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Pierre Viret: The Unknown Reformer

The life and theological greatness of Pierre Viret remains unknown to the church at large. Is this also the work of God? Has He thus withheld His Reformer, perhaps awaiting the time when, in His providence, Viret’s life and thought shall be most needed for His church?

  • Rebecca A. Sheats,
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God works mysteriously, often concealing His purposes and plans from the wondering eyes of men. Even as we seek to understand and search out His ways, we find our sight limited and our knowledge incomplete. Much is veiled from our view. In like manner the visible history of Christ's church is often hidden in clouds of obscurity. For reasons known only to God, He often chooses to conceal some of His greatest treasures, awaiting their rediscovery by the church in His perfect time. Thus it has been with Pierre Viret, a forgotten giant of the sixteenth-century Reformation.

Pierre Viret was born in 1511 in Orbe, a small town in the Pays de Vaud (present-day French Switzerland), to a devout Roman Catholic family. His father Guillaume was a tailor. Of his childhood, Pierre later noted, "I was naturally given to religion, of which however I was then ignorant."1 His schoolteacher, Marc Romain, was a follower of Luther; thus Viret, while still a lad, was exposed to the teachings of the Reformation.

Viret's parents soon noticed their child possessed an aptitude for learning and sent him to Paris to study for the priesthood. While at college, Viret was converted to the Protestant faith, and fleeing the persecutions rampant in the Roman Catholic stronghold of Paris, he returned to his hometown, Orbe.

Early Ministry

Upon his return to his native village, Viret, at the age of twenty, was implored by William Farel to begin preaching in the town church. Viret, of a naturally "timid and modest disposition,"2 was quite unwilling to accept such a post. At Farel's continued prodding, however, Viret at last conceded, preaching his first sermon May 6, 1531. Crowds flocked to hear the young preacher, marveling at the eloquence and wisdom of the man they had known from childhood.

Many souls were converted under Viret's preaching, but of greatest importance to the young pastor was the conversion of his two Roman Catholic parents. As he noted later, "I have much occasion to give thanks to God in that it hath pleased him to make use of me to bring my father and mother to the knowledge of the Son of God ... Ah! If he had made my ministry of no other use, I should have had good cause to bless him."3

Throughout the next three years, Viret regularly traveled between several of the surrounding villages to further the work of the Reformation. Accompanied by Farel, he journeyed first to Grandson, a small town just north of Orbe, which was quickly won to the gospel under the Reformers' preaching. Later that year Viret preached in Payerne, a small village bordering the Catholic canton of Fribourg. It was perhaps here that the young preacher met with his deadliest opposition.

The city was strongly Roman Catholic and violently protested the preaching of the "new faith." Viret, knowing that his teaching was no more than the truth of the Word of God, begged for a public disputation in which he would be permitted to prove his case from Scripture. The Council of Payerne at last acceded to this request and a date was fixed. The night before the disputation, however, Viret, returning home, was ambushed in a solitary field by a priest from the Payerne Abbey. The would-be murderer gravely wounded the young preacher with his sword and left him for dead, thus seeking to douse the Light against which he could not dispute. Discovered by his friends, Viret, half-dead, was slowly nursed back to health and soon continued his work in another city: Geneva.

Reformation in Geneva

In 1534 Viret journeyed to Geneva to again assist Farel in his Reformation work. Geneva was at first quite hostile to the teaching of the new preachers, and another murderous attempt awaited the young men.

At the instigation of the Catholic authorities, a woman, Antonia Vax, was persuaded to eliminate both Farel and Viret by serving them a poisoned spinach soup. Farel, declaring the soup to be too thick, asked for something else to eat. Viret, however, still pale and weak from his sword wounds, was assured by Antonia that the soup would aid in the restoration of his health, and trustingly ate an entire bowl of the poisoned dish. He grew dangerously ill and lay for some time at the point of death.

