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Calvins "atrocities"

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  • Deejay
    I am having Calvin made out to be as bad as the Pharisees who crucified Christ, by a bunch of Oneness heretics. When it was just any ole source, I could
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 15, 2006
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      I am having Calvin made out to be as bad as the Pharisees who crucified Christ, by a bunch of Oneness heretics.  When it was just any ole source, I could dismiss it as lies and propaganda,  but does anyone have any idea how to defend Calvin or even if he deserves to be, when something like this is used as the source. by Schaff: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc8.iv.xiii.x.html#fnb_iv.xiii.x-   I confess this kind of thing on Calvin I was not aware of at all, so are hopelessly inadquately equipped.  At first reading, it makes very difficult to defend more than "it was a product of the times"  which for Calvin haters will never hold any sway.  An alternative source or link to read to arm against  against this type of Calvin  hate campaign would do, if there is any defence to be had.   I confess I was somewhat shocked to read this and see their claims were or seem to have some credence. Thus far I had kept calling  them to "repent" of their lies, bias and ignorance believing that was all it was.  I've seen Servetus been used to denigrate Calvin lots of times,  but nothing like the above link, so have no idea.
       
      The fact that children were involved makes it very difficult also.

      Thanks.

      ~Deejay



    • gmw
      I would focus on his principles, and the biblical basis for them, and do your best to not let them be distracted from the real discussion. However, in
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 15, 2006
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        I would focus on his principles, and the biblical basis for them, and
        do your best to not let them be distracted from the real discussion.

        However, in reference to Calvin's Geneva and their intolerance of
        wickedness in religion...

        First, it should be noted that Calvin was not a magistrate, and did
        not act as a magistrate, and therefore did not "bear the sword"
        against anyone. Second, the magistracy in Genevea correctly sought to
        punish evil-doers, including heretics, and sought to maintain the true
        religion as much as was within their jurisdiction.

        Do not shy away from the fact that among out principles is,

        "The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of
        the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of
        heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that
        unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be
        kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed;
        all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or
        reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered,
        and observed...." (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch.23, Sec. 3).

        This quote by George Gillespie is long, and there is more of it here (
        http://www.covenanter.org/GGillespie/wholesome_severity.html ), but
        this is very helpful in understanding the Reformed position on this
        subject of civil magistracy and the punishing of religious heretics

        "The third opinion is, that the Magistrate may and ought to exercise
        his coercive power, in suppressing and punishing Heretics and
        Sectaries, less or more, according as the nature and degree of the
        error, schism, obstinacy, and danger of seducing others, doth require.
        This as it was the judgment of the orthodox Ancients, (vide Optati
        opera, edit, Albaspin. pag. 204, 215.) so it is followed by our
        soundest Protestant Writers; most largely by Beza against Bellius and
        Monfortius, in a peculiar Treatise De Hareticis à Magistratu
        puniendis. And though Gerhard, Brochmand [de magist. polit. cap. 2.
        quæst. 3. dub 2.] and other Lutheran Writers, make a controversy where
        they need not, alleging that the Calvinists (so nicknamed) hold as the
        Papists do, that all Heretics without distinction are to be put to
        death: The truth is, they themselves say as much as either Calvin or
        Beza, or any other whom they take for adversaries in this Question,
        that is, that Heretics are to be punished by mulcts, imprisonments,
        banishments, and if they be gross idolaters or blasphemers, and
        seducers of others, then to be put to death. What is it else that
        Calvin teacheth, when he distinguisheth three kinds of errors: some to
        be tolerated with a spirit of meekness, and such as ought not to
        separate betwixt brethren: others not to be tolerated, but to be
        suppressed with a certain degree of severity: a third sort so
        abominable and pestiferous, that they are to be cut off by the highest
        punishments?

        "And lest it be thought that this is but the opinion of some few, that
        the magistrate ought thus by a strong hand, and by civil punishments
        suppress Heretics and Sectaries: let it be observed what is held forth
        and professed concerning this business, by the Reformed Churches in
        their public Confessions of Faith. In the latter Confession of
        Helvitia, cap. 30. it is said that the magistrate ought to root out
        lies and all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry. And after;
        Let him suppress stubborn Heretics: In the French Confession, art. 39.
        Therefore he hath also delivered the sword into the hands of the
        Magistrates, to wit, that offences may be repressed, not only those
        which are committed against the second Table, but also against the
        first. In the Belgic Confession, art. 36. Therefore hath he armed the
        Magistrate with the sword for punishing them that do evil, and for
        defending such as do well. Moreover it is their duty not only to be
        careful and watchful for the preservation of the civil government, but
        also to defend the holy Ministry, and to abolish and overthrow all
        Idolatry, and counterfeit worship of God. Beza de haret, à magistr.
        puniend, tells us in the beginning, that the Ministers of Helvitia had
        declared themselves to be of the same judgment, in a book published of
        that Argument. And toward the end he citeth the Saxon Confession,
        Luther, Melancthon, Brentius, Bucerus, Wolfangus Capito, and
        Bullinger. The Synod of Dort, Ses. 138, in their sentence against the
        Remonstrants doth not only interdict them of all their Ecclesiastical
        and Academical functions, but also beseech the States General by the
        secular power further to suppress and restrain them.

        "The Arguments whereby this third or middle opinion is confirmed (that
        we may not build upon human authority) are these.

