Witch-Burning Puritans?

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Bondman

Puritan Board Freshman
How do we respond to this old attack against our noble ancestors in the faith? I have just been likened to one after making it known that I do not support stem cell research.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
The good that men do is interred with their bones, but the evil they do lives on and on...

Our noble forefathers did, in fact, burn a few witches - I think it was a great sin - and this evil is often pointed to as evidence that Christians are at odds with the love displayed by Christ.


This is a lesson for us: we must always walk circumspectly before the watching world and be harmless as doves because if we err, the world WILL take notice and use it against us for years to come.




[bracing myself for nasty replies now...]
 

Ivan

Pastor
I have just been likened to one after making it known that I do not support stem cell research.

What does this have to do with burning witches? Burning witches is the same as being against the support of stem cell research on fetuses?
 

govols

Puritan Board Junior
Also, the vast majority of those "witches" weren't witches, a couple could be considered so, some could be considered personal vendettas against someone, pure accusations.

I am for stem cell research, not fed funded and not on fetuses but from umbilical cords.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
The good that men do is interred with their bones, but the evil they do lives on and on...

Our noble forefathers did, in fact, burn a few witches - I think it was a great sin - and this evil is often pointed to as evidence that Christians are at odds with the love displayed by Christ.


This is a lesson for us: we must always walk circumspectly before the watching world and be harmless as doves because if we err, the world WILL take notice and use it against us for years to come.




[bracing myself for nasty replies now...]

Keep in mind the burning at the stake of about 20+ TOTAL during this period was in accordance with the civil law of the land (for wrong or right). There were no team of Puritan's with pitchforks kicking down doors and dragging witches off to the stake.

Let's have a few local PB historians chime in on this one. :)
 

turmeric

Megerator
The case in Salem was particularly egregious, it seems, from a theonomic viewpoint.

1. Samuel Parris did not catechize his slave.
2. He did not have his daughters in subjection.
3. Rather than taking their reaction as guilt, which no doubt it was, and leading them to repentance, he shifted the guilt from his family to person or persons unknown who were "hexing" them...it goes on.

That being said, it was the law of the land in good ol' Anglican England to burn witches. I believe this is one good argument for disestablishmentarianism. (ducking quickly)
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I believe it started with a bunch of adolecent girls living off of tales from other lands...then taking advantage of superstition to cause trouble for those they had a grudge against...a spark turned into a flame...turned into embarrassment for the entire community.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Exodus 22:18 18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

WCF 19.4 To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

Here we have an explicit command. It is very clear. What is the general equity? At least it says that witches should be punished or not suffered...Should a witch be driven out of the land?

Since we are walking in the land of normativity here and not history - assume all due processes were followed with multiple witnesses.



N.B.
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

We should cry out for mercy because in our land we have let all types of abominations go on. Something tells me God hasn't changed His mind on what he considers abominations. Perhaps we have?
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

New verse just found:
Mat 28:21 if they will not believe, burn them.:think:
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

New verse just found:
Mat 28:21 if they will not believe, burn them.:think:

We don't need a new verse brother, verse 20 is clear enough.:D
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
I think that most of the embarassment that we feel over the old "witch burner" charge is that WE don't believe in witches! So we assume that in every case the person executed was innocent.

It is almost a tautology in the modern world that since we all 'know' that witches can not exist so any person executed as a witch is ipso facto falsely killed (i.e. murdered).

I believe it was Lewis who said that the thing that is shocking is not that witches were killed, what would be truely shocking would to believe that a person WAS a witch and to NOT kill them.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
How about a new interpretation of Mark 16:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be burnt!:D

Careful now brother...

You start talking about baptism and salvation and we will break out the AA/FV pitchfork & torch kit and run you out of town:D .
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The burning of witches was not exclusive to Puritanism.


