FAREL, WILLIAM (1489–1565)


French Protestant who played a decisive role in bringing the Reformation to French Switzerland

In 1509 William Farel left his home at Gap in Dauphine to study in Paris. Under the influence of evangelical scholars Jacques Lefevre (J. Faber Stapulensis) and Cornelius Hoehn, he adopted Protestant views. In 1520 Farel joined other Lefevre pupils in reform efforts at the Meaux diocese outside Paris. Although removed from the circle of Parisian Catholic orthodoxy, increasing pressure from church authorities forced him to leave France in 1523.

In 1524 Farel began reform work in Basel with J. Hussgen (Oecolampadius). Farel’s impetuous championship of the evangelical cause provoked strong opposition. Chased from Basel in 1526, he undertook preaching tours in Switzerland. In 1528 he and Hussgen were successful in the Bern Disputation—a forum which decided that city’s religion. Consequently, Bern sponsored Farel’s work in the Vaud, in Neuchatel (1530), and in Geneva (1523).

In 1534 Farel and French scholar Pierre Viret began holding regular Protestant worship services in Geneva. By 1535 a theological debate won the sympathetic populace to their side. In 1536 Farel added Calvin to his staff by threatening him with divine judgment should he resist. At this point Geneva was in a state of social and religious turmoil; thus, Farel fully supported Calvin’s new order and discipline. A series of confrontations with city magistrates led to ejection of the pastors in 1538. Unlike Calvin, Farel did not later return to Geneva but lived in Neuchatel. If he lacked the theological depth and consolidating powers of Calvin, Farel was nevertheless fervently dedicated to his evangelistic task.

Farel remained close friends with Calvin, officiating at the marriage of Calvin and Idelette de Bure (1540). Some tension developed when Farel at age sixty-nine married a young woman, a union Calvin strongly disapproved. The two were reconciled, however, before Calvin’s death in 1564.

Who’s Who In Christian History – Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. – G. Bromiley

About Jian Ming Zhong

In short, I am a five point calvinist, amillennial, post-trib rapture, paeudobaptistic (not for salvation), classical cessationism , and covenantal. I embrace Reformed Theology and subscribe to the WCF 1647. I do not break fellowship with anyone who holds to the essentials of the faith (i.e., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' Physical Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, Monotheism, and the Gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) but does not affirm Calvinist Theology in the non-essentials. I strongly believe that God's grace and mercy are so extensive that within the Christian community there is a wide range of beliefs and as long as the essentials are not violated, then anyone who holds to those essentials but differs in the non-essentials is my brother or sister in Christ. Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be Glory forever. Amen!"
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