        "First, the law, Deut. 13.6-9, concerning the stoning and killing of
        him, who shall secretly entice people, saying, Let us go after other
        gods. If it be said, that this law did bind the Jews only, and is not
        moral nor perpetual: I answer, Jacobus Acontius, though he be of
        another opinion concerning this question than I am, yet he candidly
        and freely confesseth, that he seeth nothing in that law, which doth
        not belong to the New Testament, as well as the Old; for saith he, the
        reason and ground of the law, the use and end of it, is moral and
        perpetual, verse 11. All Israel shall hear and fear, and shall do no
        more any such wickedness, as this is among you. But yet, saith
        Acontius, this law doth not concern Heretics, who believe and teach
        errors concerning the true God or his worship; but only Apostates who
        fall away to other gods: In this I shall not much contend with him;
        only thus far, if Apostates are to be stoned and killed according to
        that law, then surely seducing Heretics are also to receive their
        measure and proportion of punishment; The moral equity of the law
        requireth thus much at least, that if we compare Heresy and Apostacy
        together, look how much less the evil of sin is in Heresy, so much and
        no more is to be remitted of the evil of punishment, especially the
        danger of contagion and seducement, being as much or rather more in
        Heresy than in Apostacy; yea, that which is called Heresy being
        oftentimes a real following after other gods. But the Law, Deut. 13,
        for punishing with death, as well whole Cities as particular persons,
        for falling away to other gods, is not the only law for punishing even
        capitally gross sins against the first Table. See Exod. 22.20, He that
        sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly
        destroyed. Exod. 31.14, Every one that defileth the Sabbath shall
        surely be put to death. Levit. 24.16, And he that blasphemeth the Name
        of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death. Deut. 17.2-5, If there
        be found among you within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God
        giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight
        of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his Covenant, and hath gone and
        served other gods and worshipped them, &c. Thou shalt bring forth that
        man or that woman unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and
        shalt stone them with stones till they die.

        "It will be asked, But how doth it appear that these or any other
        Judicial Laws of Moses do at all appertain to us, as rules to guide us
        in like cases? I shall wish him who scrupleth this, to read Piscator
        his Appendix to his Observations upon the 21-23 Chapters of Exodus,
        where he excellently disputeth this question, Whether the Christian
        Magistrate be bound to observe the Judicial laws of Moses, as well as
        the Jewish Magistrate was. He answereth by the common distinction, he
        is obliged to those things in the Judicial law which are unchangeable,
        & common to all Nations: but not to those things which are mutable, or
        proper to the Jewish Republic. But then he explaineth this
        distinction, that by things mutable, and proper to the Jews, he
        understandeth the emancipation of an Hebrew servant or handmaid in the
        seventh year, a man's marrying his brother's wife an raising up seed
        to his brother, the forgiving of debts at the Jubilee, marrying with
        one of the same Tribe, and if there be any other like to these; also
        Ceremonial trespasses, as touching a dead body, &c. But things
        immutable, and common to all Nations are the laws concerning Moral
        trespasses, Sins against the Moral law, as murder, adultery, theft,
        enticing away from God, blasphemy, striking of Parents. Now that the
        Christian Magistrate is bound to observe these Judicial laws of Moses
        which appoint the punishments of sins against the Moral law, he
        proveth by these reasons.

        "1. If it were not so, then it is free and arbitrary to the Magistrate
        to appoint what punishments himself pleaseth. But this is not
        arbitrary to him, for he is the Minister of God, Rom. 13.4. and the
        judgment is the Lord's, Deut. 1.7; 2 Chron. 19.6. And if the
        Magistrate be Keeper of both Tables, he must keep them in such manner
        as God hath delivered them to him.

        "2. Christ's words, Matt. 5.17, Think not that I am come to destroy
        the Law or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill, are
        comprehensive of the Judicial law, it being a part of the law of
        Moses; Now he could not fulfill the Judicial law, except either by his
        practice, or by teaching others still to observe it; [but it was] not
        by his own practice, for he would not condemn the Adulteress, John
        8.11, nor divide the Inheritance, Luke 12.13,14. Therefore it must be
        by his doctrine for our observing it.

        "3. If Christ in his Sermon, Matt. 5, would teach that the Moral law
        belongeth to us Christians, insomuch as he vindicateth it from the
        false glosses of the Scribes & Pharisees; then he meant to hold forth
        the Judicial law concerning Moral trespasses as belonging to us also:
        for he vindicateth and interpreteth the Judicial law, as well as the
        Moral, Matt. 5.38, An eye for an eye, &c.

        "4. If God would have the Moral law transmitted from the Jewish people
        to the Christian people; then he would also have the Judicial law
        transmitted from the Jewish Magistrate to the Christian Magistrate:
        There being the same reason of immutability in the punishments, which
        is in the offences; Idolatry and Adultery displeaseth God now as much
        as then; and Theft displeaseth God now no more than before.

        "5. Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our
        learning, Rom. 15.4, and what shall the Christian Magistrate learn
        from those Judicial laws, but the will of God to be his rule in like
        cases? The Ceremonial law was written for our learning, that we might
        know the fulfilling of all those Types, but the Judicial law was not
        Typical.

        "6. Do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31; Matt. 5.16. How shall
        Christian Magistrates glorify God more than by observing God's own
        laws, as most just, and such as they cannot make better?

        "7. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14.23. Now when the
        Christian Magistrate punisheth sins against the Moral law, if he do
        this in faith and in assurance of pleasing God, he must have his
        assurance from the Word of God, for faith can build upon no other
        foundation: it is the Word which must assure the Conscience, God has
        commanded such a thing, therefore it is my duty to do it, God hath not
        forbidden such a thing, therefore I am free to do it. But the will of
        God concerning Civil justice and punishments is no where so fully and
        clearly revealed as in the Judicial law of Moses. This therefore must
        be the surest prop and stay to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate.

        "These are not my reasons (if it be not a word or two added by way of
        explaining and strengthening) but the substance of Piscator's reasons:
        Unto which I add, (1.) Though we have clear and full scriptures in the
        New Testament for abolishing the Ceremonial law, yet we nowhere read
        in all the new Testament of the abolishing of the Judicial law, so far
        as it did concern the punishing of sins against the Moral law, of
        which Heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God
        did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such
        punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not
        bound to inflict such punishments for such sins, is bound to prove
        that those former laws of God are abolished, and to shew some
        scripture for it. (2.) That Judicial law for having two or three
        witnesses in judgment, Deut. 19.15; Heb. 10.28, is transferred even
        with an obligation to us Christians, and it concerneth all judgments,
        as well Ecclesiastical as Civil, Matt. 18.16; 2 Cor. 13.1, and some
        other particulars might be instanced in which are pressed and enforced
        from the Judicial law, by some who yet mind not the obligation of it.
        To conclude therefore this point, though other judicial or forensical
        laws concerning the punishments of sins against the Moral law, may,
        yea, must be allowed of in Christian Republics and Kingdoms; Provided
        always, they be not contrary or contradictory to God's own Judicial
        laws: yet I fear not to hold with Junius, de Politia Mosis cap. 6,
        that he who was punishable by death under that Judicial law, is
        punishable by death still; and he who was not punished by death then,
        is not to be punished by death now; And so much for the first argument
        from the Law of God.