But the most remarkable of the superstitions of the seventeenth
century was what went by the name of witchcraft. We have, after a
careful examination of the whole subject, seen nothing to induce the
belief that what went by this name was anything but a compound of
wickedness and credulity; wickedness on the part of those who
professed to have dealings with the Wicked One, and credulity on the
part of those who were duped by designing men and women into the
belief that they wielded supernatural power. It must be admitted,
however, that the wickedness which manifested itself in connection
with the profession of witchcraft was of no ordinary kind. For any
one even to seek to have dealings with the Wicked One in such a way
as to transfer allegiance from the Most High to him is surely one of
the deepest and most daring crimes that can be committed; and that
many who suffered for witchcraft in the seventeenth century were
guilty of this crime their own confessions amply prove. Indeed, cases
are recorded in which the convicted persons were proved to have
written with their own blood an agreement by which they resigned
themselves into the hands of Satan. And if those who acted in this
and similar ways were guilty of fearful sin, they who consulted such
persons evidently aided and abetted them in their wickedness.
Moreover, as the crime thus committed amounted to idolatry in one
of its most horrible forms, we need not wonder that, in an age when
it was considered the duty of the civil magistrate to punish idolatry
with death, the opinion prevailed that convicted wizards and witches
should be capitally punished. We do not, of course, vindicate this
opinion, although we believe that the profession of witchcraft is a
crime that should be punished in some way or other by the civil
magistrate. To take no higher ground, to begin with, the crime in one
of its ordinary aspects amounts to fraud, in the form of raising money
on false pretences; and it may fairly be questioned whether the laws
which treat blasphemy as a crime in the eye of the civil magistrate do
not apply to professing witchcraft as well.

It will thus be seen that the men of the seventeenth century who
proceeded with such rigor against witchcraft were not without
something to say for themselves. They erred, we think, in considering
that the witchcraft of their time had anything supernatural in it, and
they erred in proceeding to such extremes in the mode of
punishment; but these were mistakes which were shared in by men of
all ranks and all classes at that time. Kings, Lords, and Commons,
statesmen and ecclesiastics, all agreed in thinking that there was
something supernatural in the witchcraft that prevailed. King James
had written a treatise against the crime, the legislators of the country
enacted rigorous laws against it, and ecclesiastics of different schools
alike busied themselves in examining offenders; for it cannot be truly
said that Episcopalians differed from Presbyterians in their estimate of
the crime. The examination and burning of witches went on during
the ascendancy of Episcopacy with unabated activity.

Cited from: William Ross, Glimpses of Pastoral Work in Covenanting Times, Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature, volume 4 (Dallas, Texas: Naphtali Press, 1991) Chapter Ten: Work of the Kirk Session, in Cases involving Superstition.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Careful now brother...

You start talking about baptism and salvation and we will break out the AA/FV pitchfork & torch kit and run you out of town:D .

I can't picture you with this pitchfork...from what I've read on your blog, aren't you pro FV?
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

New verse just found:
Mat 28:21 if they will not believe, burn them.:think:

I think I might have woke up this morning a little sensitive. If I'm over-reacting, please forgive me and let me know. With that being said...Ultimately the question of what we are to do with witches, if anything, should be answered by Scripture or by good and necessary consequence from Scripture. What I attempted was to show a clear command from Scripture for us to begin working through. I also put up a relevant confessional document regarding judicial laws to help us as a guide...

I have no problem getting hit right between the eyes with an argument or even feirce rhetoric. Ad homs generally slide off my back (getting better at taking them anyway...) - but what I'm sensitive about this morning is the method you used by inventing new Scriptures or manipulating them to make your argument. You could just have easily made the argument without doing that. I assume you doing it for rhetorical force and I understand the thrust of the argument. Out of reverence for the Word it just struck me a little off. Again, I may just being overly sensitive - and if so, please correct me and forgive me.

______________

OK...now for dealing with the actual argument. I believe you are begging the question on the category that you are putting witchcraft in. You are assigning it in the category of unbelief. You are exactly right - if it was indeed that. We are not to punish unbelief. We are to evangelise and disciple it. We send missionaries, not executioners.

However - God placed it in the context of judicially punishable offences. We are to punish/kill murderers. Not because of their unbelief but for their crime. We should still share the gospel with them of course! I would argue that the command to punish/kill witches would fall in the category of all the other capital punishment crimes rather than unbelief.

To show that witches shouldn't be punished today one would:
1. Have to show that we should not punish OT crimes today - but then one would have to differentiate hermeneutically between murder, rape, etc. - by showing scripture repealing the necessity.
2. Provide redemptive-historical changes that do away with it.
3. Provide a general equity of the verse above out of Exodus 22 that means to not punish at all.

:handshake:
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
I think I might have woke up this morning a little sensitive. If I'm over-reacting, please forgive me and let me know. With that being said...Ultimately the question of what we are to do with witches, if anything, should be answered by Scripture or by good and necessary consequence from Scripture. What I attempted was to show a clear command from Scripture for us to begin working through. I also put up a relevant confessional document regarding judicial laws to help us as a guide...

