THE CLASH OF THE OLD AND NEW FAITHS
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What Zwingli was for the Swiss Confederation, Guillaume Farel was for the Suisse romande. Yet, while Zwingli’s influence continued to affect the Confederation long after his death, Farel fell under the shadow of another man, John Calvin, during his own lifetime. Farel is usually seen as the forerunner of Calvin, the initiator of the Reformation in Geneva, Neuchâtel, and Vaud. The “forerunner” designation certainly has its merits, but it also obscures the differences between Farel’s aggressive early ministry and mature Calvinism. Farel himself willingly embraced Calvin both as friend and as theological leader of the Reformed movement in Francophone Europe, and in so doing he adjusted his approach and theology to fit Calvin’s. The differences are also obscured because the change in leadership from Farel to Calvin did not occur suddenly with the publication of Calvin’s 1536 Institutes; it was a more subtle and gradual shift, taking place between Calvin’s arrival in Geneva in 1536 and his expulsion from the city, together with Farel, in 1538. By the latter date, the ministry of the Reformed leaders in the Suisse romande differed markedly in both message and tactics from Farel’s early missionary work between 1528 and 1536, which is best characterized as aggressive, deceptive, and often violent.
KeywordsCity Council Religious Life Religious Freedom Visitation Record French Edition
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