        "A second argument we have from divers laudable examples in the Old
        Testament; Moses drew the sword against Idolaters, Exod. 32.27; the
        children of Israel resolved to go out to war against the Reubenites
        and Gadites, when they understood that they were building another
        Altar, Josh. 22.12; Elijah commanded to slay the Priests of Baal, 1
        Kings 18.40; In Asa's time there was a Covenant for putting to death
        such as would not seek the Lord God of their Fathers, 2 Chron. 15.13;
        Jehu slew the Priests of Ahab, and the worshippers of Baal, 2 Kings
        10.11,24. First, searching and making sure that there were none of the
        servants of the Lord among them, verse 23. Josiah sacrificed the
        Priests of Samaria upon their own altars, 2 Kings 23.20;
        Nebuchadnezzar, though an Heathen, being convinced that there was no
        god like the God of Israel, made a Decree, that whosoever speaketh
        blasphemy, or uttereth any error against God, shall be cut in pieces,
        and their houses made a dunghill, Dan. 3.29. As for those whose errors
        and corruptions in religion were not so great, there was some (though
        not the highest) severity used against them: Moses was so angry with
        the people that were seduced into Idolatry, that he burnt the Calf
        which they had worshipped, and ground it to powder, and strewed it
        upon the water, and made the Children of Israel to drink of it, Exod.
        32.20. Thereby teaching them (as Hierome and others give the reason)
        to abhor that Idolatry, while their Idol did pass from them among
        their own excrements. Asa did remove his mother Maachah from being
        Queen, because of an Idol which she had made in a grove, 1 Kings
        15.13. Josiah caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin
        to stand to the Covenant, 2 Chron. 34.32, which could not be without
        either threatening or inflicting punishment upon the transgressors;
        there being many at that time disaffected to the Reformation.

        "O but saith M.S. to A.S. pages 51,52. Idolatry and Idolaters were the
        adequate object of that coercive power in matters of religion, whereof
        we read in the Old Testament. Nor do we read that ever the Jewish
        Kings or Magistrates attempted any thing against Sectaries or
        Schismatics. I answer, (1.) The object of that coercive power of
        Josiah, 2 Chron. 34.32, was generally the matter of the Covenant, that
        is, the taking away not only of Idolatry, but of all abominations, and
        a walking after the Lord, and keeping of his Testimonies, and
        Statutes, and Commandments, verses 31,33. Nehemiah did drive away the
        son of Eliashib the High Priest, not for Idolatry, but for marrying
        the daughter of Sanballat, and thereby defiling the Covenant of the
        Priesthood, Nehem. 13.28,29. Ezra made the Chief Priests, the Levites,
        and all Israel to enter into a Covenant and to swear, that they would
        put away the strange wives, and that it should be done according to
        the Law, Ezra 10.3,5, and whosoever would not come to Jerusalem for
        this thing, was not only himself excommunicated from the Church, but
        all his goods forfeited, verse 8. Artaxerxes decreed punishment for
        all who should oppose the Law of God, and the building of the Temple:
        wherein he is so far approved, as that Ezra blesseth God for it, Ezra
        7.26,27, Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the
        King, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto
        death, or unto banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or
        imprisonment, &c. which doth not concern Idolatry only, but generally
        the laws of God, verse 25, Set Magistrates and Judges which may judge
        all the people, all such as know the laws of thy God. He who wrote
        Liberty of Conscience, p. 27,28, is so far confounded with this
        laudable Decree of Artaxerxes, that he can say no more to it, but that
        it was the commandment of God, not an invention of men which
        Artaxerxes did thus impose, which is as much as we desire. But (2.)
        Sects and Schisms are to be punished as well, though not as much as
        Heresy and Idolatry. There are degrees of faults, and accordingly
        degrees of punishments. Augustine wrote an Epistle to Bonifacius [Tom.
        2. Ep. 50.] upon this occasion, to shew that the Donatists had nothing
        to do with the Arrians, and so were not to be punished with such
        rigour and severity; yet he adviseth that moderate mulcts and
        punishments may be laid upon them, & that their Bishops or Ministers
        may be banished. In his 127 Epistle, he intercedeth most earnestly
        with the proconsul of Africk, that he might not put to death the
        Donatists, but repress them some other ways. We have also a scripture
        example for punishing Sectaries who are not Heretics. It is agreed
        among interpreters, there were in Judah two sorts of high places, some
        on which God was worshiped, others on which idols were worshipped, &
        it is most manifest from 2 Chron. 33.17, and from the reconciling of 2
        Chron. 15.17, with chapter 14.3,5, the one sort was the high places of
        Idolatry, the other, the high places of will-worship; yet the Priests
        of the latter, as well as of the former, were punished by Josiah, as
        Tostatus proveth from 2 Kings 23, and the text itself is clear, for he
        put to death the Priests of Samaria, who had sacrificed in the high
        places of Idolatry, verse 20, but as for those who sacrificed in the
        high places of will-worship, because they sacrificed to the Lord only
        (as the word is, 2 Chron. 33.17.) therefore Josiah did not put them to
        death, only he caused them to go out of all the Cities of Judah, and
        to cease from the Priests office, so that they durst not come up to
        the Altar of the Lord at Jerusalem, only they were permitted to eat of
        the unleavened bread among their brethren, verses 8,9, which is
        parallel to that law, Ezek. 44.10-14, a prophecy concerning the
        Christian Temple, and the times of the New Testament, which reacheth a
        blow to another silly & short-sighted evasion, used both in the Bloudy
        Tenent, and in M.S. to A.S. that all this coercive power exercised in
        the Old Testament was typical, & therefore not imitable now in the New
        Testament. Whereunto I further reply, [1.] The reason of all that
        coercive severity was moral and perpetual, as was shewed before from
        Deut. 13.11. [2.] Next, why did they not prove that it was typical?
        shall we take their fancy for a certainty? They have neither Scripture
        nor Interpreters for it. [3.] They confound the Judicial laws of Moses
        with the Ceremonial, making the Judicatories and Justice typical no
        less than the Ceremonies. [4.] They do utterly overthrow the
        investiture of Christian Princes and Magistrates with any power at all
        in matters of Religion, from the Old Testament. So that one may not
        argue thus: The godly Kings of Judah did remove the monuments of
        Idolatry and Superstition, therefore so should the Christian
        Magistrate do. The most arrant malignant may answer in the words of
        Mr. Williams, chap. 109, that the Civil power or State of Israel, so
        far as it attended upon the spiritual, was merely figurative: Or in
        the words of M.S. page 51. There are two reasons very considerable why
        the Kings of Judah might be invested by God with a larger power in
        matters of religion, than Kings or Magistrates under the Gospel have
        any ground or warrant to claim from them. First, they were types of
        Christ (but by the way, how doth he prove that Asa, Jehu, and Josiah
        were types of Christ?) which no King under heaven at this day is.
        Secondly, not the people only, but the very land over which they ruled
        were typical. [5.] The punishment of persons was a part of their
        reformation, as well as the destruction of monuments, and why must we
        follow their example in the one, more than the other? If we smart
        under both their diseases, we must apply both their remedies, or neither.

