Witch-Burning Puritans?

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Bondman, Dec 19, 2006.

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  1. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    :agree: Ditto to Peter and Chris Rhoades.

    The Two Sons of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry upon a Scriptural Basis by Samuel B. Wylie
  2. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    What are you reading by Lachman? I have the Sprinkle reprint of Aaron's Rod and Lachman authored the intro.
  3. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Listening to his lectures on Scottish Presbyterianism from PRTS. 12 lectures in all. See this thread. I've started and stopped Aaron's Rod a couple of times. Would love to have an extended time to slowly work my way through it with pencil in hand and Bible open. I would also like to read his Male Audis as well.
  4. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was under the impression that Separatist (not Puritan) New England didn't burn their witches; they hanged them. Of course, the end result is the same; just seeking historical accuracy.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Does Dr. Lachman interact or take note of any of W.D.J. McKay's An Ecclesiastical Republic: Church Government in the Writings of George Gillespie?
  6. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Not in regards to church-state relations. I haven't listened to the lecture all the way through regarding worship though. I have McKay's book but haven't had a chance to go through it. Do you have any thoughts on it?
  7. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    In reference to New England, I believe this is true. I am not aware of a single instance of burning a witch in colonial New England.

  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    No; just that he criticizes some of G's argument on the separation of church and state in the OT (if I recall rightly). So may be worth a read sooner rather than later.;)
  9. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    To address the question of the propriety of the State enforcing a law punishing the Satanic practice of witchcraft, see The Decalogue and the Civil Magistrate and Reformed Confessions/Catechisms on the Civil Magistrate Collated.

    William Perkins on the general equity of capital punishment for witchcraft:

    Increase Mather on the admission of spectral evidence in judicial proceedings:

  10. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Was fornication really a capital offense?
  11. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    particularly if a daughter played the "whore" in her fathers house.
  12. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    No, fornication itself was "punished" with marriage. To get to capital offense required some other circumstance in addition. Kinda like armed robbery has a certain penalty unless you kill someone while committing the crime.

  13. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I would agree that in principle the Westminster Divines were not Erastian (and I agree with them). But in practice they were Erastian. They had to enforce church reforms with the sword (and approval) of the magistrate. Can't get more Erastian than that. What right does a magistrate have to control such things in the church? Who is Parliament to judge such things?

    And as I showed from plenty of illustations, there was not a clear distinction between church and state. If there was, then Samuel was in clear violation, as was David and Elijah.

    To appeal to OT kings as an example for our own magistrates completely ignores the OT kings role in the covenant of grace. Magistrates play no part in that covenant anymore with the ascension of King Jesus. This was a hermeneutical flaw in the Westminster Divines in trying to defend a seperation of church and state based upon Israel.
  14. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Lev 21:9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.
    Deu 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
    Deu 22:14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
    Deu 22:15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
    Deu 22:16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
    Deu 22:17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
    Deu 22:18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
    Deu 22:19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
    Deu 22:20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
    Deu 22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

    You are of course right in saying that in most cases the penalty for fornication was marriage. However there were a couple of places where it could cost a woman her life.
    God bless and keep you dear brother
  15. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Here is an example of the marriage penalty:
    Deu 22:28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    Deu 22:29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

    That would stop a lot of monkey business if that were followed today!:lol:
  16. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    You are not kidding! How much is 50 shekels in $us?
  17. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Um it seems that your counter only makes sense if you take the OT laws as arbitrary (sometimes the punishment is X or sometimes it is Y). In the case cited here, there was clear deception/fraud in view. The husband expected a virgin but found that his new wife was not one.

  18. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    Puritans kill 20+ witches...

    Atheists kill 100 million worldwide, (not counting millions more before they are even born).

    Ask him to do the math ;)
  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    During the Inquisition probably 30,000 to 300,000 "witches" were killed.

    In Protestant Europe, a roughly similar estimate usually is found (in between the outragious claims of 9 million by Wiccans and just a few handfuls by Puritan sympathizers - who are also willing to doctor with unlikeable historic facts to exonerate their theocratic forefathers).

    In England, in 1605 capital punishment was made the legal verdict.

    Particularly in times of civil unrest - i.e. the entire period of the Reformation - communities seemed more willing to brand some as witches. Probably cultural divisions and a need to punish outsiders helped to sinfully influence church standards and led to a tolerance of such activites as witchhunting.

    The Puritans who came to New England did not pioneer such ideas as were entertained at Salem, but were only acting according to already existent views in Europe.

    In New England, though the civil gov't enacted the punishment, the church was very influential and many of the gov't posts were filled by men who also exercised high office in the ecclesiastical gov'ts at that time.

    All in all..an embarrassing and dark time in the history of New England...and I think that theologies sympathetic to theocracy had a hand in these events.
  20. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    And many of those were never "witches" to begin with...merely healers (the equivalant of a village doctor) and midwives. Some of these played on ppl's superstition (sometimes simply to uplift their patients hopes or thinking), making them "witchy". However, most were accused of "witchcraft" for the simply fact that they were women with herbal or some form of medical knowledge...the bigger part being that they were WOMEN. Others were female business owners...again, their being FEMALE made them easy targets. The church had the idea, much like the taliban, that women were evil and the cause of evil. Men's words could be listened to, a woman's never, unless it suited their purposes. There were also those that were accused for various other reasons, men or other women wanting to be rid of certain women for their own reasonings (just as with medicine and business above...but also for other reasons) and those accused because they were prostitutes or fornicators (very common in a time of castles, dowrys, many knights that would rape and pillage anyhow, and a royal court that didn't exactly lead the nation in setting a good example of moral behaviour.

