The "Holy" or "Bloody" Spanish Inquisition.
A scriptural look at the question:
"Is it Just For The True Church of God to Kill The Enemies of Godís Truth (Heretics)?"
There are many books and articles on the historical aspects of the "Holy Inquisition" or "Bloody Inquisition" depending upon which camp you consider yourself in. we find a great many historical variations between them, it is not uncommon to read estimates that range from two thousand (on the conservative Catholic end) to 50 million (on the highly liberal Protestant end) put to death by the Catholic Church for there religious belief. But all these authors miss the most essential question of all. Is it (scripturally) justifiable for the true church of God (The Roman Catholic Church) to put the enemies of truth who wish to lead others astray to death?
The importance of this question is obvious, if the actions of the Catholic Church were just and righteous in the eyes of God. Than there is our religious argument, and whether there were two thousand or 50 million deaths becomes irrelevant.
Our first reaction to the question would be to say "NO", at first the concept of putting people the death for their religious believes seems to go against everything taught in sacred scripture, "love thy neighbor", "love thy enemies" and "forgive thy enemy". It is important that we must point out Scripture commands US to forgive OUR enemies, but a heretic is Godís enemy. Sacred scripture commands US to HATE the enemies of God.
"Have I not hated them, O Lord, who hated Thee? ... I have hated them with a perfect hatred, and they have become enemies to me." (Psalm 138:21-22)
"Joined in friendship with those who hate the Lord, you truly deserve the wrath of God!" (II Para. 19:2)
"I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing: I hated the workers of iniquities. In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land: that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord." (Psalms 101:3, 8)
To put the danger of a heretic within the flock of the faithful in its proper perspective we need only to read the Christ warning "FEAR NOT those who can harm the body, rather FEAR THOSE WHO CAN HARM THE SOUL". Clearly Christ (GOD), perceived a heretic to be far more dangerous than a rapist or even a mass murder. In society we consider murder to be a heinous crime worthy of execution. Yet today, we (as a society) do not heed to Christís warning and we DO NOT FEAR THOSE WHO CAN HARM OUR IMMORTAL SOUL. The truth is, there is a lot of sacred Scriptural precedent for the Catholic " Inquisition". Moses, was the first to command the death of those that left to Truth of God to follow errors, in order TO PRESERVE THE FAITH of the rest of the Jews. In one day three thousand heretics were put to the sword.
"Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there FELL OF THE PEOPLE THAT DAY ABOUT THREE THOUSAND MEN."(Exodus 32:26-28)
God take serious offense with those who claim to teach or preach in the name of God without true authority "But the prophet (Religious Preacher), which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak... even that prophet SHALL DIE." (Deuteronomy 18:20) scripture goes even further to say that we should put the death those who teach or preach a doctin that does not coincide with the truth taught by the true church (the Roman Catholic Church) "And that prophet, (Religious Preacher)... SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God..." (Deuteronomy 13:5) God commanded Joshua to put to the sword entire city populations (Men, Women, Children, Infants and the Elderly) of pagans in order TO PRESERVE THE FAITH of HIS FOLLOWERS.
"And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; THOU SHALT SMITE THEM, AND UTTERLY DESTROY THEM; THOU SHALT MAKE NO COVENANT WITH THEM, NOR SHEW MERCY UNTO THEM: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. FOR THEY WILL TURN AWAY THY SON FROM FOLLOWING ME, THAT THEY MAY SERVE OTHER GODS: SO WILL THE ANGER OF THE LORD BE KINDLED AGAINST YOU, AND DESTROY THEE SUDDENLY. BUT THUS SHALL YE DEAL WITH THEM; YE SHALL DESTROY THEIR ALTARS, AND BREAK DOWN THEIR IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THEIR GROVES, AND BURN THEIR GRAVEN IMAGES WITH FIRE. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth...Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And REPAYETH THEM THAT HATE HIM TO THEIR FACE, TO DESTROY THEM: HE WILL NOT BE SLACK TO HIM THAT HATETH HIM, HE WILL REPAY HIM TO HIS FACE."(Deuteronomy 7:2-6, 9-10)
AI: And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And so it was, that ALL THAT FELL THAT DAY, BOTH OF MEN AND WOMEN, WERE TWELVE THOUSAND, EVEN ALL THE MEN OF AI. For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
JERICHO: So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And THEY UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THAT WAS IN THE CITY, BOTH MAN AND WOMAN, YOUNG AND OLD, and ox, and sheep, and ass, WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD."(Joshua 6:20-21)
LIBNAH: And the Lord delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; AND HE SMOTE IT WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
LACHISH: Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and SMOTE IT WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND ALL THE SOULS THAT WERE THEREIN, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
EGLON: And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it: And they took it on that day, and SMOTE IT WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND ALL THE SOULS THAT WERE THEREIN HE UTTERLY DESTROYED THAT DAY, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
HEBRON: And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it:. And they took it, and SMOTE IT WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND THE KING THEREOF, AND ALL THE CITIES THEREOF, AND ALL THE SOULS THAT WERE THEREIN; HE LEFT NONE REMAINING, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.