        "The (3.) third argument is drawn from the New Testament. The
        magistrate beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of
        God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth evil, Rom. 13.4. But
        I assume; Heretics and Sectaries do evil, yea much evil, especially
        when they draw many others after them in their pernicious ways. It was
        the observation of one of the greatest Politicians of this Kingdom,
        That heresies and schisms are of all others the greatest scandals: yea
        more than corruptions of manners. One of his reasons is, because every
        sect of them hath a diverse posture or cringe by themselves, which
        cannot but move derision in worldlings, and depraved politics, who are
        apt to contemn holy things. [See Bacons Essays, pages 11,12.] I know
        it will be answered, If any Sectary make a breach of peace, or disturb
        the State, then indeed the magistrate ought to redress it by a
        coercive power. So John the Baptist, page 57. So Mr. Williams, chapter
        52, answereth, Rom. 13.4, is not meant of evil against the Christian
        estate, but of evil against the Civil State. M.S. page 53,54, tells us
        that he is not for the toleration of Sects and Schisms, except only
        upon this supposition, that the professors or maintainers of them be
        otherwise peaceable in the State, and every ways subject to the laws
        and lawful power of the civil Magistrate. I answer, the experience of
        former times may make us so wise as to foresee that heresy and schism
        tendeth to the breach of the civil peace, and to a rupture in the
        State as well as in the Church. What commotions did the Arrians make
        in all the Eastern parts? the Macedonians in Greece? the Donatists in
        Africke? How did the Anabaptists raise and foment the bloody war of
        the Boores in Germany, wherein were killed above 100,000 men?

        "Tantum relligio potuit suadere malorum.

        "How fanatical was Julian's design to bring the Christians to nought,
        by granting liberty of conscience to all the heretics and sectaries
        that were among them? But suppose the Commonwealth to run no hazard by
        the toleration of Heresies and Schisms, I answer further, [1.] The
        Text, Rom. 13.4, speaketh generally, and we must not distinguish where
        the Scripture doth not distinguish. [2.] Those that are in authority
        are to take such courses and so to rule, that we may not only lead a
        quite and peaceable life, but further that it be in all godliness and
        honesty, 1 Tim. 2.2. The magistrate is keeper of both Tables, and is
        to punish the violation of the first Table, as well as of the second.
        [3.] Will any man, saith Augustine, [Epistle 50] who is in his right
        wit, say to Kings, Do not care by whom the Church of God in your
        Kingdom be maintained or opposed: it doth not concern you in your
        Kingdom, who will be religious, who sacrilegious: to whom
        notwithstanding it cannot be said, It doth not concern you in your
        Kingdom, who be chaste, who whorish, &c. Is the souls keeping faith
        and truth to God a lighter matter, than that of a woman to a man? He
        confesseth in the same Epistle, that he and some other African Divines
        were sometime of that opinion, that the Emperour should not at all
        punish the Donatists for their heresy or error, but such of them only
        as should be found to commit any riot or breach of peace, especially
        the furious and violent Circumcellions. But afterward he confesseth
        that the Emperour had a good reason to repress their pernicious error,
        as their furious violence.

        "A (4.) fourth Argument is drawn from the names which the Scripture
        giveth to Heretics and Sectaries, holding forth the extreme danger of
        tolerating and letting them alone. [See Calvin's Refutation of the
        Errors of Michael Servetus.] They are called ravening wolves, Matt.
        7.15; and grievous wolves not sparing the flock, Acts 20.29; thieves
        and robbers, John 10.8; Their word eateth as a canker, 2 Tim. 2.17,
        and is as a little leaven leavening the whole lump, Gal. 5.9. They are
        troublers of Israel, Acts 15.24, Gal. 5.12. Shall the troublers of the
        State be punished, and the troublers of Israel go free? Shall
        Physicians cut off the member that hath a Gangrene in it, because it
        endangereth the whole body, and shall the great State physicians
        suffer the Gangrene to spread in the Church? Shall mens bodies, goods,
        and purses, be so far cared for, that thieves and robbers must not be
        suffered, but justice done upon them; and shall those have immunity
        who steal away souls from Christ, and rob us of the pearl of truth?
        Nay shall the poor sheep be so much looked to, that the wolf must not
        be spared; and shall we suffer the soul-destroying wolves to enter,
        yea abide peaceably among the dear-bought flock of Jesus Christ?

