Skip to comments.Reformation and the Salem Witch Trials
Posted on 10/31/2002 10:05:55 PM PST by ppaul
SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS, October 31, 2002 - In the New England town of Salem, once considered the city of peace for the New World and the gateway to a glorious Christian commonwealth, the community prepares for the annual Halloween celebration, viewed by many as a triumph over the narrow-mindedness of Christianity. More than three hundred years after the now-infamous witch trials of 1692, Salem has become a Mecca for witches, as covens and practitioners of the occult arts gather from around the nation each October 31 to glory in paganism and identify with the city whose name has become synonymous with the "excesses of Puritanism."
Perhaps no event in American history has been used with greater success to disparage biblical Christianity than the Salem Witch Trials. But on the eve of this year's Halloween celebration, more than 150 pilgrims -- home educators from across the nation -- gathered in the ancient Salem graveyard as part of the Vision Forum Ministries Faith & Freedom Tour. They gathered to set the record straight and to reclaim for God the spiritual heritage of the town that once welcomed the great John Winthrop and his vision that Salem and all of New England would be a shining light and a "city set upon a hill."
The remarkable story of the Puritans was recounted by me, and Bill Potter, with a special presentation on the witch trials from Dr. Paul Jehle who brought rich insight and perspective to the events of 1692, as well as making numerous relevant applications for the present, including the following lessons:
LESSON NUMBER ONE: PARENTS WHO WILL NOT DISCIPLINE THEIR CHILDREN ARE a BLIGHT on the COMMUNITY
Most of the nineteen individuals convicted of witchcraft and executed during the Salem trials were innocent of the crimes of which they were accused. In each case, their convictions came as a result of questionable testimony from very young girls with an agenda. The girls who brought the false accusations of witchcraft were vindictive, emotionally driven, unaccountable minors who grew up in households where emasculated fathers refused to discipline their children or lead their families. Those who criticized the behavior of these girls often found themselves hauled before the court, themselves accused of witchcraft. During the entire process, the fathers of these girls were cowed into quiet submission. The consistent use of the rod by faithful fathers could have spared the lives of many.
LESSON NUMBER TWO: STICK to GOD'S LAW
The witch trials of 1692 were wrong, not because it was inappropriate to drive witchcraft out of the land, but because the Salem leaders broke the very law of God in their attempt to advance the kingdom of God. As a result, innocent people were wrongly convicted and executed. During the nine-month period of the witch trials, the Salem judges and jurors allowed emotionalism to be their law book. Long held common law principles pertaining to procedural due process were simply discarded during those months. Contrary to biblical and common law, spectral evidence like dreams and apparitions served as the basis for convictions, and capital convictions were granted on the basis of just one witness. Witchcraft was real in Salem and in Puritan New England. It was evil then, even as it is evil today. But Christians may not fight evil by resorting to pragmatic or emotional methodologies. Either God's law will reign, or man will live under a regime of chaos and emotionally-driven justice.
LESSON NUMBER THREE: JUDGMENT BEGINS in the HOUSE of the LORD
The Bible is replete with stories of great leaders, from Moses to David, who suffered but grew because of sin choices in their lives. God holds His leaders accountable to a high standard. This is the story of the Puritans. In many ways, the Puritans represent the high watermark of biblical Christianity in America. For more than one hundred and fifty years, their pervasive influence laid the spiritual foundation for freedom for a future nation. Their correct understanding that church and state needed to be separate, but that all three governments of the family, the church, and the state must be under the law of God, would influence the constitutions of the colonies and later the United States Constitution. Their influence helped to create the most literate and well-educated citizenries in the history of Western Civilization.
This positive influence helped to shape our nation and future leaders, but it is because of a nine-month departure from this commitment in the town of Salem, that for many their name continues to be associated with extremism. The departure from godly standards demonstrated by the Salem leadership during the trials allowed the Adversary to bring an evil report against the Puritans which continues to this day.
LESSON NUMBER FOUR: ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER for GOOD for THOSE WHO LOVE GOD
In the wake of the Salem trials, a miracle occurred. Several key individuals, including former judges and key witnesses, came forward to publicly repent for their actions during the trials. The public acknowledgement that the trials had been conducted in a sinful manner, that innocent individuals had been wrongly condemned, and that the law of God and its principles of procedural due process had been abrogated to accommodate the emotionalism of the masses was confessed.
