MODERATION IN ACTION | 2003-06-07
In mid-sixteenth the Protestant theologian John Calvin ruled the city of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1553 Calvin had a former classmate of his, Michael Servatus, burned alive. Servatus started screaming when the flames reached his face. He stopped screaming over twenty minutes later.
The burning of Michael Servatus was an act of Moderation.
In Calvin's world, the Catholic Church was his deadly enemy, the "other side" of the world of Christianity. There was Calvin on one side and the Pope on the other. But Servatus was not in the center between them.
Servatus was a Unitarian, a belief condemned by both sides.
So in a rare show of cooperation, the Catholic authorities sent Calvin evidence that Michael Servatus held beliefs that were anathema to both Catholics and Protestants.
Catholics on one side, Calvinists on the other, the Truth in the middle, right?