        "Other Arguments might be added, but let them suffice at this present."

        More testimonies against "Pretended Liberty of Conscience" and
        "Toleration" can be found here:
        http://truecovenanter.com/anti_toleration/index.html

        Hope this helps,
        gmw.
      • Deejay
        Thanks Jerry, I knew I could rely on this group for some useful info. I ll read the Gillepsie quote later as I m off out shortly. I m trying to beat them into
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 15, 2006
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          Thanks Jerry, I knew I could rely on this group for some useful info. I'll read the Gillepsie quote later as I'm off out shortly.

           I'm trying to beat them into submission to the truth, by being the most argumentative person they ever came across. (this comes naturally so are putting it to good use) When I have truth and God on my side, this means I can positively go on FOREVER.   (tis true. ;-))

          ;-)


          But seriously, thanks.

          ~Deejay





          gmw wrote:


          I would focus on his principles, and the biblical basis for them, and
          do your best to not let them be distracted from the real discussion.

          However, in reference to Calvin's Geneva and their intolerance of
          wickedness in religion...

          First, it should be noted that Calvin was not a magistrate, and did
          not act as a magistrate, and therefore did not "bear the sword"
          against anyone. Second, the magistracy in Genevea correctly sought to
          punish evil-doers, including heretics, and sought to maintain the true
          religion as much as was within their jurisdiction.

          Do not shy away from the fact that among out principles is,

          "The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of
          the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of
          heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that
          unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be
          kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed;
          all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or
          reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered,
          and observed.... " (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch.23, Sec. 3).

          This quote by George Gillespie is long, and there is more of it here (
          http://www.covenant er.org/GGillespi e/wholesome_ severity. html ), but
          this is very helpful in understanding the Reformed position on this
          subject of civil magistracy and the punishing of religious heretics

          "The third opinion is, that the Magistrate may and ought to exercise
          his coercive power, in suppressing and punishing Heretics and
          Sectaries, less or more, according as the nature and degree of the
          error, schism, obstinacy, and danger of seducing others, doth require.
          This as it was the judgment of the orthodox Ancients, (vide Optati
          opera, edit, Albaspin. pag. 204, 215.) so it is followed by our
          soundest Protestant Writers; most largely by Beza against Bellius and
          Monfortius, in a peculiar Treatise De Hareticis à Magistratu
          puniendis. And though Gerhard, Brochmand [de magist. polit. cap. 2.
          quæst. 3. dub 2.] and other Lutheran Writers, make a controversy where
          they need not, alleging that the Calvinists (so nicknamed) hold as the
          Papists do, that all Heretics without distinction are to be put to
          death: The truth is, they themselves say as much as either Calvin or
          Beza, or any other whom they take for adversaries in this Question,
          that is, that Heretics are to be punished by mulcts, imprisonments,
          banishments, and if they be gross idolaters or blasphemers, and
          seducers of others, then to be put to death. What is it else that
          Calvin teacheth, when he distinguisheth three kinds of errors: some to
          be tolerated with a spirit of meekness, and such as ought not to
          separate betwixt brethren: others not to be tolerated, but to be
          suppressed with a certain degree of severity: a third sort so
          abominable and pestiferous, that they are to be cut off by the highest
          punishments?

          "And lest it be thought that this is but the opinion of some few, that
          the magistrate ought thus by a strong hand, and by civil punishments
          suppress Heretics and Sectaries: let it be observed what is held forth
          and professed concerning this business, by the Reformed Churches in
          their public Confessions of Faith. In the latter Confession of
          Helvitia, cap. 30. it is said that the magistrate ought to root out
          lies and all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry. And after;
          Let him suppress stubborn Heretics: In the French Confession, art. 39.
          Therefore he hath also delivered the sword into the hands of the
          Magistrates, to wit, that offences may be repressed, not only those
          which are committed against the second Table, but also against the
          first. In the Belgic Confession, art. 36. Therefore hath he armed the
          Magistrate with the sword for punishing them that do evil, and for
          defending such as do well. Moreover it is their duty not only to be
          careful and watchful for the preservation of the civil government, but
          also to defend the holy Ministry, and to abolish and overthrow all
          Idolatry, and counterfeit worship of God. Beza de haret, à magistr.
          puniend, tells us in the beginning, that the Ministers of Helvitia had
          declared themselves to be of the same judgment, in a book published of
          that Argument. And toward the end he citeth the Saxon Confession,
          Luther, Melancthon, Brentius, Bucerus, Wolfangus Capito, and
          Bullinger. The Synod of Dort, Ses. 138, in their sentence against the
          Remonstrants doth not only interdict them of all their Ecclesiastical
          and Academical functions, but also beseech the States General by the
          secular power further to suppress and restrain them.

          "The Arguments whereby this third or middle opinion is confirmed (that
          we may not build upon human authority) are these.

          "First, the law, Deut. 13.6-9, concerning the stoning and killing of
          him, who shall secretly entice people, saying, Let us go after other
          gods. If it be said, that this law did bind the Jews only, and is not
          moral nor perpetual: I answer, Jacobus Acontius, though he be of
          another opinion concerning this question than I am, yet he candidly
          and freely confesseth, that he seeth nothing in that law, which doth
          not belong to the New Testament, as well as the Old; for saith he, the
          reason and ground of the law, the use and end of it, is moral and
          perpetual, verse 11. All Israel shall hear and fear, and shall do no
          more any such wickedness, as this is among you. But yet, saith
          Acontius, this law doth not concern Heretics, who believe and teach
          errors concerning the true God or his worship; but only Apostates who
          fall away to other gods: In this I shall not much contend with him;
          only thus far, if Apostates are to be stoned and killed according to
          that law, then surely seducing Heretics are also to receive their
          measure and proportion of punishment; The moral equity of the law
          requireth thus much at least, that if we compare Heresy and Apostacy
          together, look how much less the evil of sin is in Heresy, so much and
          no more is to be remitted of the evil of punishment, especially the
          danger of contagion and seducement, being as much or rather more in
          Heresy than in Apostacy; yea, that which is called Heresy being
          oftentimes a real following after other gods. But the Law, Deut. 13,
          for punishing with death, as well whole Cities as particular persons,
          for falling away to other gods, is not the only law for punishing even
          capitally gross sins against the first Table. See Exod. 22.20, He that
          sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly
          destroyed. Exod. 31.14, Every one that defileth the Sabbath shall
          surely be put to death. Levit. 24.16, And he that blasphemeth the Name
          of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death. Deut. 17.2-5, If there
          be found among you within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God
          giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight
          of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his Covenant, and hath gone and
          served other gods and worshipped them, &c. Thou shalt bring forth that
          man or that woman unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and
          shalt stone them with stones till they die.