I have no problem getting hit right between the eyes with an argument or even feirce rhetoric. Ad homs generally slide off my back (getting better at taking them anyway...) - but what I'm sensitive about this morning is the method you used by inventing new Scriptures or manipulating them to make your argument. You could just have easily made the argument without doing that. I assume you doing it for rhetorical force and I understand the thrust of the argument. Out of reverence for the Word it just struck me a little off. Again, I may just being overly sensitive - and if so, please correct me and forgive me.


______________

OK...now for dealing with the actual argument. I believe you are begging the question on the category that you are putting witchcraft in. You are assigning it in the category of unbelief. You are exactly right - if it was indeed that. We are not to punish unbelief. We are to evangelise and disciple it. We send missionaries, not executioners.

However - God placed it in the context of judicially punishable offences. We are to punish/kill murderers. Not because of their unbelief but for their crime. We should still share the gospel with them of course! I would argue that the command to punish/kill witches would fall in the category of all the other capital punishment crimes rather than unbelief.

To show that witches shouldn't be punished today one would:
1. Have to show that we should not punish OT crimes today - but then one would have to differentiate hermeneutically between murder, rape, etc. - by showing scripture repealing the necessity.
2. Provide redemptive-historical changes that do away with it.
3. Provide a general equity of the verse above out of Exodus 22 that means to not punish at all.

:handshake:

I meant it in humor brother! Please forgive my "rough" edges. Yes, in the O.T. witches were to be burned. In fact. a whole assortment of people were to be killed for idolatry, fornication, adultery, working on the sabbath ect.
However, I can find nothing in the N.T. that gives a chrstian church the right to kill anybody. Jesus did not have the woman stoned for her adultery and Paul told us to separate from idolaters, not kill them.
Again, please forgive me for my offence this morning.

BTW, we all deserve death by the law do we not?
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
I meant it in humor brother! Please forgive my "rough" edges. Yes, in the O.T. witches were to be burned. In fact. a whole assortment of people were to be killed for idolatry, fornication, adultery, working on the sabbath ect.
However, I can find nothing in the N.T. that gives a chrstian church the right to kill anybody. Jesus did not have the woman stoned for her adultery and Paul told us to separate from idolaters, not kill them.
Again, please forgive me for my offence this morning.

We all have rough edges brother! :handshake: I didn't take the offence as against me, just want the Word of God to be treated as it should (Lord forgive me for mishandling Your Word on a regular basis.)

We are looking at the Scriptures the same. I too can find nothing in the NT that gives a Christian church the right to kill anybody. In fact, I can't find anything in the OT either. We should separate ourselves and use church discipline appropriately and evangelise.

I can however find where the O.T. civil magistrate should punish crimes and I can find no portion in the N.T. telling them to stop. In fact the Magistrate is a minister of God and shouldn't bear the sword in vain.

I'm all for a separation of church and state as were the puritans who punished them. It wasn't the church that did so however.

Love ya, brother.

Just noticed I missed something. Yes I deserve death by the law. We all do. If we are talking about the moral law of God and God's judgment for breaking it. For the wages of sin is death. However temporally speaking - God has decided to forebear with society and has set up only a few things that are death deserving as far as criminal behavior goes. This requires us to differentiate between sins and crimes. The civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Eschatological fulfillment and temporal requirements. The now and the not yet.

Praise God for His mercy and the willingness to justify sinners like us at Christ's expense!
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
We all have rough edges brother! :handshake: I didn't take the offence as against me, just want the Word of God to be treated as it should (Lord forgive me for mishandling Your Word on a regular basis.)

We are looking at the Scriptures the same. I too can find nothing in the NT that gives a Christian church the right to kill anybody. In fact, I can't find anything in the OT either. We should separate ourselves and use church discipline appropriately and evangelise.

I can however find where the O.T. civil magistrate should punish crimes and I can find no portion in the N.T. telling them to stop. In fact the Magistrate is a minister of God and shouldn't bear the sword in vain.

I'm all for a separation of church and state as were the puritans who punished them. It wasn't the church that did so however.

Love ya, brother.


