28 December, 2005

Would it kill ya to try it?

Our culture is one that is rebellious and has little respect for morality or of the law (which is a reflection of a people's morality). In the covenant that God made with Noah, he established the punishment of wicked crime would be punishable by death.
This was reaffirmed with Moses and the death penalty was expanded beyond the shedding of human blood.
The New Testament affirms this penalty for crimes in the writings of Paul. The magistrate was equipped with the sword for the punishing of evil doers.

In Puritan New England many crimes were to be punished by either death or banishment. (Banishment would lead to death). This was to ensure that the society would be one that outwardly reflects the morality of Christ- while praying that inwardly they would have hearts converted to Christ. John Cotton gives us look into the early civil practices as well as the crimes and punishments of this early era of American history. We may not be a Christian nation, the framers of our constitution may have been humanists (or HUME-anists); but Puritan New England was different. This was a time when the number one printed book was the Bay Booke of Psalmes and the people loved the Lord Jesus Christ. What did their laws look like?

Of Crimes. And first, of such as deserve capital punishment, or cutting off from a man's people, whether by death or banishment.

1. FIRST, blasphemy, which is a cursing of God by atheism, or the like, to be punished with death.
2. Idolatry to be punished with death.
3. Witchcraft, which is fellowship by covenant with a familiar spirit, to be punished with death.
4. Consulters with witches not to be tolerated, but either to be cut off by death or banishment.
5. Heresy, which is the maintenance of some wicked errors, overthrowing the foundation of the Christian religion; which obstinacy, if it be joined with endeavour to seduce others thereunto, to be punished with death; because such an heretick, no less than an idolater, seeketh to thrust the souls of men from the Lord their God.
6. To worship God in a molten or graven image, to be punished with death.
7. Such members of the church, as do wilfully reject to walk, after due admonition and conviction, in the churches' establishment, and their christian admonition and censures, shall be cut off by banishment.
8. Whosoever shall revile the religion and worship of God, and the government of the church, as it is now established, to be cut off by banishment. [I] Cor. 5:5.
9. Wilful perjury, whether before the judgment seat or in private conference, to be punished with death.
10. Rash perjury, whether in public or in private, to be punished with banishment. Just is it, that such a man's name should be cut off from his people who profanes so grosly the name of God before his people.
11. Profaning of the Lord's day, in a careless and scornful neglect or contempt thereof, to be punished with death.
12. To put in practice the betraying of the country, or any principal fort therein, to the hand of any foreign state, Spanish, French, Dutch, or the like, contrary to the allegiance we owe and profess to our dread sovereign, lord king Charles, his heirs and successors, whilst he is pleased to protect us as his loyal subjects, to be punished with death. Num. 12:14, 15.
13. Unreverend and dishonorable carriage to magistrates, to be punished with banishment for a time, till they acknowledge their fault and profess reformation.
14. Reviling of the magistrates in highest rank amongst us, to wit, of the governors and council, to be punished with death. I Kings 2:8, 9, & 46.
15. Rebellion, sedition, or insurrection, by taking up arms against the present government established in the country, to be punished with death.
16. Rebellious children, whether they continue in riot or drunkenness, after due correction from their parents, or whether they curse or smite their parents, to be put to death. Ex. 21:15, 17. Lev. 20:9.
17. Murder, which is a wilful man-slaughter, not in a man's just defence, nor casually committed, but out of hatred or cruelty, to be punished with death. Ex. 21:12, 13. Num. 35:16, 17, 18, to 33. Gen. 9:6.
18. Adultery, which is the defiling of the marriage-bed, to be punished with death. Defiling of a woman espoused, is a kind of adultery, and punishable, by death, of both parties; but if a woman be forced, then by the death of the man only. Lev. 20:10. Deut. 22:22 to 27.
19. Incest, which is the defiling of any near of kin, within the degrees prohibited in Leviticus, to be punished with death.
20. Unnatural filthiness to be punished with death, whether sodomy, which is a carnal fellowship of man with man, or woman with woman, or buggery, which is a carnal fellowship of man or woman with beasts or fowls.
21. Pollution of a woman known to be in her flowers, to be put to death. Lev. 20:18,19.
22. Whoredom of a maiden in her father's house, kept secret till after her marriage with another, to be punished with death. Deut. 22:20, 21.
23. Man-stealing to be punished with death. Ex. 21:16.
24. False-witness bearing to be punished with death.


