Calvin Versus The Anarchist Anabaptists

Today, also, those crackpots, the Anabaptists, who cause so much trouble in the world, who denounce governments, magistrates, the unity of the church, never tire of repeating this phrase, “Blessed are those who suffer persecution.” Yes, but do they suffer on account of righteousness? The answer is no: the opposite is true. We should have the word “‘righteousness’ firmly written in our hearts, and ensure that, whenever we are persecuted, our conscience testifies before God that our cause is just. For that is the mark chosen by Christ to distinguish his disciples from those who are brigands, thieves, murderers, blasphemers, and adulterers.

John Calvin | Sermons on the Beatitudes (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), 60–61.


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Posted by Chris Gordon | Monday, September 4, 2023 | Categorized Anabaptists/Radicals, Calvin Studies, HeidelQuotes, Justification | Tagged Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Gordon

Chris Gordon was ordained to the Ministry of the Word in October 2004. He is a native of Central California, and prior to answering God’s call into the ministry, he was a high school Bible teacher in the central Californian valley. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Seminary California. He previously served the Lynden United Reformed Church from 2004 to July 2012, and is presently Preaching Pastor at the Escondido United Reformed Church and is the radio host and teacher on Abounding Grace Radio.


  1. Calvin, as have others, fails to distinguish the various kinds of Anabaptists. Not all Anabaptists acted like the Anabaptists in Munster. There were evangelical Anabaptists in Strassbourg who had influence on Bucer and were respected by the reformers in that city.

    • Rich,

      You might be smoothing over the history. Calvin isn’t as dull as you make him out to be. Anabaptists led the Peasants Revolt at the end. That was major anarchic movement—at one point 24,000 strong. There were lot of other disturbances created by various Anabaptist movements, e.g., prophets wandering across Europe proclaiming the end of the world and the like.

      Münster was an outstanding episode but it wasn’t the only episode and all of them brought the Reformation into disrepute because it allowed Roman critics to say, “See, this is what the Reformation has unleashed.” As Lewis Spitz wrote, the Anabaptist movement, “sought reassurance in the most improbable proclamations of bizarre prophets or in cult-like associations that provided the company that misery seeks.”

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