Upon hearing the news, the townspeople of Geneva mourned the impending loss of their beloved Reformer, exclaiming, "Must the Church be robbed of such a pearl?... Poor Viret! Poor reformers!... Sword-cuts in the back, poison in front ... Such are the rewards of those who preach the Gospel!"4

This episode, though so detrimental to the Reformers, also brought much damage to their adversaries as many now looked with suspicion and contempt upon the perpetrators of such a base crime. The priests and monks were henceforth regarded with grave doubt and misgiving, and little more than a year later, through the indefatigable labors of Farel and Viret, the General Council of Geneva officially accepted the Reformation.5

Two months after this event, John Calvin entered Geneva, simply planning to remain for the night. Farel, accompanied by Viret, visited Calvin's lodgings at the Bear Inn and persuaded him to remain to preach in the city. It was this threesome-Farel, Viret, and Calvin-this Triumvirate, as these three Reformers were often termed, that God mightily employed to further His work of Reformation in French Switzerland.

Lausanne Disputation

Soon after Calvin accepted his post in Geneva, Viret was providentially brought to the city of Lausanne, capital of the Pays de Vaud, which had just come under the authority of Bern, a Protestant canton of Switzerland.6 Bern, desirous of winning their newly acquired city to the gospel, organized a public disputation in which the principal elements of the faith would be discussed. All Catholic clergy were required to be in attendance. The defense for the Reformed was offered primarily by Farel and Viret, who ably championed the cause of Christ. Calvin also attended the debate, speaking twice throughout its course. At the close of the week-long disputation, Lausanne declared for the Reformation, and Viret was appointed pastor of the city.

Founding of the Lausanne Academy

Though Lausanne was now officially Reformed, it was still heavily steeped in Catholicism. To rectify the ignorance rampant among the priesthood, Viret determined to begin an academy for the training and education of young men for the ministry. Under the oversight of the Bernese authorities, the Academy was founded in January of 1537 and was the first Protestant and Reformed academy of the French-speaking world.7

The Lausanne Academy boasted learned instructors from Italy, Germany, France, and Switzerland. Theodore de Beze, future successor to Calvin in Geneva, was principal of the Academy for nine years.

Many renowned men of the faith received their training at Viret's Academy, including Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, authors of the Heidelberg Catechism of 1562, and Guido de Bres, author of the Belgic Confession of 1561.8

Viret and Calvin

A year after the commencement of the Lausanne Academy, Viret met with a singular joy when the Lord provided him a godly bride. On Sunday, October 6, 1538, Viret and Elisabeth Turtaz, a lady of Orbe, were married. Farel presided over the ceremony.9

Two months following these celebrations, Viret was recalled to Geneva after Calvin had been banished from that city. Viret's loving spirit and gentle character had made him a favorite among the Genevans, and they longed to again have him as their pastor. Known as the Smile of the Reformation, Viret worked in Geneva "to rebuild the ruins, to dress the wounds, to reconcile the divers and opposing elements."10

Viret remained a year in Geneva, during which time he urged the Council upon several occasions to recall the exiled Calvin. At Viret's continued appeals, the Council sent to call their former pastor home.11 Calvin, however, was in no way eager to return to the trials and troubles that awaited him in that city, and at first rejected the proposal to return, writing Viret,

I read that passage of your letter, certainly not without a smile, where you shew so much concern about my health, and recommend Geneva on that ground. Why could you not have said at the cross? For it would have been far preferable to perish once for all than to be tormented again in that place of torture. Therefore, my dear Viret, if you wish well to me, make no mention of such a proposal.12

While refusing to return to the troubled city of Geneva, Calvin simultaneously harbored hopes of the city's reformation after learning of Viret's arrival there. Writing to Farel in February of 1541, he expressed his assurance of the salubrious effects of Viret's influence on the tumultuous population, "It was a singular joy for me to learn that the Church of Geneva is endowed with the arrival of Viret ... I now foresee that the matter is out of danger."13

Viret, however, could not be dissuaded from calling his friend back to his duty and exerted his utmost influence to convince the reluctant Calvin to return. Writing again, Viret described the transformation of the city and the people's willingness to receive the gospel,