Droll Flood said...

-Just to get the death penalty to be carried out at the moment is amazing. Good grief, look how long it took to set "Tookie" to room temperature...God, have mercy on us.

-I used to live about an hour away from San Quentin where Tookie was whacked. You could see the gas chamber's ventilation pipe from the bridge right next to the prison.

-What of heinous death for heinous crime? Publically? Quickly?

-By the way, I realize that I probably would have fallen into the 'profligate child' category and should have been 'terminated'. Praise God for His long suffering...

Droll Flood said...

Also, for bringing foolish lawsuits to court: death penalty.

Defending/representing wrongfully a guilty man for any of the above cited death punishable crimes: death penalty.

How about also marking the executed's graves with some sort of mark of shame?

Penumbra said...

The perjury and false witness bearing punishment appears to be unjust. It appears that if someone falsely accuses another of stealing a loaf of bread, the punishment for that is death? The biblical penalty for a malicious witness was to receive the punishment that the victim would have received. The punishment for stealing a loaf of bread is not death.

Incidently, the biblical requirement for a rebellious son to be put to death was the parents bringing him to the elders. In our society, government tends to want to take charge in all areas. Child Protective Services is a good example. So, bureaucracy reigns. That goes for punishment by death as well. Who puts the criminal to death in our society? The government. Who should be "throwing the first stone." The witnesses!! Think of the psychological effect of requiring that witnesses confirm their convictions through this act!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the government today isn't going to put people to death over bad doctrine; but shouldn't the true catholic church be doing more to publicly discredit/warn against heretics? In the GR area, there is a very large "church" by the name of Mars Hill, led by Rob Bell. I've met several people who attended there from time to time, and I've always been suspicious of it. But just recently I learned what kind of "doctrine" they actually teach (denying the importance of the virgin birth; teaching universalism; denying the authority of scripture, or the reality of any form of constant truth). So, why would we let such call themselves Christians? Why aren't we horrified and publicly vocal about these errors, and the discredit that they try to bring to the name of Christ? Are we too weak and tolerant (or even worse, uncaring) to speak against such lies? Or are we to caught up in arguing and worshipping "our perfect church/denominations" distinctive, that we who hold to the forms of unity, cannot unite and publicly declare the truth about such things?


Ellie said...


A word to the wise re the Mars Hill comment. You need to have first hand information and not word of mouth re a particular church before you start the knife throwing act. If your incorrect in your second or third hand information your merely a heretic.

My comment re Mars Hill. Have not
attended and can't say first hand. Have numerous neighbors and persons I know from work who attend and see them living a well thought out life with God as their center. One of my Mars Hill neighbors and my family have adopted a muslim family whose husband and father died last June.We're helping them in any way we can and it has become an interesting project.The mom has become my friend and the most difficult issue
when speaking to her about Jesus, salvation and eternal life is that her own parents have died believing the muslim way. In one of our talks I remember her tearfully asking, What about my Mom? I replied, I have to trust God in his infinite wisdom to make the call on that. Was I supposed to say, Their cooking in Hell as we speak?
I been studying Sovereign Grace and frankly It's hard for me to accept that only some are chosen.I'm not finished and haven't defined my response and how it will impact my theology.I was raised to believe this.I think it is very important that we avoid passing Judgement.It is for God to decide. Where we get to heaven it will all be made clear. I'm thirsty for all the knowledge this site provides.But I'm constantly asking myself how does this impact how I'm going to live my life as I endeavor to reach a lost and dying world with the Good News of the Gospels. Blessings!!!!

Anonymous said...

No, I haven't personally attended Mars Hill. But Rob Bell was nice enough to put his doctrine and teachings in his book. lloyd.

Droll Flood said...

