Word and publicly and privately ‘admonish’ people’s conduct, Doctors to teach true doctrines and act as teachers in schools, Deacons to care for the poor, needy and sick who were chosen by the Little Council and finally the Elders who were to ‘supervise every person’s conduct and to warn backsliders and those of a disorderly life’; 12 lay people from different parts of the city. Those who failed to comply with Calvin’s strict standards could be punished by the Calvinist court. The Consistories were independent of civil courts and secular authorities. It was hard to argue with this model as it was based on the scriptures and was widely copied. After 1555 his authority was unchallenged and the Little Council even adopted practices of the Grabeau. The Ordinances indoctrinated children in a sense; soon there was a generation who knew nothing but his teachings. However, this links to the previous exposure of Geneva to Protestantism, as Calvin offered an appealing solution in a time of religious crisis in the country. There were a small...
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