Calvinist Political Liberty v French Revolution Liberty

dancingkuyperAbraham Kuyper contrasts the freedom allowed in Calvinistic structures of the State and the French tyranny of tolerance which suppressed religious freedom. I think this is very apropos as America transitions in understanding of human rights, religious freedom, and how to resolve the tension of disagreement among its citizens.

For it is true that, in Roman lands, spiritual and political despotism have been finally vanquished by the French Revolution, and that in so far we have gratefully to acknowledge that this revolution also began by promoting the cause of liberty. But whosoever learns from history that the guillotine, all over France, for years and years could not rest from the execution of those who were of a different mind; whosoever remembers how cruelly and wantonly the Roman Catholic clergy were murdered, because they refused to violate their conscience by an unholy oath; or whosoever, like myself, by a sad experience, knows the spiritual tyranny which liberalism and conservatism on the European Continent have applied, and are still applying, to those who have chosen different paths,—is forced to admit that liberty in Calvinism and liberty in the French Revolution are two quite different things. In the French Revolution a civil liberty for every Christian to agree with the unbelieving majority; in Calvinism, a liberty of conscience, which enables every man to serve God according to his own conviction and the dictates of his own heart.

Kuyper, Abraham (2009-08-08). Lectures on Calvinism (p. 101). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. Kindle Edition.

© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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