Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

Witchcraft and Children in Africa: How to Read the Bible Badly

Some African churches have taken a frightening literal
turn: accusing children of
witchcraft and torturing or killing them to purify their souls. 

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that more
than 15,000 Nigerian children have been accused of being witches
in the last
decade, with around 1,000 of those children murdered because of the
accusation.  These were not random
acts of violence.  Instead, family
members and pastors often executed their children claiming to literally follow
the biblical injunction, “You shall not allow a witch to live” (Exodus
22:18).   In addition,
thousands of children have suffered torture at the hands of “exorcists” who
charged their impoverished parents vast sums to cleanse their children of


In Eket, Nigeria, local police try to stop the worst
abuses.  But they confess, “We
cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here” and say that the
“vast majority” are involved in the practice.

Since the 2002 publication of historian Philip Jenkins’ fine
book, The Next Christendom, it has
become popular in some Christian circles to romanticize African Christianity as
more orthodox, spiritually vital, and morally pure than western
Christianity.   Although
Jenkins did not specifically say so (and it is a bit misreading to so claim),
his readers have often depicted western Christianity as a tired and corrupt
tradition awaiting the energy, insight, and vibrancy of a new Reformation
springing from Africa that would remake the Jesus-faith for the future.   Indeed, some critics of western
Christianity–as in the case of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.–embraced this
analysis so completely that they have forged ties with various African churches
in order to destroy the western forms of their denominations in favor of a new,
“more orthodox,” Africanized version. 


The combination of Jenkins’ argument and its politicization
by North American conservatives has sapped the confidence of some western
denominations–thinking that their historical day was somehow over in favor of
Christianity in other parts of the world.

But stories like this witchcraft story prove otherwise.  African Christianity is as vast and
diverse as American Christianity. 
Some of its most vibrant forms are its most progressive types–like the
theologies that fostered justice in South Africa or sponsored the Truth and
Reconciliation movements.  And, as
the Associated Press points out, some of its most regressive forms are its most
literal–like small town pastors who kill children they think to be


And it also shows that western Christianity–especially its
liberal and progressive versions–has something important to say in today’s world.  A few hundred years ago, western
Christians killed witches, too.  In
places like Massachusetts.  And
they also interpreted the Bible literally–“You shall not allow a witch to

Our ancestors figured out that was a stupid interpretation
and they embarked on a long theological quest to figure out what the Bible does
and does not teach, how to understand it dictums, to explore its context, to
discover the meaning behind the literal words.  This quest–the move from pre-critical Bible reading to a
critical approach to the Bible–framed much of Christian history during the
modern period. 


Contemporary Christians often take this quest for
granted–because it was so successful. 
Very few North Americans actually read the Bible literally.  Yes, there are those who believe in a
six-day creation, think wives should submit to husbands, or burn books in God’s
name.  But can you remember a time
when a person was excommunicated for eating pork or failing to cover her head
in church?  Have you ever seen
someone bring his slaves to church? Have you witnessed a Christian being
chastised for “touching the skin of a dead pig” (that’s in Leviticus–think
football) or walk around maimed because he cut off his hand due to sin?  Even the most conservative Christians
read selectively, metaphorically, and contextually–and they do so because the
liberal, critical approach to Bible reading has been so thoroughly accepted in
the west.


Critical reading is not the source of decline; it is the
source of great spiritual vibrancy.  And literal reading is not a source of spiritual wisdom or moral purity; it is the source of serious distortions of faith.  Approaching the Bible with a critical eye restores scripture to its
primary place as a collection of wisdom documents–the record of human experience
that maps our understanding of God. 
It isn’t a rulebook or a phone book or a history book or a science text
or a political science handbook. 
The Bible must be understood in its context, as a series of different
literary genres, as an inspired collection of ancient tales about life, God,
and faith.  In this way, it
possesses great insight into the human condition, about how to love, and about
wise living. 


Western Christianity is a great tradition.  We’ve done things wrong–that goes
without saying.  But we also are
full of life, insight, and wisdom from historical experience.  We’ve been around for a long
while.  We’ve learned a thing or
two.  Like it isn’t a good idea to read
the Bible literally.  That killing
and torture are wrong.  Always
wrong.  Especially in the name of
God.  Most especially when it
involves the innocent and oppressed. 

Once upon a time, western Christians tried to inflict our
views on Africans.  That, too, was
a bad idea and came from a misreading of the Bible.  But maybe if we shared what we’ve learned about God, Jesus, scripture,
and the Christian faith with humility and respect, we might actually be able to
help our African brothers and sisters avoid some of our stupidest

Comments read comments(49)
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Jay H.