The problem is brother, governments, though they are ordained of God, always lead into apostacy. One needs only to read the history of Israel under the kings to see that. The government that Paul wrote about in Romans 13 was Nero, hardly an example of Biblical government. The ideal would be for all people to bow and "kiss the Son" but they won't, and neither will any government in my opinion untill Christ comes in flaming fire taking vengeance.
Love you in Christ dear brother!:pray2:
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
The problem is brother, governments, though they are ordained of God, always lead into apostacy. One needs only to read the history of Israel under the kings to see that. The government that Paul wrote about in Romans 13 was Nero, hardly an example of Biblical government. The ideal would be for all people to bow and "kiss the Son" but they won't, and neither will any government in my opinion untill Christ comes in flaming fire taking vengeance.
Love you in Christ dear brother!:pray2:

And just because we are sinful idiots and blow it at every chance we get both individually and collectively in society - it doesn't invalidate the normativity of the law. Just because I can't keep the sabbath perfectly doesn't mean that the sabbath is no longer binding. We should seek just laws and just punishments in society. People are careless sexually today. This leads to millions of unwanted pregnancies. People rectify this by killing millions of babies in the womb. Should we accept this state of affairs or should we seek to reform the laws to protect the unborn and punish the murderers?

Here is Matthew Henry on Exodus 22:18:
II. A law which makes witchcraft a capital crime, v. 18. Witchcraft not only gives that honour to the devil which is due to God alone, but bids defiance to the divine Providence, wages war with God's government, and puts his work into the devil's hand, expecting him to do good and evil, and so making him indeed the god of this world; justly therefore was it punished with death, especially among a people that were blessed with a divine revelation, and cared for by divine Providence above any people under the sun. By our law, consulting, covenanting with, invocating, or employing, any evil spirit, to any intent whatsoever, and exercising any enchantment, charm, or sorcery, whereby hurt shall be done to any person whatsoever, is made felony, without benefit of clergy; also pretending to tell where goods lost or stolen may be found, or the like, is an iniquity punishable by the judge, and the second offence with death. The justice of our law herein is supported by the law of God recorded here.
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
And just because we are sinful idiots and blow it at every chance we get both individually and collectively in society - it doesn't invalidate the normativity of the law. Just because I can't keep the sabbath perfectly doesn't mean that the sabbath is no longer binding. We should seek just laws and just punishments in society. People are careless sexually today. This leads to millions of unwanted pregnancies. People rectify this by killing millions of babies in the womb. Should we accept this state of affairs or should we seek to reform the laws to protect the unborn and punish the murderers?

Here is Matthew Henry on Exodus 22:18:


We are in basic agreement brother. However, I can find no nation on earth who has ever followed the law of God very long before going into complete apostacy. Therefore, in my opinion, because of the total depravity of man governments should be restrained by law themselves. One has only to look at the history of government to see it is not long before they begin killing christians themselves.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
We are in basic agreement brother. However, I can find no nation on earth who has ever followed the law of God very long before going into complete apostacy. Therefore, in my opinion, because of the total depravity of man governments should be restrained by law themselves. One has only to look at the history of government to see it is not long before they begin killing christians themselves.

:up: No disagreement here with these statements. All law has to have a moral foundation to rest on. At one time the laws of the U.S. rested on God's law as a foundation. Any more it is making laws on its own authority. It has divorced itself from God and His law. We are now in a state of legal positivism. It is law because the State has declared it to be. It is just as much as theocracy as Israel was but now our God is our bellies and ultimately power. What restraints are there? All I want is to restrain things back to where God restrains them - properly interpreted of course.

Thanks for the iron sharpening this morning.

I'm afraid we are still left with wrestling with Exodus 22:18 and WCF 19.4.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
For clarity, let's note that "Puritan's" or the "Church" burned no witches during that period in New England. The State did burn witches (real and falsely accused) by due process according to its laws.

Yes, many Puritans were judges for the State and handed down executions according to the law of the land. They gave the death penalty for what was a Capital offense.

I say all this to correct the popular mythology of pitch-fork-carrying-torch- wielding-frothing-at-the-mouth illegal lynch mobs.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
In an unhealthy mix of church and state it is quite easy for the religious community to become incensed and then hand over the offending party to the willing civil authorities.

This is what Rome did to heretics during most of the late Middle Ages.







