Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

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21centpilgrim
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Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by 21centpilgrim » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:24 pm

An Anabaptist gem for any interested. I came across this blog which lists Balthasar Hubmaier's, Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them. Steve has mentioned this work in passing in one of his lectures on the Anabaptist in the church history lessons.


Anyways, enjoy! It is still very relevant today, as I am sure you will see.

Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them
Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528), Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them (1524)

1. Heretics are those who wickedly oppose the holy scriptures, the first of whom was the devil, when he said to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die", (genesis 3:4) together with his followers.

2. Those also are heretics that cast a veil over the scriptures and interpret them otherwise than the holy spirit demands; as those who everywhere proclaim a concubine as a benefice, pastoring and ruling the church at Rome, and compelling us to believe this talk.

3. Those who are such one should overcome with holy knowledge, not angrily but softly, although the Holy Scriptures contain wrath.

4. But this wrath of the scriptures is truly a spiritual fire and zeal of love, not burning without the Word of God.

5. If they will not be taught by strong proofs or evangelic reasons, then let them be, and leave them to rage and be mad (Titus 3:2,3), that those who are filthy may become more filthy still (Rev. 22:11).

6. The law that condemns heretics to the fire builds up both Zion in blood and Jerusalem in wickedness.

7. Therefore will they be taken away in sighs, for the judgments of God (whose right it is to judge) either convert or harden them, that the blind lead the blind and both the seduced and the seducer go from bad to worse.

8. This is the will of Christ who said, “Let both grow together till the harvest, lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them” (Matt. 13:29). “For there must also be heresies among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor. 11:19).

9. Though they indeed experience this, yet they are not put away until Christ shall say to the reapers, “Gather first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them” (Matt. 13:30).

10. This word does not teach us idleness but strife; for we should unceasingly contend, not with men but with their godless doctrine.

11. The unwatchful bishops are the cause of the heresies. “When men slept, the enemy came” (Matt. 13:25).

12. Again, “Blessed is the man who is a watcher at the door of the bridegroom’s chamber” (Prov. 8:34), and neither sleeps nor “sits in the seat of the scornful” (Ps. 1:1).

13. Hence it follows that the inquisitors are the greatest heretics of all, since, against the doctrine and example of Christ, they condemn heretics to fire, and before the time of harvest root up the wheat with the tares.

14. For Christ did not come to butcher, destroy, and burn, but that those that live might live more abundantly (John 10:10).

15. We should pray and hope for repentance, as long as man lives in this misery.

16. A turk or a heretic is not convinced by our act, either with the sword or with fire, but only with patience and prayer; and so we should await with patience the judgment of God.

17. If we do otherwise, God will treat our sword as stubble, and burning fire as mockery (Job 41:29).

18. So unholy and far off from evangelical doctrine is the whole order of preaching friars (of which variegated birds our Antony is one), that hitherto out of them alone the inquisitors have come.

19. If these only knew of what spirit they ought to be, they would not so shamelessly pervert God’s Word, nor so often cry, “To the fire, to the fire!” (Luke 9:54-56).

20. It is no excuse (as they charter) that they give over the wicked to the secular power, for he who thus gives over sins more deeply (John 19:11).

21. For each Christian has a sword against the wicked, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17), but not a sword against the malignant.

22. The secular power rightly and properly puts to death the criminals who injure the bodies of the defenseless (Rom. 13:3,4). But he who is God’s cannot injure anyone, unless he first deserts the gospel.

23. Christ has shown us this clearly, saying, “Fear not them that kill the body” (Matt. 10:28).

24. The [secular] power judges criminals, but not the godless who cannot injure either body or soul, but rather are a benefit; therefore God can in wisdom draw good from evil.

25. Faith which flows from the gospel fountain lives only in contests, and the rougher they become so much the greater becomes faith.

26. That everyone has not been taught the gospel truth is due to the bishops no less than to the common people – these that they have not cared for a better shepherd, the former that they have not performed their office properly.

27. If the blind lead the blind, according to the judgment of God, they both fall together into the ditch (Matt. 15:14).

28. Hence to burn heretics is in appearance to profess Christ (Titus 1:10,11), but in reality to deny him, and to be more monstrous than Jehoiakim, the King of Judah (Jer. 36:23).

29. If it is blasphemy to destroy a heretic, how much more is it to burn to ashes a faithful herald of the Word of God, unconvicted, not arraigned by the truth.

30. The greatest deception of the people is a zeal for God that is unscripturally expended, the salvation of the soul, honor of the church, love of truth, good intention, use or custom, episcopal decrees, the teaching of the reason that come by natural light. For they are deadly arrows where they are not led and directed by the Scriptures.

31. We should not presume, led away by the deception of our own purpose, to do better or more securely than God has spoken by his own mouth.

32. Those who rely on their good intention and think to do better, are like Uzziah and Peter. The latter was called Satan by Christ (Matt. 16:23), but the former came to a wretched end (1 Chr. 13:10).

33. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah acted wisely in withstanding Jehoiakim, the kind of Judah, when he cast the book of Jehovah into the fire (Jer. 35:25).

34. But in that, after one book was burnt, Baruch by the express direction of Jeremiah, wrote another much better (Jer. 36:27-32), we see the just punishment of God on the unrighteous burning. For so it shall be that on those who fear the frost, a cold snow falls (Job. 6:16).

35. But we do not hold that it was unchristian to burn their numerous books of incantations, as the fact in the Acts of the Apostles shows (Acts 19:19). It is a small thing to burn innocent paper, but to point out an error and to disprove it by Scripture, that is art.