          "It will be asked, But how doth it appear that these or any other
          Judicial Laws of Moses do at all appertain to us, as rules to guide us
          in like cases? I shall wish him who scrupleth this, to read Piscator
          his Appendix to his Observations upon the 21-23 Chapters of Exodus,
          where he excellently disputeth this question, Whether the Christian
          Magistrate be bound to observe the Judicial laws of Moses, as well as
          the Jewish Magistrate was. He answereth by the common distinction, he
          is obliged to those things in the Judicial law which are unchangeable,
          & common to all Nations: but not to those things which are mutable, or
          proper to the Jewish Republic. But then he explaineth this
          distinction, that by things mutable, and proper to the Jews, he
          understandeth the emancipation of an Hebrew servant or handmaid in the
          seventh year, a man's marrying his brother's wife an raising up seed
          to his brother, the forgiving of debts at the Jubilee, marrying with
          one of the same Tribe, and if there be any other like to these; also
          Ceremonial trespasses, as touching a dead body, &c. But things
          immutable, and common to all Nations are the laws concerning Moral
          trespasses, Sins against the Moral law, as murder, adultery, theft,
          enticing away from God, blasphemy, striking of Parents. Now that the
          Christian Magistrate is bound to observe these Judicial laws of Moses
          which appoint the punishments of sins against the Moral law, he
          proveth by these reasons.

          "1. If it were not so, then it is free and arbitrary to the Magistrate
          to appoint what punishments himself pleaseth. But this is not
          arbitrary to him, for he is the Minister of God, Rom. 13.4. and the
          judgment is the Lord's, Deut. 1.7; 2 Chron. 19.6. And if the
          Magistrate be Keeper of both Tables, he must keep them in such manner
          as God hath delivered them to him.

          "2. Christ's words, Matt. 5.17, Think not that I am come to destroy
          the Law or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill, are
          comprehensive of the Judicial law, it being a part of the law of
          Moses; Now he could not fulfill the Judicial law, except either by his
          practice, or by teaching others still to observe it; [but it was] not
          by his own practice, for he would not condemn the Adulteress, John
          8.11, nor divide the Inheritance, Luke 12.13,14. Therefore it must be
          by his doctrine for our observing it.

          "3. If Christ in his Sermon, Matt. 5, would teach that the Moral law
          belongeth to us Christians, insomuch as he vindicateth it from the
          false glosses of the Scribes & Pharisees; then he meant to hold forth
          the Judicial law concerning Moral trespasses as belonging to us also:
          for he vindicateth and interpreteth the Judicial law, as well as the
          Moral, Matt. 5.38, An eye for an eye, &c.

          "4. If God would have the Moral law transmitted from the Jewish people
          to the Christian people; then he would also have the Judicial law
          transmitted from the Jewish Magistrate to the Christian Magistrate:
          There being the same reason of immutability in the punishments, which
          is in the offences; Idolatry and Adultery displeaseth God now as much
          as then; and Theft displeaseth God now no more than before.

          "5. Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our
          learning, Rom. 15.4, and what shall the Christian Magistrate learn
          from those Judicial laws, but the will of God to be his rule in like
          cases? The Ceremonial law was written for our learning, that we might
          know the fulfilling of all those Types, but the Judicial law was not
          Typical.

          "6. Do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31; Matt. 5.16. How shall
          Christian Magistrates glorify God more than by observing God's own
          laws, as most just, and such as they cannot make better?

          "7. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14.23. Now when the
          Christian Magistrate punisheth sins against the Moral law, if he do
          this in faith and in assurance of pleasing God, he must have his
          assurance from the Word of God, for faith can build upon no other
          foundation: it is the Word which must assure the Conscience, God has
          commanded such a thing, therefore it is my duty to do it, God hath not
          forbidden such a thing, therefore I am free to do it. But the will of
          God concerning Civil justice and punishments is no where so fully and
          clearly revealed as in the Judicial law of Moses. This therefore must
          be the surest prop and stay to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate.

          "These are not my reasons (if it be not a word or two added by way of
          explaining and strengthening) but the substance of Piscator's reasons:
          Unto which I add, (1.) Though we have clear and full scriptures in the
          New Testament for abolishing the Ceremonial law, yet we nowhere read
          in all the new Testament of the abolishing of the Judicial law, so far
          as it did concern the punishing of sins against the Moral law, of
          which Heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God
          did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such
          punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not
          bound to inflict such punishments for such sins, is bound to prove
          that those former laws of God are abolished, and to shew some
          scripture for it. (2.) That Judicial law for having two or three
          witnesses in judgment, Deut. 19.15; Heb. 10.28, is transferred even
          with an obligation to us Christians, and it concerneth all judgments,
          as well Ecclesiastical as Civil, Matt. 18.16; 2 Cor. 13.1, and some
          other particulars might be instanced in which are pressed and enforced
          from the Judicial law, by some who yet mind not the obligation of it.
          To conclude therefore this point, though other judicial or forensical
          laws concerning the punishments of sins against the Moral law, may,
          yea, must be allowed of in Christian Republics and Kingdoms; Provided
          always, they be not contrary or contradictory to God's own Judicial
          laws: yet I fear not to hold with Junius, de Politia Mosis cap. 6,
          that he who was punishable by death under that Judicial law, is
          punishable by death still; and he who was not punished by death then,
          is not to be punished by death now; And so much for the first argument
          from the Law of God.

