My latest EPIC journey took me to Switzerland (and France and Germany) where I was searching for objects relating to the Reformers and the Huguenots. Join me as I explore this beautiful country and a couple of its neighbors.
This video was made possible in part by Zondervan and the forthcoming two-volume set by Michael Horton titled “Justification.” You can learn more about it right here.
A Stephen McCaskell film.
This video is made possible, in part, by Zondervan. They want you to know about an amazing new resource that’s coming your way very soon, Michael Horton’s new two-volume work, titled simply, Justification. Stick around, I’ll tell you more about it in just a moment.
As you can imagine, a trip like this takes a lot of planning. We plan things down to the hour, sometimes down to the minute. And usually, that goes very, very well. Sometimes, it all falls apart. Yesterday, our flight landed in Germany, we had a connection there to come down to the South of France. We were met by an airline employee who said, are you ready to run? So we joined her and we ran. We ran through terminals, we ran through customs, we finally made it and they said, no, we’ve just closed the flight. Alright, no problem, we’ll get on the next one. Nope, there’s no seats on the next one. On and on it went. We thought, why don’t we just rent a car and drive? And so we spent the rest of the day on this long drive down to Southern France and now we’re ready to start our journey here.
One of the lesser known stories, at least in the English world, related to the Protestant Reformation is the story of Marie Durand, who was a Protestant imprisoned in this tower simply for being Protestant, really for having a family that were leaders within the Protestant movement. She was held prisoner in this tower for many, many years and if we go inside, I think we’ll find some exhibits there related to her life and to her times.
From 1692 to 1768, the tower became a prison for the Huguenots, and later a women’s prison for those who persisted in their Protestant faith. So that’s who was held here for many years. Here’s a list of some of the people who were held in the tower including, of course, Marie Durand. I’ve heard that there’s a piece of graffiti somewhere in this tower attributed to Marie Durand. I’m eager to find it, I’m not sure if it’s here or if it’s somewhere else. There’s all sorts of graffiti here left by people who were imprisoned in the tower.
There’s one piece of graffiti here that is especially significant. It’s the word, simply, Resist, in French, Résistez. And tradition has it, and has had it, since Marie was here that she was the one who wrote this just as a sign, as a symbol of her resistance against conversion, against denying her faith, denying her savior. They’ve got it here behind glass. What an amazing little artifact of a life well lived.
You wouldn’t know it from the darkness of St. Pierre’s Cathedral, but it’s actually a beautiful bright day outside. This is the cathedral where John Calvin preached for many years. There’s very little that remains here that’s original. I believe the pulpit exists, but it’s been reconstructed. But there is his chair set in the darkness there, by a pillar, we’ll go take a look.
John Calvin was and still is quite a polarizing figure among Christians. Whether you love or hate him, I guess there’s something you ought to respect about him, and it’s this. He knew the power of fame and celebrity and he really didn’t want to be venerated after his death, so he asked that he would be buried in an unmarked grave. I believe he was buried here in this cemetery. I’d like to look inside and see if there’s any trace at all that we can find of him.
I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s look over here maybe. E8 707. So just follow the road around. I think it’s this one over here with the little fencing surrounding it.
John Calvin, 1509 to 1564.
Well, that brings me to the end of this epic journey. I think it was a success. I went where I wanted to go. I found pretty much everything I wanted to find, but I’m not quite ready to head home yet. Aileen and I just had our 20th anniversary, we’re going to spend a few days together here in Switzerland.
Hey, get out of here.
The doctrine of justification stood at the very center of the Protestant Reformation and that’s because it stands at the very center of any systematic reflection on the meaning of salvation. It also stands at the center of our piety, of our mission, of our life together. If you want to know more about this precious doctrine, be sure to look out for Michael Horton’s new two-volume set, Justification. Not only will you learn about the biblical basis and the historical development of the doctrine, you’ll also see how knowing and protecting it remains a crucial task for Christians today. You can buy it at Zondervan.com or wherever great books are sold.