Though the length of my posts here may lead you to believe otherwise, I’m actually stalling and holding back on some major downloads here on the Reformers - figuring you all like the light/personal stuff more than this heavy historical stuff I’m relating to how God changes the face of Christianity in one generation. To the delight of some of you I do have more of what I consider healthy-mental-diversion-stuff-for-me on topics like watches, classical guitars and Hogan’s Heroes. We are working our way through the six seasons of Hogan’s Heroes in the late evenings.
Thomas and Kaitlyn have some new posts up to share with you. Geneva was fun for me, but as you’ll read, not so much for them. Kaitlyn came up to me in the Reformation bookstore after we walked through Calvin’s church/museum and said, “Dad, this is like a candy store to you isn’t it?”
Kaitlyn is putting the main pics from our two days in Geneva on her Facebook. I’ll explain this particular picture in case you are wondering about it. Yes, I did have a cold one a couple days ago at, of all places, The Museum of the Reformation.
We were hot and thirsty but was not my intention to buy a beer. I would not have bought it if I had really thought that is what it was. However the bottle intrigued me (Kristen wanted the bottle to make salad dressing with, I wanted it on my bookshelf as a book end) and I seriously thought SURELY it would be cream soda or root beer or something – after all, the place was crawling with church ladies and Reformed Church pastors. You can imagine my surprise to open my bottle of Calvinus and pour out cold beer. (The slogan on the bottle is “IN BIRAE PREDESTINAS” which I’m guessing is Latin for ??predestined beer??)
It’s no secret that Luther and Calvin drank beer. If that is a surprise to you, this book – Drinking with Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church - will detail the historical record for you. Luther made sure his stein was full before he prepared sermons and lectures. Luther viewed reformation as both a process and a promise that was totally accomplished by God. He used to say that God reformed the church, while he, drank Wittenburg beer. Calvin wrote that when he was traveling he could not wait to taste each local towns brew.
HOWEVER, Calvin and Luther both saw drunkenness and being under the influence of anything but the Holy Spirit as evil. Luther spoke against excess (Soberness and Moderation against Gluttony and Drunkenness, I Pet. 4:7-11, May 18, 1539 Luther’s Works 51:291). Here’s a taste from that message:
We ought to give thanks to God for providing us with food and drink and then besides, liberating us from the papacy, and feeding us with food and drink. If you are tired and downhearted, take a drink; but this does not mean being a pig and doing nothing but gorging and swilling.
An interesting historical side note on the topic: Calvin sought to institute three reforms for a godly society in Geneva. The first concerned the taverns. He took issue with the evil of drunkenness and formulated a plan for the sanctification of the tavern. They were to be gathering places… clubs (abbayes) that were not-profit producing. Everyone was to say grace before and after eating and drinking. There was to be a French Bible on the premises. Swearing, slandering and dancing were forbidden. It was okay that Psalms would be sung and anyone so moved was free to address the rest of the company for their edification.
Would you be surprised to know that Calvin’s abbayes did not last long and the taverns were soon back in force? I wonder what he would have said about his name and face being on a beer bottle today. (He didn’t even want a tombstone on his grave and it remains unmarked -Tomb no. 707- honoring his wishes.)
YOU MUST MUST MUST check out the little flash video here at the intro to the Calvinus beer website. Make sure your sound is up. Very funny!
The Nazirite-like vows that Caleb and his peers at IHOP have taken reflect the higher calling God is laying on the hearts of the forerunners of this end day generation. It’ll be, in those days, as it was in the days of Noah, eating and drinking, but there will be a remnant that is fully set apart to God. Following the fasted lifestyle of the Sermon on the Mount today is preparation for that day.
Here’s another picture I thought you’d like. I share it with the disclaimer that it was taken BEFORE I found the beer and not a reflection of my jolly mood afterward. You have to admit, it’s a bit funny to have a cardboard-Calvin-cut-out right here for all these suit-wearin’ Reformed and Presbyterian Pastors to line up for a photo op!