          "A second argument we have from divers laudable examples in the Old
          Testament; Moses drew the sword against Idolaters, Exod. 32.27; the
          children of Israel resolved to go out to war against the Reubenites
          and Gadites, when they understood that they were building another
          Altar, Josh. 22.12; Elijah commanded to slay the Priests of Baal, 1
          Kings 18.40; In Asa's time there was a Covenant for putting to death
          such as would not seek the Lord God of their Fathers, 2 Chron. 15.13;
          Jehu slew the Priests of Ahab, and the worshippers of Baal, 2 Kings
          10.11,24. First, searching and making sure that there were none of the
          servants of the Lord among them, verse 23. Josiah sacrificed the
          Priests of Samaria upon their own altars, 2 Kings 23.20;
          Nebuchadnezzar, though an Heathen, being convinced that there was no
          god like the God of Israel, made a Decree, that whosoever speaketh
          blasphemy, or uttereth any error against God, shall be cut in pieces,
          and their houses made a dunghill, Dan. 3.29. As for those whose errors
          and corruptions in religion were not so great, there was some (though
          not the highest) severity used against them: Moses was so angry with
          the people that were seduced into Idolatry, that he burnt the Calf
          which they had worshipped, and ground it to powder, and strewed it
          upon the water, and made the Children of Israel to drink of it, Exod.
          32.20. Thereby teaching them (as Hierome and others give the reason)
          to abhor that Idolatry, while their Idol did pass from them among
          their own excrements. Asa did remove his mother Maachah from being
          Queen, because of an Idol which she had made in a grove, 1 Kings
          15.13. Josiah caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin
          to stand to the Covenant, 2 Chron. 34.32, which could not be without
          either threatening or inflicting punishment upon the transgressors;
          there being many at that time disaffected to the Reformation.

          "O but saith M.S. to A.S. pages 51,52. Idolatry and Idolaters were the
          adequate object of that coercive power in matters of religion, whereof
          we read in the Old Testament. Nor do we read that ever the Jewish
          Kings or Magistrates attempted any thing against Sectaries or
          Schismatics. I answer, (1.) The object of that coercive power of
          Josiah, 2 Chron. 34.32, was generally the matter of the Covenant, that
          is, the taking away not only of Idolatry, but of all abominations, and
          a walking after the Lord, and keeping of his Testimonies, and
          Statutes, and Commandments, verses 31,33. Nehemiah did drive away the
          son of Eliashib the High Priest, not for Idolatry, but for marrying
          the daughter of Sanballat, and thereby defiling the Covenant of the
          Priesthood, Nehem. 13.28,29. Ezra made the Chief Priests, the Levites,
          and all Israel to enter into a Covenant and to swear, that they would
          put away the strange wives, and that it should be done according to
          the Law, Ezra 10.3,5, and whosoever would not come to Jerusalem for
          this thing, was not only himself excommunicated from the Church, but
          all his goods forfeited, verse 8. Artaxerxes decreed punishment for
          all who should oppose the Law of God, and the building of the Temple:
          wherein he is so far approved, as that Ezra blesseth God for it, Ezra
          7.26,27, Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the
          King, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto
          death, or unto banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or
          imprisonment, &c. which doth not concern Idolatry only, but generally
          the laws of God, verse 25, Set Magistrates and Judges which may judge
          all the people, all such as know the laws of thy God. He who wrote
          Liberty of Conscience, p. 27,28, is so far confounded with this
          laudable Decree of Artaxerxes, that he can say no more to it, but that
          it was the commandment of God, not an invention of men which
          Artaxerxes did thus impose, which is as much as we desire. But (2.)
          Sects and Schisms are to be punished as well, though not as much as
          Heresy and Idolatry. There are degrees of faults, and accordingly
          degrees of punishments. Augustine wrote an Epistle to Bonifacius [Tom.
          2. Ep. 50.] upon this occasion, to shew that the Donatists had nothing
          to do with the Arrians, and so were not to be punished with such
          rigour and severity; yet he adviseth that moderate mulcts and
          punishments may be laid upon them, & that their Bishops or Ministers
          may be banished. In his 127 Epistle, he intercedeth most earnestly
          with the proconsul of Africk, that he might not put to death the
          Donatists, but repress them some other ways. We have also a scripture
          example for punishing Sectaries who are not Heretics. It is agreed
          among interpreters, there were in Judah two sorts of high places, some
          on which God was worshiped, others on which idols were worshipped, &
          it is most manifest from 2 Chron. 33.17, and from the reconciling of 2
          Chron. 15.17, with chapter 14.3,5, the one sort was the high places of
          Idolatry, the other, the high places of will-worship; yet the Priests
          of the latter, as well as of the former, were punished by Josiah, as
          Tostatus proveth from 2 Kings 23, and the text itself is clear, for he
          put to death the Priests of Samaria, who had sacrificed in the high
          places of Idolatry, verse 20, but as for those who sacrificed in the
          high places of will-worship, because they sacrificed to the Lord only
          (as the word is, 2 Chron. 33.17.) therefore Josiah did not put them to
          death, only he caused them to go out of all the Cities of Judah, and
          to cease from the Priests office, so that they durst not come up to
          the Altar of the Lord at Jerusalem, only they were permitted to eat of
          the unleavened bread among their brethren, verses 8,9, which is
          parallel to that law, Ezek. 44.10-14, a prophecy concerning the
          Christian Temple, and the times of the New Testament, which reacheth a
          blow to another silly & short-sighted evasion, used both in the Bloudy
          Tenent, and in M.S. to A.S. that all this coercive power exercised in
          the Old Testament was typical, & therefore not imitable now in the New
          Testament. Whereunto I further reply, [1.] The reason of all that
          coercive severity was moral and perpetual, as was shewed before from
          Deut. 13.11. [2.] Next, why did they not prove that it was typical?
          shall we take their fancy for a certainty? They have neither Scripture
          nor Interpreters for it. [3.] They confound the Judicial laws of Moses
          with the Ceremonial, making the Judicatories and Justice typical no
          less than the Ceremonies. [4.] They do utterly overthrow the
          investiture of Christian Princes and Magistrates with any power at all
          in matters of Religion, from the Old Testament. So that one may not
          argue thus: The godly Kings of Judah did remove the monuments of
          Idolatry and Superstition, therefore so should the Christian
          Magistrate do. The most arrant malignant may answer in the words of
          Mr. Williams, chap. 109, that the Civil power or State of Israel, so
          far as it attended upon the spiritual, was merely figurative: Or in
          the words of M.S. page 51. There are two reasons very considerable why
          the Kings of Judah might be invested by God with a larger power in
          matters of religion, than Kings or Magistrates under the Gospel have
          any ground or warrant to claim from them. First, they were types of
          Christ (but by the way, how doth he prove that Asa, Jehu, and Josiah
          were types of Christ?) which no King under heaven at this day is.
          Secondly, not the people only, but the very land over which they ruled
          were typical. [5.] The punishment of persons was a part of their
          reformation, as well as the destruction of monuments, and why must we
          follow their example in the one, more than the other? If we smart
          under both their diseases, we must apply both their remedies, or neither.