    The Following are portions taken from the paper
    Witches, Midwives, and Nurses
    A History of Women Healers
    by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English
  21. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    About three comments to this thread:

    1. Chris Rhoades was never answered. He raised the question as to general equity. He was mocked. People invented scriptures to ridicule him, but he was never answered. Score 1.

    2. While many theonomists, Gary North and Greg Bahnsen, have argued that they would *not* put witches to death, I would at least urge a caution that we not judge the Bible and say we don't like the parts that modern culture rejects. And before you say, almost like a dispensationalist, "That was for the Old Testament," I refer you again to the "general equity" clause. That clause DEMANDS the application of this law. I didn't make it up. Confession did. So, at least * try * to answer Chris on confessional lines.

    3. Let's bring this issue up to date: instead of witches, insert "satanists" or "santiera cult" members. Instead of harmless incantations, subsitute molesting/raping, torturing virgins all in the name of their religion. Now, how would you as a magistrate punish them? Remember, you have to respect their right to worshp according to their conscience.

    And if anyone can find where Greg Bahnsen said the "church" should punish these crimes, I will concede the debate on behalf of all theonomists. If you cannot find this, and yet continue to make these claims, I will call you on slander.
  23. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    The question first, Jacob, would be how would you first determine these ppl to be witches or satanists? By their own declarations, by deeds (and which ones), or by accusation.
  24. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Define "general equity."
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    consequential ethics. Finding our situation in redemptive history, our situation in our context, the present facility of general revelation (e.g., new insights in application of legal theory, etc).

    In other words, applying the law to our current situation. For example, and few people think of this, the general equity expired in the state of Israel. Remember the flying ax-head, accidental killing? What if you don't have an axehead? What about a sickle-blade? Does that count as general equity?

    General equity = applying the underlying principle to our current situation.

    Mrs Colleen: that's a good question, but given my example, an easy one. I can post newspaper reports from where the Santiera Cult raped and butchered virgins, all in the name of religion and freedom of conscience, of course. That's modern day witchcraft carried to its logical and moral conclusion.

    I will now propose a counter-thesis. These evil, intolerant witch-burning puritans--their theology and worldview set the foundation for civil liberty. Had we followed the Klinean "common-grace" ethic, we would have a brutal tyranny. Not because the common-grace advocates would be in power, far from it (they are retreatist by definition), but that "common-grace ethic," left undefined, lacks the necessary logical force to stop a Stalin.

    In our post-Nietszche age, a vague, undefined common-grace ethic cannot logically stop the "will to power." A logical locomotive does not stop because someone yells stop.
  26. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    My above move was a crowbar. Here comes the pile-driver.

    I just finished reading Dr Spykeman's essay advocating principled pluralism n God and Politics: Four Views. Suffice to say, and Andrew and Chris R. will agree with me on this, every other view represented (theonomy, National Confessionalism, Christian America) buries his essay.

    For principled pluralism to work, certain values must be imposed on those who in some way do not share those values. Should fringe Satanic cults who practice human sacrifice be protected? If the pluralists answers no he denies his own position.

    On April 12, 1989, the pluralist attempt to skirt that dificult question lost all credibility and came face-to-face with the ugliness of pagan society. The front-page headlines of every major paper reported that authorities had dug up a number of mutilated human corpses, the vicious results of the religious ritual practiced by a Mexican offshoot of the Santeria culti satanic sacrifices. The problem posed to common grace ethic men is not simply a matter of hypothetical and tritling intellectual games. Real Satanists murder real people in real subservience to their real religious choices. Now then, should the civil magistrate respect this religious ritual of Santeria? Or should he rather in good (but morally prejudiced) conscience follow Christian values in giving a civil response to satanic sacrifice?

    And btw, if any of you read World Magazine, a year ago they did an article on the re-rise of the Santiera cult.
  27. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Chris, this is well said. I look forward to the rebuttals.
  28. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm not so sure it is so easy. It seems to me that the unproven allegations levied against the Santiera Cult is a modern day witch hunt if you'll pardon the expression. I do believe there is sufficient evidence to convict them of witchcraft but not rape or murder.
  29. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If anyone was raping and murdering people in the name of religion, why not just judge them for the rape and murder?

    Jacob, you keep making phrases like, Satanists who practice human sacrifice or cults that practice rape and molestation....

    This weakens your arguments.

    Whether the perpetrator went by the name of Jew, Christian or Satanist, they would be punished for the crime.

    I could say, Pentecostals who practice theft. Yes, these should be punished too. Not for being Pentecostals but for being thieves.

    Thus, they wouldn't be punished for "witchcraft" but would be punished for the offenses which they did.

    Too.... a matter of historical debate....

    Which group was more responsible for the civil freedoms of American today, those that followed "puritanical" beliefs or those that were baptistic, congregational and/or independant?

    The choice does not need to be either a form of theonomy such as the above represented or "Klinean Intrusionist ethics". One can value the law immensely but still deny that we should kill witches.

    Again from Thirdmill:

    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).[/I]

    Above we have the Apostle Paul's interpretation of General Equity.

    It seems that Roger Williams has more to do with religious liberty than Governor Endicott.
  30. Bondman

    Bondman Puritan Board Freshman

    I like this. Way to bring things into perspective.
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