Taken from the article John Calvin and Servetus Controversy Explained by Jason Robertson.
- Michael Servetus taught many unorthodox heresies:
- Rejection of the Trinity
- Rejection of the Deity of Christ
Servetus was convicted by the Inquisition in France for his heresies, but he escaped before sentencing.
Servetus was also guilty of treason, which is a crime that is still punishable by death.
Calvin warned him not to come to Geneva because he would not be welcomed by the Church or the government.
Servetus ignored the warnings of Geneva and arrived basically as an attempted revolution of the State.
The Geneva City Council believed that blatant heresy was punishable by death.
Servetus was arrested and given a fair trial that lasted two months. Servetus claimed that Calvin was a heretic and should be banished from Geneva and his property given to Servetus.
Many on the City Council were Libertines who did not like Calvin, but he was called as a witness.
The City Council, including the Libertines, found Servetus guilty and sentenced him to be burned at the stake.
Calvin strongly encouraged the City Council to use a more painless execution by decapitation, but they refused Calvin's pleas.
On October 27, 1553, Servetus was burnt at Champel with the approval of all Reformers and Catholics.
John Calvin did not convict Servetus or execute him.
Servetus would have been convicted even if Calvin had not been called as a witness.
Servetus was the only heretic executed for blasphemy in Geneva under Reformed auspices.
Compared to the Roman Catholic Inquisition, the City Council of Geneva practiced enormous restraint and fairness.