DEBIR: And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it: And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and THEY SMOTE THEM WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THE SOULS THAT WERE THEREIN; HE LEFT NONE REMAINING: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.
HAZOR: And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And THEY SMOTE ALL THE SOULS THAT WERE THEREIN WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, UTTERLY DESTROYING THEM: THERE WAS NOT ANY LEFT TO BREATHE: and he burnt Hazor with fire. And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded.
"So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south (and North), and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: HE LEFT NONE REMAINING, BUT UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THAT BREATHED, as the Lord God of Israel commanded." In Sacred Scripture we read how even with these percussions the Canaanites cult of "Baal" seduced a large portion of the people of Israel and was endangering the faith of all Godís people. In second Kings we read how Jehu called together all these heretics and their over 450 leaders (1 Kings 18:19) input them to the sword.
"Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the Lord, but the worshippers of Baal only. And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said TO THE GUARD AND TO THE CAPTAINS, GO IN, AND SLAY THEM; LET NONE COME FORTH. AND THEY SMOTE THEM WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD; AND THE GUARD AND THE CAPTAINS CAST THEM OUT, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel."(2 Kings 10:19-28)
In the time of the new Testament the Jews clearly understood that was proper under the law of God to put heretics to death. The gospelís record the trial of Christ by the Jewish high priest on the charge of blaspheme. NO WERE did Christ deny the RIGHT of the high priest to do this even though there intentions were OBVIOUSLY DISHONEST. The Jews (wrongly) identified St. Stephan as a subversive heretic, and stoned him according to the law. St. Paul (Saul) was present at this execution, St. Paul clearly understood this stoning to be the will of God. St. Paul took upon himself to continue this persecution and Hunt of these Christian "heretics"
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.(Acts 7:58-60,8:1-3)
Even after his conversion to being a Christian apostles and one of the greatest prophets of the new Testament, St. Paul clearly advocates those who change the truth of God into lies are worthy of death.
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen...And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;...Who knowing the judgment of God, that THEY WHICH COMMIT SUCH THINGS ARE WORTHY OF DEATH... (Romans 1:25,28,32)
Many will try to argue that "The God of the New Testament is a God of mercy ". It must be noted that the God of the New Testament is the same God as the Old Testament. Although it is true that Christ brought us mercy and forgiveness a quick reading of the Story of Ananias and his wife is enough to remind us that the God of the new Testament is still a God of TRUE justice.
"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. "Acts 5:3-10
So we see that the TRUE Church of God (Christ) does have the authority and the responsibility to protect the immortal souls of the faithful by whatever means it deems necessary, even if that means putting the death the heretic. Only the One True Church which God (Christ) himself founded on the Rock of Peter (Matt. 16:18-19) HAS THE RIGHT to determine which course of justice is best depending on the times and situation. As we see one cannot argue that the church of God DOES NOT have the moral authority to determine the fate of a heretic "who change the truth of God into lies" and St. Paul the apostles declares "worthy of death".
(1) FALSE PROPHETS: pseudoprophetes in the Greek means a Religious IMPOSTER . (Strong's Ref. # 5578)
PROPHECY: Public interpretation of Scripture; Preaching 2) To explain or teach on Religious subjects; Preach"(The Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary 1965)
(2) The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17). Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16: 31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; comp. 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2). till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the Captivity (Zeph. 1:4-6).
The priests of Baal were in great numbers (1 Kings 18:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19). Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings 18:25-29. The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or "lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a wife, which was a colorless reflection of himself.