Monday, November 12, 2012

Quotable Theonomy: On Criminalizing the Promotion of Heresy (William Farel)

"If the Pope condemns the pious for heresy, and furious judges unjustly execute on the innocent the penalty due to heretics, what madness is it thence to infer that heretics ought not to be destroyed for the purpose of aiding the pious! As for myself, since I read that Paul said that he did not refuse death if he had done anything to deserve it, I openly offered myself frequently prepared to undergo sentence of death, if I had taught anything contrary to the doctrine of piety. 

"And I added, that I was most worthy of any punishment imaginable, if I seduced any one from the faith and doctrine of Christ. Assuredly I cannot have a different view with regard to others from that which I
entertain respecting myself

-- William Farel, in a letter to John Calvin

Cited in Henry M. Baird, History of the Rise of the Huguenots of France: Volume 1 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896), 211.

Note: we do not necessarily endorse all of the theology of those quoted in the Quotable Theonomy series


Anonymous said...

Rushdoony has a lot to say about this in his Institutes, i.e. protecting the basis of a society, as all secular governments do.

It is interesting to note that the Bible does not provide for the Civil punishment of private thoughts and beliefs, even if they are heretical, but only for the propagation of them.


Steve C. Halbrook said...

AP, good point, and it shows the sloppy thinking on the part of the humanists who criticize biblical law. Scripture does not require a citizen to be even a Christian (Israel allowed for certain strangers to dwell in the land who held different religions); however, to promote heresy and false religions - at least to Christians - is subversive of the Christian social order, and must be treated as treason.