Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

That God's law may no longer be the supreme rule of the Christian ministry in the national Church;

That pastors may no longer exercise their ministry of preaching except at hours fixed by authority, and if authority refuses it to them, they lose the right to meet with their parishioners to pray and expound the Word;

That, consequently, the civil authority assumes the right to alter the ministry of the pastors at its pleasure.

We, the undersigned pastors and ministers who have received this ministry of God and must render an account of it to Him, declare to you that we neither should nor will accept these fetters.

Accordingly, and in view of the arbitrary changes that you have wrought in the Christian ministry in the national Church, we declare to you that from this day we resign into your hands the official ecclesiastical functions that we exercise in the national Church. Until December 15 those of us who are not suspended will continue to exercise their functions. If we fix this delay, it is solely in order that the parishes may not be left uncared for and the state in difficulty.

By this resignation and the reasons that we have just given you, we protest before you and shall highly protest before the country that . . . it is your arbitrary measures which exclude us from the active service of our Church, so far as it is united with the state.

We declare that no political interest or personal view has motivated us.

At the same time we declare . . . that we stand ready to devote ourselves anew to the service of the national Church; but, for official functions, we may not do this until sufficient guarantees shall have protected us from measures similar to those by which you have assaulted the rights and liberties of our national Church and the Christian ministry of that Church.

Source: C. Archinard, Histoire de l'église du canton de Vaud depuis son origine jusqu' aux temps actuels ( Lausanne, 1862), pp. 288-291.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE.

R. Centlivres and J.-J. Fleury, De l'église d'état à l' église nationale ( 1839- 1863) ( Lausanne, 1963), pp. 1-26.

J. I. Good, History of the Swiss Reformed Church since the Reformation ( Philadelphia, 1913), pp. 473-493.

K. S. Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age ( New York, 1958- 1962), II, 212-214.

B. W. Noel, The History of the Formation of the Free Church of the Canton de Vaud, Switzerland ( London, n.d.).

E. Rambert, Alexandre Vinet ( Lausanne, 1930).

Source for this document.

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