How Important Was the Work of the Consistory to the Success of the Genevan Reformation by 1564?

1327 Words Jun 5th, 2013 6 Pages
Essay Question - How important was the work of the Consistory to the success of the Reformation in Geneva to 1564? –

The consistory was important to the success of reformation in Geneva as Calvin sought to change the Genevan society by working through the Consistory. However, Consistory was not the only factor explaining the success of the Reformation in Geneva to 1564, as there were other key factors such as the works of Ecclesiastical Ordinances, Institutes of Christian Religion, supports from Geneva and Calvin’s own enthusiasm that were arguably more significant to the success of Reformation.

Calvin's unique coherent belief system played an important role in not only his success in Geneva but all over Europe and this is mainly due
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If Calvin’s ‘Institutes of Christian Religion’ was an “Institute” outlining his key theories, the Consistory was the one that enforced these theories and doctrines. The Consistory was the “defining element” of the structure of the theocratic state within Calvin’s Geneva and it was made up of 12 lay elders, all the pastors, the deacons and the doctors, who would meet once a week. The duty of the Consistory was to educate people in the reformed doctrine, counsel disputes and act as a court upholding moral standards, maintaining a controlled and harsh theocracy within Geneva. The Consistory was highly effective for Calvin to gain control of Geneva and to carry out his doctrines, as the people feared the punishments. Punishments included public humiliations such as being put in the stocks, periods in prison, excommunication or even execution. By 1546, around 1/15 of the Genevan population was summoned before the Consistory, many for minor acts such as dancing and singing. It has been described as an “intrusive institution” but was important in preserving the unity of the city, establishing a way of life God intended in the eyes of Calvin, and promoting the Calvinist doctrine. Calvin, through the Consistory, extended his authority and influence over Geneva as the Consistory dealt with many moral issues such as giving short weight, charging too high fees, the price of bread,

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