by email

in reader




First, the law (Deut. 13:6-9), concerning the stoning and killing of him, who shall secretly entice people, saying, “Let us go after other gods.” If it is said, that this law did bind the Jews only, and is not moral or perpetual, I answer, the reason and ground of the law, the use and end of it, is moral and perpetual (Deut. 13:11): "All Israel shall hear and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness, as this is among you." Yet some say that this law does not concern heretics, who believe and teach errors concerning the true God or his worship; but only apostates who fall away to other gods. In this I shall not much contend with him; only thus far, if apostates are to be stoned and killed according to that law, then surely seducing heretics are also to receive their measure and proportion of punishment. The moral equity of the law requires this much at least, that if we compare heresy and apostasy together, we should relax the punishment only so far as the evil is less; but the danger of contagion and seduction is as much or more in heresy than in apostasy; indeed, that which is called heresy is often a real following after other gods.
- George Gillespie, Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty (1644), at http://www.naphtali.com/articles/george-gillespie/wholesome-severity/