36. Now it is clear to everyone, even the blind, that a law to burn heretics is an invention of the devil. “Truth is immortal.”

From Henry C. Vedder, Balthasar Hubmaier: The Leader of the Anabaptists (New York: AMS Press, 1971), 84-88.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

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Paidion
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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by Paidion » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:18 pm

When we believe that God punishes "heretics" and others with torment and death, surely it follows that we ought to do the same, and to demonstrate that we are the children of God, by being God's agents to carry out His wrath.
Paidion

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TheEditor
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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by TheEditor » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:34 pm

Thanks for posting this. I have been meaning to find and read this as the title always struck me as humorous. :D

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by 21centpilgrim » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 am

Paidion wrote:When we believe that God punishes "heretics" and others with torment and death, surely it follows that we ought to do the same, and to demonstrate that we are the children of God, by being God's agents to carry out His wrath.
Paidion- The Anabaptist believed in the traditional view of hell but were pacifist. I find that your correlation falls short and hope that you would see that especially given that Hubmaier addresses that in his points.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by dizerner » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:34 am

Paidion wrote:When we believe that God punishes "heretics" and others with torment and death, surely it follows that we ought to do the same, and to demonstrate that we are the children of God, by being God's agents to carry out His wrath.
Sorry, I just can't let you get away with this one. :roll:

Not only does Scripture clearly, clearly teach that we do not choose to enact God's wrath (which in any case is said to be something bodily harm cannot even compare to, do not fear them that can only harm the body), the logic that we do everything God does seems to have absolutely no basis in anything. God receives worship so we should too? Come on man, put a little more thought into it.

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TheEditor
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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by TheEditor » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:46 pm

Hi Dizerner:
Not only does Scripture clearly, clearly teach that we do not choose to enact God's wrath


Maybe you can explain this?

do not fear them that can only harm the body


It's actually "kill" the body:

Have no fear of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul: rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.-- Matt. 10:28

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by Paidion » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:19 pm

dizerner wrote:The logic that we do everything God does seems to have absolutely no basis in anything.
The logic that we ought to do what God does has a basis in the teaching of Christ:

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Lu 6:35)

Jesus says that by loving our enemies, doing good, etc., we show ourselves to be sons of the Most High BECAUSE He is kind to ungrateful people and evil people.

The corollary of this is that if God is different from the loving Father which Christ revealed, if He is unkind—torturing and killing evil people such as "heretics", we will show ourselves to be the sons of the Most High if we do likewise.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by Paidion » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:33 pm

[quote="21 cent pilgim" ]Paidion- The Anabaptist believed in the traditional view of hell but were pacifist.[/quote]

That is correct. So who was more consistent?—Luther and Zwingli who caused great pain and suffering, as well as death, to the "heretics"? Or the Anabaptists who believed that God did such things, but that they shouldn't?

I find that your correlation falls short and hope that you would see that especially given that Hubmaier addresses that in his points.[/quote]

What does Hubmaier say? That Luther and Zwingli should not have done such things? I agree. And neither should they have believed that God does such things; then they might not have done them either.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by 21centpilgrim » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:17 pm

Paidion wrote:
21 cent pilgim wrote:Paidion- The Anabaptist believed in the traditional view of hell but were pacifist.
That is correct. So who was more consistent?—Luther and Zwingli who caused great pain and suffering, as well as death, to the "heretics"? Or the Anabaptists who believed that God did such things, but that they shouldn't?



I find that your correlation falls short and hope that you would see that especially given that Hubmaier addresses that in his points.
What does Hubmaier say? That Luther and Zwingli should not have done such things? I agree. And neither should they have believed that God does such things; then they might not have done them either.[/quote][/quote][/quote]

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave itfn to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
I think this verse, as with others like it shows that the Anabaptists were correct.


The Anabaptist did in fact believe that God will punish and bring his wrath upon 'heritics' but that was the task of the Lord and not for his followers to do. Hubmaier addresses this very thing in # 4, 9, 13, 16, 22, 28,
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

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Re: Concerning Heretics and Those That Burn Them

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:20 pm

21 cent pilgrim wrote:Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave itfn to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
I think this verse, as with others like it shows that the Anabaptists were correct.
If you mean that the Anabaptists believed (and still believe) that God punishes people in a penal sense (the offenders deserve to be punished) then I think that they were/are incorrect in that particular matter.

First, it is assumed that "ἐκδικησις" (ekdikāsis) means "vengeance". The word is derived from "δικη" (dikā) which means "justice". So the meaning may be that God will execute justice for all.

Also, it is assumed that "I will repay" implies that God will punish the offender. But it may mean that He will repay the victim for what he has lost at the hands of the offender. Consider this parable of Christ's:

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? (Luke 18:2-7 ESV)

The word which the ESV translates here as "justice" is the same word as was translated as "vengeance" in your quote—namely "ἐκδικησις" (ekdikāsis).

Notice the woman wants justice against her adversary. Perhaps she wants him punished. Or perhaps she wants him only to relinquish the money which he unfairly took from her. For the judge gives the woman justice. Perhaps he worked things legally so that her adversary had to pay. That would have been justice.

Notice also that the purpose of the parable is to show that God some day will give justice to his elect. He will make up to them for all that they have lost.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am no saying that those who take advantage of others will get off scott free (I can use this expression since I am at least ¼ Scotch). But I affirm that all of God's judgments are remedial. Like a loving parent who may be very angry with his erring children, God's judgments are not meant to punish (in a penal sense) wrongdoers, but to correct them (See my signature statement). Indeed, the Greek word "ἐκδικησις", as one lexicon explains, often refers to doing justice to all parties.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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