You cannot imagine the attentiveness with which they listen to my discourses, and what a crowd of men they attract ... such tranquility reigns in the republic, it is completely transformed, and has taken on a wholly new appearance ... The Lord has offered us a most favorable moment. If you neglect it, Calvin, the Lord will certainly punish you for neglecting the Church, and not you only, but also those who restrain you.14

After many such appeals, Calvin was at last persuaded to return; Viret joyfully assisted him in his reentrance. Having finally restored his friend to his post, Viret at once desired to return to his pastorate in Lausanne, but he was persuaded to remain for several months to aid Calvin. Farel, writing to the pastors of Zurich, noted the importance of Viret's presence in the city of Geneva at this crucial time, "If Viret is recalled [to Lausanne], then surely Calvin and the Church of Geneva shall fall again into ruins!"15 Calvin also shared this opinion, as is noted by historian Michael Bruening,

Three days after his return, Calvin told Farel, "I have also kept Viret with me, whom I absolutely would not allow to be taken away from me." Now it was Calvin who sought to persuade Viret that he was needed in Geneva. He explained to Farel, "If Viret leaves me, I am completely finished; I will not be able to keep this church alive. Therefore, I hope you and others will forgive me if I move every stone to ensure that I am not deprived of him."16

A Friend Indeed

Viret's selfless assistance of Calvin was not overlooked by the elder Reformer. The friendship of these two men expanded significantly during this time and showed itself in a beautiful brotherly relationship growing and deepening throughout the course of their lives.

Viret finally returned to Lausanne in 1542. His absence had been very detrimental to the health of the church, which he found in a terrible state. Writing to Calvin upon his return, he mourned, "I came, I saw, I was dumbfounded (veni, vidi, obstupui). If only what we had heard about the state of this church were not so true."17

Despite Lausanne's manifest need for Viret, Calvin still desired to have his fellow Reformer at his side, and in July of 1544 he urged the Council of Geneva to write to the Bernese lords, requesting permission to permanently retain Viret at Geneva. Upon hearing of the letter, however, the Lausanne counselors and pastors immediately sent their own ambassadors to Bern, begging the lords to reject Geneva's request. Meeting with such a desperate appeal from Lausanne, Bern declined to grant the transfer and ordered Viret to remain in Lausanne. Upon hearing that Geneva's request was refused, Viret wrote to Geneva to express his devotion to the city, assuring them of his love, "As for me, if you so desire, you will always have me as your humble servant, no less than if I were present with you, as truly I am in spirit, though I am distant in person; I will also be joined with you in body as soon as it is the good pleasure of Him who has called us in His service."18

Though now serving in separate locations, Calvin and Viret continued their friendship through a plethora of letters. A regular correspondence passed between them upon every subject. As one historian noted,

At Calvin's return [to Geneva] Viret joined him as a colleague, and the sweetest epistolary relationship was enjoyed between the two. During nearly twenty years continual messages passed from Geneva to Lausanne. Everyday news, events involving the Church or State, household troubles, memories, plans, confidences, all are found in this friendly correspondence, which never closes without feeling and emotion, filled with testimonies of the truest affection. The two friends never laid the pen aside except to visit each other, and what a time was their every meeting! "Someone told me," wrote Calvin, "that you are inclined to come to Geneva. I have seized the hope with as much fervor as if you were already here. If such is truly your intention, come Saturday. Your arrival could not be more timely. You will preach for me Sunday morning in the city so that I can preach at Jussy, and join me after dinner. We'll take a visit to Monsieur de Falais; then, crossing the lake, we'll enjoy the pleasures of the country together at the home of our friends Pommier and Delisle, and we shan't return until Thursday ... Above all, you can count on the warmest reception."19

