Michel Servet (Miguel Serveto) 29 Sep 1511 - 27 Oct 1553

For more photos see: Michel Servet

Are you so convinced of your beliefs in life that you would die for them? – Michel Servet was one such person who was so convinced of his beliefs that he was prepared to lay down his life for them…

Belief does determine our outlook and it affects how we live our lives. If we have had bad experiences in life our beliefs can be badly damaged, but if our beliefs are directed from the word of God – the Bible, our beliefs can be a powerful driving force in our lives. So the apostle Paul wrote in Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (or their belief).

Belief can give us a whole new outlook on life, Rom 5:1-5 Therefore being justified (accounted right) by faith (our belief), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith (belief) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Whether we like it or not, our beliefs will have consequences. A belief in the word of God gives us peace of mind, a hope for the future, ability to look past the present difficulties, an understanding that events in our lives work together for good (Rom 8:28) and that the hard times we go through change us for the better, develop patience, experience, hope and appreciation of the love of God.

Michel Servet was so convinced of his beliefs that he died for them, and is known for the celebrated controversy John Calvin had with him regarding the trinity. Calvin was not a man to cross. Like Zwingli, Luther and many other religious leaders of that time, he was bitterly cruel and was particularly known for resentment against anyone who differed from him. Calvin testified against Michel Servet resulting in him being burnt at the stake at Champel Hill, Geneva on 27 October 1553, with his books attached to his body by a chain for his beliefs contrary to the trinity (For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5), contrary to the immortality of the soul (God who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting, Amen, 1 Tim 6:16), contrary to infant baptism (He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be condemned, Mark 16:16) and contrary to Church authority (But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed, Gal 1:8. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world, 1 John 4:1)

We know that sincere believers of that time were almost naïve in believing that men like Luther, Calvin and Zwingli would be honest and consistent enough to follow and abide by the scriptures, (The Protestors p 98 Alan Eyre).

In previous articles we have written about the two witnesses of Revelation 11, who stood up against the Catholic system – one was political (the earth), the other religious (the woman). There is a third group who is distinct from these two, which are termed the remnant of her seed, Rev 12:17. Why are they distinct? They, like the Bereans of old, received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so, Acts 17:11. They are the one body of Christ having the one faith, the one hope, the one Lord, the one spirit, the one baptism and the one God and Father.

We do not know that Michel Servet held the true faith, but his stand against the dominant, self-interested religious leaders (both Catholic & Protestant) was an important one in the struggle for truth in the face of gross religious error.

We have choices to make in life which form our beliefs in how we will live our lives – we can either choose to be God centred or self centred / self-justifying. Our beliefs determine our responses and eventually determine our destiny.

But without faith (belief) it is impossible to please him: (God) for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Heb 11:6.

Statue of Michel Servet – Annemasse
Because of religious opposition in 1908, this monument was finally placed in Annemasse, France, a town located 8km east of Geneva.

The arrest of Servet in Geneva, where he did neither publish nor dogmatise, hence he was not subject to its laws, has to be considered as a barbaric act and an insult to the Right of Nations Voltaire
…I beg you, shorten please these deliberations. It is clear that Calvin for his pleasure wishes to make me rot in this prison. The lice eat me alive. My clothes are torn and I have nothing for a change, nor shirt, only a worn out vest
Servet, 1553

Erected for the first time in 1908, given to the Germans in 1942, this statue was reinstalled by public subscription and dedicated again on the 4th of September, 1960

To Michel Servet, Apostle of freedom of thought, born in Villanueva de Aragón, on the 29th September 1511, burnt in effigy by the Catholic Inquisition the 17.VI.1553 and burnt alive in Geneva on 27.X.1553 by Calvin’s Inquisition

Monument to Michel Servet – Geneva
This monument was erected on Champel Hill in Geneva to expiate the mistakes of Calvin and his contemporaries on the 350th anniversary of the death of Michel Servet.

On 27 October 1553, Michel Servet de Villeneuve d’Aragon died on the stake

Respectful and grateful sons of Calvin, our great reformer, but condemning the error of his century and firmly subscribing to the liberty of conscience according to the authentic principles of the Reformation and the Gospel, have erected this expiatory monument 27 of October, 1903

Subsequently, in 2011 a statue of Michel Servet was finally placed next to the monument at this site (a copy of the statue erected in Annemasse in 1908).