          "The (3.) third argument is drawn from the New Testament. The
          magistrate beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of
          God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth evil, Rom. 13.4. But
          I assume; Heretics and Sectaries do evil, yea much evil, especially
          when they draw many others after them in their pernicious ways. It was
          the observation of one of the greatest Politicians of this Kingdom,
          That heresies and schisms are of all others the greatest scandals: yea
          more than corruptions of manners. One of his reasons is, because every
          sect of them hath a diverse posture or cringe by themselves, which
          cannot but move derision in worldlings, and depraved politics, who are
          apt to contemn holy things. [See Bacons Essays, pages 11,12.] I know
          it will be answered, If any Sectary make a breach of peace, or disturb
          the State, then indeed the magistrate ought to redress it by a
          coercive power. So John the Baptist, page 57. So Mr. Williams, chapter
          52, answereth, Rom. 13.4, is not meant of evil against the Christian
          estate, but of evil against the Civil State. M.S. page 53,54, tells us
          that he is not for the toleration of Sects and Schisms, except only
          upon this supposition, that the professors or maintainers of them be
          otherwise peaceable in the State, and every ways subject to the laws
          and lawful power of the civil Magistrate. I answer, the experience of
          former times may make us so wise as to foresee that heresy and schism
          tendeth to the breach of the civil peace, and to a rupture in the
          State as well as in the Church. What commotions did the Arrians make
          in all the Eastern parts? the Macedonians in Greece? the Donatists in
          Africke? How did the Anabaptists raise and foment the bloody war of
          the Boores in Germany, wherein were killed above 100,000 men?

          "Tantum relligio potuit suadere malorum.

          "How fanatical was Julian's design to bring the Christians to nought,
          by granting liberty of conscience to all the heretics and sectaries
          that were among them? But suppose the Commonwealth to run no hazard by
          the toleration of Heresies and Schisms, I answer further, [1.] The
          Text, Rom. 13.4, speaketh generally, and we must not distinguish where
          the Scripture doth not distinguish. [2.] Those that are in authority
          are to take such courses and so to rule, that we may not only lead a
          quite and peaceable life, but further that it be in all godliness and
          honesty, 1 Tim. 2.2. The magistrate is keeper of both Tables, and is
          to punish the violation of the first Table, as well as of the second.
          [3.] Will any man, saith Augustine, [Epistle 50] who is in his right
          wit, say to Kings, Do not care by whom the Church of God in your
          Kingdom be maintained or opposed: it doth not concern you in your
          Kingdom, who will be religious, who sacrilegious: to whom
          notwithstanding it cannot be said, It doth not concern you in your
          Kingdom, who be chaste, who whorish, &c. Is the souls keeping faith
          and truth to God a lighter matter, than that of a woman to a man? He
          confesseth in the same Epistle, that he and some other African Divines
          were sometime of that opinion, that the Emperour should not at all
          punish the Donatists for their heresy or error, but such of them only
          as should be found to commit any riot or breach of peace, especially
          the furious and violent Circumcellions. But afterward he confesseth
          that the Emperour had a good reason to repress their pernicious error,
          as their furious violence.

          "A (4.) fourth Argument is drawn from the names which the Scripture
          giveth to Heretics and Sectaries, holding forth the extreme danger of
          tolerating and letting them alone. [See Calvin's Refutation of the
          Errors of Michael Servetus.] They are called ravening wolves, Matt.
          7.15; and grievous wolves not sparing the flock, Acts 20.29; thieves
          and robbers, John 10.8; Their word eateth as a canker, 2 Tim. 2.17,
          and is as a little leaven leavening the whole lump, Gal. 5.9. They are
          troublers of Israel, Acts 15.24, Gal. 5.12. Shall the troublers of the
          State be punished, and the troublers of Israel go free? Shall
          Physicians cut off the member that hath a Gangrene in it, because it
          endangereth the whole body, and shall the great State physicians
          suffer the Gangrene to spread in the Church? Shall mens bodies, goods,
          and purses, be so far cared for, that thieves and robbers must not be
          suffered, but justice done upon them; and shall those have immunity
          who steal away souls from Christ, and rob us of the pearl of truth?
          Nay shall the poor sheep be so much looked to, that the wolf must not
          be spared; and shall we suffer the soul-destroying wolves to enter,
          yea abide peaceably among the dear-bought flock of Jesus Christ?

          "Other Arguments might be added, but let them suffice at this present."

          More testimonies against "Pretended Liberty of Conscience" and
          "Toleration" can be found here:
          http://truecovenant er.com/anti_ toleration/ index.html

          Hope this helps,
          gmw.


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