The Shadow of Death

In 1545 Viret's life was disturbed by another great tragedy. His wife Elisabeth fell ill, and despite Viret's desperate efforts to revive her failing health, she died in March of the following year. Writing of her death to a dear friend, Viret wrote, "The Lord has dealt me such a painful blow ... in the death of my well-beloved wife. He has taken half of myself ... I am so afflicted by this blow that I appear to myself a stranger in my own house."20

Viret's sorrow was so great that Calvin was terrified lest his friend perish under the weight of the blow. Writing his comrade, Calvin begged Viret to come to Geneva for a time: "Come to distract yourself, not only from your sorrow, but also from all your troubles. You need not fear that I will impose any work on you. I will take care that you enjoy your own pleasure in tranquility. And if anyone bothers you, I will deal with them."21

Knowing Viret's reluctance to leave his work in Lausanne, Calvin continued to press his dear friend, so much so that Viret could at last refuse no longer, and leaving his pastorate for a short time, Viret journeyed to Geneva to enjoy the company and consolation of his fellow Reformer.

The wonderful harmony and brotherly love existing between these two Reformers is truly an example for all ages. Though each man was called individually and fashioned in a particular way quite distinct from the other, God saw fit to bring these tools together, separately crafted, but each endued with the same vision: to engage in the work of the Kingdom of Christ. Writing of this holy friendship in a book dedicated to Viret and Farel, Calvin wrote,

It will at least be a testimony to this present age and perhaps to posterity of the holy bond of friendship that unites us. I think there has never been in ordinary life a circle of friends so heartily bound to each other as we have been in our ministry.22

Battles with the Magistrates

Viret, seeking to further the Reform in Lausanne, did his utmost to turn the formerly ignorant populace into a Christian people. The political structure of the times, however, added great difficulty to this task. The Council of Bern-the political head of Lausanne-reserved to itself much of the church's jurisdiction. One matter of constant concern to Viret was church discipline. This, he rightly believed, was a tool pertaining solely to the church authorities, not the civil government. The lords of Bern, on the other hand, reserved this right to themselves alone, requiring Viret and other pastors to submit all requests for discipline to the Bernese for either approval or rejection.

Throughout his pastorate at Lausanne, Viret made numerous journeys to Bern to request the magistrates to cede him the authority necessary to establish and build the church. Viret pled with the Bernese lords, assuring them that a true church must be permitted to govern its members. Bern, desirous of retaining its power, refused to relinquish such authority to the church, declaring that it was the state's prerogative to govern all.

Viret knew well that a lack of discipline would result in no church at all. Pastors, he stated, must be allowed to enforce "this discipline, by which we can distinguish between swine, dogs, and sheep, according to Christ's teaching."23 "Discipline," he noted, "can be abandoned, if the administration and use of the Word of God and the sacraments are also abandoned, for the Word and the sacraments cannot be properly administered without it."24

Despite the continued appeals, Bern refused to allow Viret to exercise church discipline or restrict the Lord's Table. They stated that all must be permitted to participate and any pastor who refused to administer communion was to be immediately discharged. The Lausanne pastors, following Peter's initiative (Acts 5:29), sent numerous letters to Bern in which they stated their obligation to follow God rather than men:

We have not been called to this charge [the ministry] to close our eyes, to keep silent, to conceal vice, and to cover the scandals of those who have been entrusted to us, but to be on guard, to be attentive, to unceasingly lift our voice with strength, when needed ... We must do this to discharge our duty in good conscience.25

The dispute finally came to a head in 1558. Writing to Calvin on August 24, Viret confided, "I have more bitter worries than anyone. I am between the anvil and the hammer, and know not where to turn ... I pray that God does not withhold His directions from me."26

As Christmas communion approached, Viret announced that he could not in good conscience administer the sacrament without first being permitted to examine and instruct those who wished to partake. Going before the Council of Lausanne, he begged a seven-day postponement of the communion service to provide the time necessary to examine the communicants. After much debate, the Council agreed to grant the pastors the stipulated time.

When news of the ruling reached Bern, however, the magistrates were outraged at this usurpation of their authority. They sent immediately to Lausanne to countermand the decision of the Council and to dismiss and expel Viret and his colleagues.

