In a sermon on the Salem Witch Trials, Pastor Matthew Trewhella of the Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin analyzed a number of facts and perceptions surrounding this event from early American history.
The minister did a superb job in pointing out that not as many lost their lives in this tragedy as is commonly believed and the role played by Christians such as Cotton Mather in actually bringing this outrage to an end.
Somewhat disturbing was his contention that the civil magistrate should not allow those of that deviant creed to meet publicly as they do here in America.
It is correct that in the Old Testament that the theonomic covenant commanded that Israel was to drive practitioners of these beliefs from the land to the point of execution if need be.
However, we do not see that approach being taken in the New Testament.
For example, instead of physical force being used to repel these abominations, what we see transpiring in the more Gentile context in which the Apostles operated was apologetic confrontation where the errant beliefs were exposed and the alternative of the Gospel offered.
Furthermore, if the Christian magistrate suppresses conscience in this area deemed offensive, on what grounds do they protest when they find their beliefs being persecuted and oppressed?
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.