The Ministry of Moral Oversight

Scott M. Manetsch

in Calvin's Company of Pastors

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199938575
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980741 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

The Ministry of Moral Oversight

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Chapter 7 examines the manner in which Calvin and the pastors of Geneva attempted to promote personal sanctification and public righteousness through the work of the Consistory. A careful study of all extant records of the Consistory from 1542 to 1609 provides a unique window into the structure and purposes of reformed discipline as well as the shifting priorities of Geneva’s ministers as they interviewed sinners week to week and applied the spiritual “medicine” of church discipline in an effort to promote repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth. Quantitative analysis reveals that well over 9,000 Genevans were suspended from the Lord’s Supper during this period, most for misbehavior such as fighting and quarrelling, fornication, public scandal, blasphemy, and lying. Although Calvin’s brand of church discipline was often intrusive and almost always controversial, it served as a crucial dimension of pastoral care in reformed Geneva well into the seventeenth century.

Keywords: church discipline; Lord’s Supper; excommunication; consistory; sanctification; repentance; John Calvin; Calvinism; moral discipline; pastoral care

Chapter.  17538 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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