Thus ousted, Viret and his associates were ordered to pack their belongings and leave the city. A refuge was soon found in the neighboring town of Geneva, where Calvin welcomed his friend with the warmest affection.

After Viret's dismissal, Bern appointed other ministers in his stead, but those nominated to fill his place refused, preferring rather to join Viret in exile than submit to Bern's demands. Numerous professors and students of the Academy also followed the expelled ministers, vastly swelling the numbers of the exiles. Johannes Haller, a contemporary, noted that "over a thousand people migrated from Lausanne to Geneva."27 The significance of this exodus from the city of Lausanne can scarcely be overstated, for the city's population at the time was little more than five thousand.28

Of the host of distinguished refugees exiting Lausanne, many of the professors, including Valier, Berault, Merlin, Tagault, and Chevalier, found a work prepared for them upon arrival in Geneva.29 Within five months of their displacement, Calvin founded his Genevan Academy, employing as its core faculty the outcasts who fled Lausanne. Thus the Lausanne Academy of twenty-two years was relocated, becoming the world-acclaimed Genevan Academy.30

Ministry in France

Geneva's joy at receiving their former pastor again after a "loan" to Lausanne of twenty-two years was unimaginable. The city welcomed the exiled Viret with acclamation and open arms, while the Council declared that Viret would be "received as a minister here and given 400 florins a year and two casks of wine."31 Calvin even good-humoredly noted that the house provided to Viret was larger and better furnished than his own.32

Viret was immediately assigned the Church of St. Germain in which to preach, but the multitudes that pressed in to hear his sermons were so numerous that a new location had to be found to accommodate the crowds. The Council therefore determined to move Viret's preaching to the larger church of St. Pierre, which would provide ample room for the masses desirous of attending the sermons.33

Viret's time in Geneva was cut short, however, due to a serious illness. In April of 1561 he fell dangerously ill and, fearing that this sickness would soon bring him to the grave, drew up his will on April 12. Concerning this time, he later wrote, "I fell into an illness whereby my body was so debilitated and brought so low that in my judgment I could expect nothing else but to be lowered into the grave. I had never before had a sickness that had brought me so close to death, not even when I was poisoned by the art and cunning of the enemies of the Gospel."34

During the summer months Viret's health was partially restored, but as winter again approached, his doctors urged him to seek a warmer climate in southern France. He therefore left Geneva in early September.

Viret's reputation was so great that the moment he set foot on French soil, he was given immediate authority in the Reformed French churches wherever he chose to go. "Offers poured in requesting Viret to come to such places as Orleans, Avignon, Montauban and Montpellier."35 "When Viret arrived in France, churches from all over the country sought him out. The churches in Nimes and Paris even sent delegates to Geneva to ask officially for his services."36

Viret arrived in Nimes on October 6; the city received him with the greatest warmth.37 Indeed, the churches were not large enough to contain the crowds that sought to hear him; Viret was therefore compelled to preach in open fields and pastures. The multitudes responded eagerly to the Word of God, and on January 4, 1562, in a service lasting six hours, Viret administered communion to over eight thousand believers.38

Friend and foe alike were drawn to the sweetness and gentleness of Viret's preaching. As he preached one day in a field in the Vaunage, the very prior and monks themselves came to listen to the man's words. As Viret explained to his listeners the wonders of the gospel and the blessedness of the Redeemer, his words did not return void: "The success was complete. The priests, the officers,... became Protestant, and the abbey consecrated half its revenues to evangelization, and the other half to aid the poor."39

While in Nimes, Viret preached every Sunday and Wednesday to increasingly swelling crowds. He was also employed as a professor of theology at the local Academy, as well as doubling as a peacemaker in several church squabbles. His presence was sought everywhere; he presided over both provincial and national synods of the French Reformed churches in 156240 and 1563.41

As Viret's leave of absence from Geneva neared its conclusion, the Council of Nimes grew terrified of losing their pastor. In an effort to retain him, they sent a delegation to the Genevan Council, writing, "The harvest surpasses belief, and the famine is intolerable ... We need reapers ... In the name of the God you honor, we beseech and beg with our greatest affection that you leave [Viret] with us."42 Despite the desperation of the letter, the Council of Geneva did not grant the request. Indeed, they were so flooded with letters begging for Viret's presence that they at last decided to let Viret himself decide where to proceed. Requests again poured in from Montpellier, Montauban, Orleans, and even Paris. Viret at length decided upon Montpellier; he entered that city in February of 1562.