"Defending/representing wrongfully a guilty man for any of the above cited death punishable crimes: death penalty."
-Better qualified: Biblically punishable by death crimes.

-Despising the decision of a Judge:
Death penalty.

Smart Aleck said...

Just because someone is "nice" and "godly" doesn't mean their hearts are right with God, if you're doing the right things for the wrong reason that is still wrong.

But also just because the minister believes something doesn't mean that everyone that goes there believe it as well. Lloyd is right, there is an appathy in todays church, all is love and noone cares about the differance.

God does He is not only loving and gracious but He is also just and righteous. Sin MUST be punish either by ourselves or by Jesus Christ.

Yes, it is true that only God see the heart, but the Bible is VERY clear that there is only ONE way to heaven for sinful mankind and that is believing in Jesus the Son of God for your salvation and if you don't you will have to pay for your own sin in hell. We might not think that it is "loving" enough for God, but we need to be thankful that He gave us a way at all.

Ellie said...


I am very happy to know that I am forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.I humbly confess my sins before God and those I've offended.I'm joyful AND EFFERVESCENT at times in my proclamations re; my gift of salvation.The Holy Spirit at times fills me with confidence and comfort re my salvation. I want to share the Word!! You have greater knowledge and understanding of the scriptures.Your knowledge is important to me and I hunger to learn more.Please hold off on judging my joyful spirit........

I lift my hands and shout when I worship OUR GOD. One God with a diverse creation.Heaven is a big place. I know, so is hell but, can I let God be the judge of that?

Anonymous said...

What the hell is wrong with you?

Seriously... death for these crimes?

I'm terrified that people like you actually exist.

Nate said...


I do not hold the authority to put anyone to death. I am presenting our country's historic postition on the death penalty and what crimes were punishable by death.

I would agree with a lot of these though.

Which ones do you have problems with?

Lydia said...

Anonymous- If you think that what you have to say is of importance, and you want people to take you seriously, you need to leave a name and take credit for your kind words said to my husband.

Nathan- Which do you not agree with?
Some seem rather unnecessary and can be dealt with differently than ridding of the person, although most are biblical, eh?

Penumbra said...

I think several on the list may be too general in nature. They would encompass some crimes for which death as a punishment would not be biblical. Also, as I said previously, some are not biblical at all. In any case, perhaps Anon would like to define crime, punishment, and the principle of justice that stands behind his/her definition. Maybe he/she would also like to explain by what principles Nate is determined to be "wrong" or "terrifying." That would assist us in having an edifying discussion on justice, crime, and punishment.

Nate said...

I agree that the ones that relate to the civil realm are not biblical. I do not see any evidence for putting to death people that disagree with the state in certain degrees...

According to the one that mentions king Charles our revolution would have been illegal and immoral as well.

Scarlet Letter said...

They left out one crime that the Puritans were constantly guilty of-self righteous judgmental attitude towards anyone who thought slightly different than themselves-including fellow belivers. Sounds like some Calvinst today.

Nate said...


Could you give me an example of YOUR judgment towards the Puritans being jugmental towards others.

If you mean that they took a stand on issues...then you are right.

New England need revival said...

The Puritans lived in the 1600s. Let's take a look at what New England is like today. It is very secularized and liberal. Ma only has given us two of the most liberal Senators. It is the norm not to attend church on Sundays. Many of the churches there do not preach the gospel. It is home to Ivy League colleges that promote secular humanism and post modern thought that mocks Christianity. Vermont passed so called progressive laws such as Civil Unions among gay couples. Let's focus on the present and stop living in the past. We need to pray that God brings revival to this beautiful and vital section to the nation. It needs to go back to the Christian values it was founded on.

shawn said...

Let's focus on the present and stop living in the past. We need to pray that God brings revival to this beautiful and vital section to the nation. It needs to go back to the Christian values it was founded on.

You say to stop "living" in the past, but then talk about the founding Christian values?

I don't get it... but anyway,

I believe this post was more of a focus on the present by bringing to light that which was once held to and practiced.

There is no hope for the future if we do not recall the Works of God already done.

Your views are not new to Contemporary Christianity. But A-historical is not biblical faithfulness.