Days of humiliation and fasting were proclaimed and the Puritan commonwealth humbled itself before the Lord. The result is what we now call "The Great Awakening." From the ashes and sin of the witch trials came a generation of people humbled before God and desirous of reconciliation with their Maker. America would soon be treated to the greatest of our revivals, an event which foreshadowed the rise of that chosen generation called by God to bear the torch of freedom for a newly-birthed republic.
The real story of the Salem Witch Trials is not that Puritans were extremists, or that it is wrong to oppose witchcraft. The real story is that God's people must oppose evil God's way. Witchcraft is evil, whether it is in the form of psychic hotlines or séances.
Glorification of the occult is evil. This is why it is not cute to see children dress up as witches and warlocks, or to identify with movie heroes who play with such occult powers, whether their names are Harry Potter or Gandalf. There is no place for the glorification of the occult in the lives of Christians or in communities which seek to honor the God of Scripture. We must realize that God was neither unjust, nor "puritanical," when he declared to Moses that the sin of witchcraft would be a capital offense.
For a fresh change of pace this October 31, remind your family that today is also Reformation Day, the anniversary of Luther's nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door. With the Reformation came a greater reliance on Holy Scripture and an opposition to the mysticism and superstitious bondage which had enslaved many for centuries. It is this firm foundation of the Word of God, not emotionalism or experientialism, which is the greatest antidote to the modern rise of the occult.
Let us learn from the past and press forward in our homes, our churches, and the gates of the land to be a submissive people to the great Lawgiver of all nations. Most of all, may we as a Church stick to the rule book. Rebellion, whether it is from professing Christians or pagans, is still like the sin of witchcraft.
POST RELIGION ARTICLES IN THE RELIGION FORUM
Their correct understanding that church and state needed to be separate, but that all three governments of the family, the church, and the state must be under the law of God, would influence the constitutions of the colonies and later the United States Constitution. Their influence helped to create the most literate and well-educated citizenries in the history of Western Civilization.
That ain't just religion baby.
That's American history.
Should that be "which has enslaved many for centuries."?
Official reason for death: Consort with the devil!
Real reason for death: being engaged to a lady who was desired by more powerful men.
This is why Premillennial theology is important.
Those who think they are going to build God's Kingdom on earth without Christ always turn into bloody killers, wheather it be Rome, Geneva, or Salem.
Incorrect! The closest thing we have today are the forces of political correctness from the Left, the Gaystapo, and the legions of lawsuit-filing Talibatheists!
That statement, is over-simplistic.
And don't forget old Adolf!
But they are all pikers compared to the one that is coming (Rev.13)
The premillennial heresy has other problems. The only way to go is the way of the Fathers: Amillenialism.
The 'Fathers' were Premillennial for the first 3 centuries.
Amillennialism started with the allegorical method of Origen and Augustine.
The most striking point in the eschatology of the anteNicene age is the prominent chiliasm or millennarianism that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in Glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years before the general resurrection and judgement. It was indeed not the doctrine of the church embodied in any creed or form of devotion but a widely current opinion of distinquished teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Ireanaeus, Tertuallian, Methodius and Lacantius; while Caius, Origen, Dionysisus, the Great, Eusbius as afterwards Jerome and Augustine opposed it.
For the first three centuries it was the domiant view.
With the combination of the Church and State, the view changed.
Note: this topic is from October 2002. But I figured you'd be interested. :')
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I recently read “The Heretics Daughter” written by a descendant of one the women hung during the Salem witch trials. Very good novel.
“I had this librarian friend who is related to the only man killed during the Salem witch trials.
Official reason for death: Consort with the devil!
Real reason for death: being engaged to a lady who was desired by more powerful men.”
I don’t know who told you this information, but this is the list of the 19 men and women who were hung as witches in the Salem Witch Trials:
George Jacobs Sr.
Many others died in jail before being hung. About 1/2 the town ended up in jail, but the trials came to an abrupt halt when Governor Phips outlawed Spectral Evidence.
Hmmm ...interesting (I never checked the list). The person who told me was some old lady who used to work in the Chambers Library at the University of Central Oklahoma, and she claimed that one of her ancestors was killed at the witch trials for those reasons, and he was the only man killed. It is impossible to follow up with her now, but those were her words.