As with Nimes, Viret's efforts met with exceptional success. "Spectacular results followed with large numbers being won to the side of the Reformed Faith, including nearly the entire faculty of the famous medical college of Montpellier."43 After a short stay, Viret accepted a call to Lyon in late May, where he remained for the next three years. The City Council of Lyon, in writing to the Council of Geneva, expressed their indebtedness to Viret in November of 1562, "We derive more aid and assistance from his learned and holy teaching than from our entire army."44 "Without his presence it would be impossible for us to hold our soldiers to their duty."45

In March of 1563 Viret's ministry was severely threatened by the issuance of a royal edict forbidding all foreign-born pastors from ministering in France. Because of Viret's renowned Christian character, however, he was exempted from the edict by request of the Catholics themselves.

A Lasting Legacy

Although the work of the ministry demanded much of Viret's time, he still found opportunity to write. His scholarly production was immense; he was a prolific author, writing over fifty books. His works were bestsellers in his day and were translated into many languages including German, Italian, English, Dutch, and Latin.

Though Viret's works display great depth in their treatment of theological subjects, he nevertheless wrote in an informal, easy-to-understand style. It was often noted that in him was found a theologian who was not afraid to stoop to the ignorant, to use rusticity with the rustics, and to lisp with the children. Indeed, his style of treating deep theological truths made his books beneficial to both the newest convert and the most learned theologian.

While at Lyon, Viret completed his greatest literary work, his three-volume Christian Instruction in the Doctrine of the Law and the Gospel. Theologian Jean-Marc Berthoud writes of this theological masterpiece,

[I]f Calvin is incomparable as a dogmatic exegete and polemicist, Viret largely surpasses him as ethicist and apologist. His strength was a domain often neglected because of its complexity: the application of the Word of God to every aspect of life. His Christian Instruction in the Doctrine of the Law and the Gospel of 1564 is unquestionably the best commentary on the Ten Commandments that the Christian Church has ever known.46

After a difficult-though fruitful-life spent in service to his God, Pierre Viret died in early 1571 at the age of sixty. Like the site of his death and burial, which remains unknown to this day, the life and theological greatness of Pierre Viret remains unknown to the church at large. Is this also the work of God? Has He thus withheld His Reformer, perhaps awaiting the time when, in His providence, Viret's life and thought shall be most needed for His church?