From Thirdmill, here is an example as to how the Apostle Paul would apply "General Equity". We should strive to emulate Paul:



John Frame has noted that the New Testament church "fulfills the Old Testament theocracy" (Barker 1990, 95). In applying the Old Testament laws to the church, Paul did not apply them exactly as they were applied in the Old Testament. For instance, In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul addresses a situation where a man is living with his father's wife. According to Old Testament law, the man and the woman should receive capital punishment (Leviticus 20:10). However, this was not recommended by Paul. Rather, the proper punishment of this crime for Paul is excommunication (vv. 2, 13). Furthermore, Paul's statement in verse 13 is a quotation of a formula found in Mosaic penal sanctions (Deut. 17:7, 12; 12:19; 19:21, 21:21; 22:21, 24: 24:7).

Dennis Johnson has noted that "in the Deuteronomy contexts this formula, whenever it appears, refers to the execution of those deeds 'worthy of death': idolatry, contempt for judges, false witness, persistent rebellion towards parents, adultery, and kidnapping" (Barker 1990, 181). These crimes were to be punished by purging the offender from the covenant community through his execution. Johnson continues, "Paul applies the same terminology to the new covenant community's judging/purging act of excommunication-- a judgment that is both more severe (since it is 'handing this man over to Satan,' an anticipation of the final judgment), and more gracious (since it envisions a saving outcome to the temporal exercise of church discipline, which may bring about repentance that will lead to rescue from eternal judgment)" (Barker 1990, 181-182). Therefore, it may be safely said that the proper application of those capital offenses of the Mosaic law are properly applied in the church today as excommunication. 3. Conclusion In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul claims that "we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully." Theonomists take this to mean that the law should be applied largely as it was in the Old Testament, without using it as a means of salvation and taking into account the explicit statements in the New Testament where certain laws have been abrogated. However, it appears that Paul's statements concerning the end of the law are somewhat more inclusive than this. The law, in its ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9), has been abolished and has replaced with the "ministry of righteousness" by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:9-11). The law has been written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit, we fulfill the law. This does not mean that the Mosaic law no longer applies to the Christian as a rule of life. Rather, it means that the law can no longer condemn us (Rom. 8:1) because Christ has satisfied the demands of the law in His life and paid for our sins on the cross, and He has sent us the Holy Spirit, by whom we are empowered to fulfill the law (Rom 8:2-4).
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
We all have rough edges brother! :handshake: I didn't take the offence as against me, just want the Word of God to be treated as it should (Lord forgive me for mishandling Your Word on a regular basis.)

We are looking at the Scriptures the same. I too can find nothing in the NT that gives a Christian church the right to kill anybody. In fact, I can't find anything in the OT either. We should separate ourselves and use church discipline appropriately and evangelise.

I can however find where the O.T. civil magistrate should punish crimes and I can find no portion in the N.T. telling them to stop. In fact the Magistrate is a minister of God and shouldn't bear the sword in vain.
Here's the problem with your argument as I see it. The OT magistrate WERE part of the church. They were covenantally ordained offices set up in the Mosaic legislation as types of Christ governing His people. They did not apply to the rest of the world (unless you believe Moses was a Mediator for the world and not just God's people?). There was a clear covenantal restriction. The antitype has come. Therefore by necessity the type must go away. Christ is the king. The authority of execution among God's people now rests in His hands.

And in OT Israel there was no seperation of church and state. Kings, prophets, and priests interfered with each others duties all the time and with divine approval (with few exceptions like Uzziah). It was David who instructed the priests how to work in the temple and wrote the liturgy. Solomon consecrated the temple with sacrifice. It was Elijah who slaughtered the prophets of Baal (which the king should have done). Samuel performed all three roles as a judge. In Duet. 17 both judges and preists are given civil authority which must be obeyed upon pain of death. If you are going to use this as a template for modern society, then you will not have a seperation of church and state. Deut. 17 states that to disobey a preist requires death. What should we do today if a parishioner disobeys a pastor? David intervened and designed the temple and it's worship. Should we then be Erastian in our church government? That is the logical conclusion isn't it?

Just noticed I missed something. Yes I deserve death by the law. We all do. If we are talking about the moral law of God and God's judgment for breaking it. For the wages of sin is death. However temporally speaking - God has decided to forebear with society and has set up only a few things that are death deserving as far as criminal behavior goes. This requires us to differentiate between sins and crimes. The civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Eschatological fulfillment and temporal requirements. The now and the not yet.

