|William Farel |
Fiery Debater and Evangelist
Guillaume Farel (1489-1565) was a dynamic man of action. Farel was one of the most important leaders of the French Reformation from its beginnings.
While studying under Professor Jacques Lefevre at Sorbonne University in Paris, Farel came to faith in Christ. Professor Lefevre had published a Latin translation of, and commentary on, The Epistles of St. Paul. As he taught that it is God who saves by grace alone, Farel said his eyes were opened and his heart believed.
When Luther’s Reformation writings came to France, Farel was one of the most prominent leaders in the French Reformed movement. When persecution forced him to flee from France in 1523, he became the leader of a group of evangelists who preached in French speaking Switzerland.
Everywhere he proclaimed the supremacy of the Scriptures and the need to return to a purified faith, which was based on the Bible alone.
Farel’s powerful preaching was described as full of fire and fury. The pope was antichrist. The Mass idolatry. His sermons were cannon blasts. His oratory gripped whole cities. Farel was called “The scourge of the priests.”
Several priests attempted to assassinate Farel. After one attempt on his life failed, Farel whirled around and declared to the priest who had fired the bullet: “I am not afraid of your shots!”
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many:
yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame,
by captivity, and by spoil, many days.