1. As quoted in J. H. Merle D'Aubigne, D.D., History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, Vol. III (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000), 220.
2. Emile Doumergue, Lausanne au temps de la Reformation (Lausanne: Georges Bridel & Cie Éditeurs, 1902), 11. Author's translation.
3. D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe, Vol. III, 223-224.
4. Ibid., 248.
5. May 21, 1536.
6. Henri Vuilleumier, L'Église Réformée du Pays de Vaud, Tome I (Lausanne: Éditions La Concorde, 1927), 118.
7. Henri Meylan, La Haute École de Lausanne, 1537-1937 (Université de Lausanne, 1986), 9.
8. Jean-Marc Berthoud, Pierre Viret: A Forgotten Giant of the Reformation (Zurich Publishing, 2010), 19.
9. Pierrefleur, Mémoires de Pierrefleur (Lausanne: Éditions La Concorde, 1933), 137.
10. Jean Barnaud, Pierre Viret, Sa Vie et Son Oeuvre (Saint-Amans, 1911), 205. Author's translation.
11. Felix Bungener, Calvin: His Life, His Labours, and His Writings (T. & T. Clark, 1863), 162.
12. Calvin to Viret, May 19, 1540, quoted in Jules Bonnet, Letters of John Calvin, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia, 1858), 187.
13. Calvin to Farel, February 19, 1541, quoted in Jaquemot, "Viret: Réformateur de Lausanne," 30. Author's translation.
14. Viret to Calvin, February 6, 1541, quoted in Schnetzler, Vuilleumier, & Schroeder, eds., Pierre Viret D'Après Lui-Même (Lausanne: Georges Bridel & Cie Éditeurs, 1911), 45-46. Author's translation.
15. Henri Vuilleumier, Notre Pierre Viret (Lausanne: Librairie Paytot & Cie, 1911), 87. Author's translation.
16. Michael Bruening, "Pierre Viret and Geneva," Archive for Reformation History, Vol. 99 (2008), 184.
17. As quoted in Michael W. Bruening, Calvinism's First Battleground: Conflict and Reform in the Pays de Vaud, 1528-1559 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2005), 179.
18. Viret to the Council of Geneva, July 10, 1544, quoted in Schnetzler, ed., Pierre Viret, 65. Author's translation.
19. "Les Amitiés de Calvin," Bulletin de la Société de L'Histoire du Protestantisme Français (Paris, 1864), 93. Author's translation.
20. Viret to Watteville, March 8, 1546, quoted in Doumergue, Lausanne au temps de la Reformation, 46. Author's translation.
21. Calvin to Viret, quoted in Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 315. Author's translation.
22. As quoted in Berthoud, Pierre Viret: A Forgotten Giant, 48.
23. J. Cart, Pierre Viret, le Reformateur Vaudois (Lausanne, 1864), 118. Author's translation.
24. Pierre Viret, Instruction Chrétienne (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 2008), 348. Author's translation.
25. Letter of July 15, 1555, as quoted in Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 445. Author's translation.
26. Cart, Pierre Viret, 123-124. Author's translation.
27. As quoted in Bruening, Calvinism's First Battleground, 254.
28. Ibid., 10.
29. Cart, Pierre Viret, 126.
30. Meylan, La Haute École, 26.
31. Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 538. Author's translation.
32. Robert D. Linder, "Forgotten Reformer," Christian History Magazine, Issue 71 (2001), 37.
33. Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 539.
34. Viret, Instruction Chrétienne, 83. Author's translation.
35. Robert D. Linder, The Political Ideas of Pierre Viret (Geneva, 1964), 43.
36. Bruening, "Pierre Viret and Geneva," 194.
37. Cart, Pierre Viret, 133.
38. Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 565.
39. Frédéric Lichtenberger, Encyclopédie des sciences religieuses, Tome XII (Paris, 1882), 407. Author's translation.
40. Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 569.
41. Vuilleumier, Notre Pierre Viret, 244.
42. Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 567-568. Author's translation.
43. Linder, Political Ideas, 43.
44. Lyon Council to the Council of Geneva, November 18, 1562, quoted in Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 588. Author's translation.
45. Lyon Council to the Council of Geneva, November 22, 1562, quoted in Barnaud, Pierre Viret, 588. Author's translation.
46. Jean-Marc Berthoud, Des Actes de L'Eglise (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1993), 54. Author's translation.

  • Rebecca A. Sheats

Rebekah Sheats is the author of several historical works, including a biography of Pierre Viret, the Swiss Reformer, entitled Pierre Viret: The Angel of the Reformation. She is also engaged in translating Viret’s writings. Her latest work, Thou Shalt Not Kill: A Plea for Life, is a translation of Viret’s commentary on the sixth commandment.  Other translations include Letters of Comfort to the Persecuted Church, The Christian and the Magistrate: Roles, Responsibilities, and Jurisdictions, and Simple Exposition of the Christian Faith.

Rebekah is grateful for the godly home-education she received, and has designed several curricula to assist parents in the education of their children, including Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew for Children (Psalm 78 Ministries).

More by Rebecca A. Sheats