This is an important distinction you conclude with. You can't have types existing with the antitype. Once fulfilled it is done away. Christ is the prophet preist and king of God's people. So if you wish to find the biblical authority for a civil magistrate you must look outside the Mosaic covenant. The only other place to go is back to Noah. The covenant of works and the covenant of preservation are the only covenants made with all men. Every other covenant since is made only with God's people. If you confuse the covenants you will end up with unjust witch burning. You will respond with the sword when you should respond with the gospel. And ultimately you will fall into the trap of the Westminster Divines of defaulting to Erastianism whenever you couldn't settle ecclesiological matters peacefully. :2cents:
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
The problem is brother, governments, though they are ordained of God, always lead into apostacy. One needs only to read the history of Israel under the kings to see that. The government that Paul wrote about in Romans 13 was Nero, hardly an example of Biblical government. The ideal would be for all people to bow and "kiss the Son" but they won't, and neither will any government in my opinion untill Christ comes in flaming fire taking vengeance.
Love you in Christ dear brother!:pray2:

If governments always lead into apostacy, then how is this an argument against a T/theonomic society? It seems that all you are saying is that a government that is attempting to live Biblically leads to error as well as those that don't care.
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
If governments always lead into apostacy, then how is this an argument against a T/theonomic society? It seems that all you are saying is that a government that is attempting to live Biblically leads to error as well as those that don't care.


Do you know of any nation on this earth that is trying to live biblically? For a time Israel did well under Joshua, then after him came the judges and 40 year cycles of apostacy. Then came the kings, Saul-apostate, David had his problems but he was a man after God's own heart. Solomon- great revival followed by idolatry. After that the divsion of the kingdom. The ten tribes vanished and Judah had a few godly kings but didn't end up much better.
The Gospel is better than the law. The new is better than the old. The Gospel is our only hope. If God in His sovereign will gives a godly ruler and turns the people to righteousness I will rejoice. Untill then. as far as I'm concerned, 2 Peter ch, 3 is the only answer.
God bless you
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Here's the problem with your argument as I see it. The OT magistrate WERE part of the church. They were covenantally ordained offices set up in the Mosaic legislation as types of Christ governing His people. They did not apply to the rest of the world (unless you believe Moses was a Mediator for the world and not just God's people?). There was a clear covenantal restriction. The antitype has come. Therefore by necessity the type must go away. Christ is the king. The authority of execution among God's people now rests in His hands.

And in OT Israel there was no seperation of church and state. Kings, prophets, and priests interfered with each others duties all the time and with divine approval (with few exceptions like Uzziah). It was David who instructed the priests how to work in the temple and wrote the liturgy. Solomon consecrated the temple with sacrifice. It was Elijah who slaughtered the prophets of Baal (which the king should have done). Samuel performed all three roles as a judge. In Duet. 17 both judges and preists are given civil authority which must be obeyed upon pain of death. If you are going to use this as a template for modern society, then you will not have a seperation of church and state. Deut. 17 states that to disobey a preist requires death. What should we do today if a parishioner disobeys a pastor? David intervened and designed the temple and it's worship. Should we then be Erastian in our church government? That is the logical conclusion isn't it?



This is an important distinction you conclude with. You can't have types existing with the antitype. Once fulfilled it is done away. Christ is the prophet preist and king of God's people. So if you wish to find the biblical authority for a civil magistrate you must look outside the Mosaic covenant. The only other place to go is back to Noah. The covenant of works and the covenant of preservation are the only covenants made with all men. Every other covenant since is made only with God's people. If you confuse the covenants you will end up with unjust witch burning. You will respond with the sword when you should respond with the gospel. And ultimately you will fall into the trap of the Westminster Divines of defaulting to Erastianism whenever you couldn't settle ecclesiological matters peacefully. :2cents:

"It appertaineth not to thee King Uzziah to burn incense unto the Lord but to the priests of Aaron." The Westminster Divines were not Erastian and OT Israel was not Erastian, unfortunately many contemporary Presbyterians are Erastian in their presuppositions. Ironically, in the historic debate against Erastianism by Presbyterians the argument was that church & state were distinct in Israel and now those that hold such a view are accused by fellow Presbyterians of being Erastian.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Indeed. That is a great summary of exactly what David Lachman was saying on the Scottish/Westminsterian view of church state relations. He pointed out that George Gillespie spent the whole first portion of Aaron's Rod Blossoming showing that there was indeed a separation and coordination between the two in the OT.

Lachman pointed to WCF XXX Sec. 1 to show that the WCF was not Erastian much to the dismay of the Erastians present:

Of Church Censures

I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of His Church, has therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.


He went on to state that the Magistrate worked circa sacra and not in sacris.
 
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