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm

The third paragraph from bottom is the best summary of contemporary progressive Christianity I’ve encountered, both passionate and definite.

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Jay H.

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

The third paragraph from bottom is the best summary of contemporary progressive Christianity I’ve encountered, both passionate and definite.

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posted October 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Witchcraft was spoken against in the Bible, but not to kill the participants – only drive them from the Hebrew people. Sorcery is spoken against in Galatians 5:19-21 as just one of the things that will keep people from going to heaven.
As for how to read the Bible:
“… it isn’t a good idea to read the Bible literally.”
There’s an interesting concept.
If you start editing the Bible, where to you draw the line between fact and fiction? Here’s a few words from the NASB translation.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I submit that any changes invalidate the entire Bible. The words listed above are only a few of the tens of thousands in the Bible. Which ones could we delete?
The teaching of the Bible can be difficult to follow. It would be a great error to decide on our own which words are true and which are ones we don’t wish to hear.
Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

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John Dornheim

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Your comments in paragraph 3 are also applicable to some in the ELCA. It is a disturbing conclusion (not yours, but theirs).

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posted October 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I originally heard of these “purification killings” a few months ago. This is horrendous!
Certainly a misunderstanding of the Scriptures.
The teaching of “The spirit of the Law (Scripture) vs. “The literalism of the Law (Scripture) is a good thing to hold on to here. Of course, the Spirit of God has always been for the downtrodden, the slave, the oppressed, those treated unfairly, etc.
I do take exception to the Word of God being referred to as a “collection of tales”. That’s very offensive. Also offensive is the separation of God and Jesus. I do understand the point the author is making, though. Good article!

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Brian Griffith

posted October 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Diana,
I think the tension between merciless legalism and compassionate reasoning is alive and well in both Africa and the West, ever since Jesus faced the same struggle. We are all tempted to label other people as evil, and to solve our problems by getting rid of those we hate or fear.

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posted October 19, 2009 at 7:06 pm

To East Coast Commentator: Actually, the questiion is not whether the interpret scripture, but how. Words are symbols agreed to by a culture or society as having specific meaning. Even Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount discussed the difference between how the Pharisees interpret scripture and how he did from his relationship with God in “you have heard it said of old, but I say to you…” The issue that we face as a community of faith is how the words of scripture mature our faith in this mystery we call our relationship with God. None of us know the mind of God and need the humility to share with one another the understanding that God has given to us, as Paul says in Romans 12:3ff.

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posted October 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm

This whole post was pointless, because it’s based on a false premise. First, “taking the Bible literally” does not mean that you would interpret Exodus 22:18 as, “we need to find any witches and kill them.” For Christians, the Law of Exodus is the Old Covenant, and we are under the New Covenant (or testament). Taking the Bible “literally” includes having a full understanding of CONTEXT. A responsible interpreter should take the Bible literally, but understand that this means you interpret the text the same way the original hearers would interpret it (i.e. figurative language, euphemisms remain intact). A study of hermeneutics would be helpful before implying that “a literal interpretation of the Bible that conservatives want you to do leads to murder in Africa” – this IS the implication and purpose of this post, but once again, it is a moot point, due to the reasons I have already stated.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 8:58 am

If you’ve ever read The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs you eould understand that even Bible literalists cherry pick.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Ms Bass calls the purification torture and killing “a frighteningly literal turn.” Where in the Bible are such practices given for Christians? Bass cites Exodus 22:18, but a literal interpretation and application limits that verse to Israel. Note to Ms Bass: Nigeria is not Israel. Stop saying this torture and killing is a literal interpretation of the Bible
It constantly amazes what progressives slap the “literal” label onto. Is it sloppy thinking? Is it an innocent misperception. Or is it deliberate misrepresentation? In any case, it’s hard not to believe its purpose is to discredit any attempt to interpret the Bible in its plain, normal, and “literal” sense.
Do those of Bass’s ilk hate the Word of God, which she reduces to “an inspired collection of ancient tales” in her mind–do they hate the Word of God so much that they must impugn its plain meaning?
A literal approach to professing Christians who practice witchcraft (or practice progressivism, for that matter) would be dissociation, both by the local church and by individual believers. Someone who believes the Bible literally would never agree with these Nigerian saints but try to straighten them out by explaining to them how purification torture and killing is not for Christians and is not how church discipline is defined in the Word of God itself.
Progressives malign literalists by misdefining literalism.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Doc, let’s hear your definition of literalism before you accuse others of misdefining it.

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Morgan Jackson

posted October 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

In Africa, witchcraft is a huge problem. When people [or children] are labeled as witches, they are beaten, thrown out of their villages, hunted down, sometimes killed, and left with nothing. And it stems from many believers not being established in the faith through the Word of God.
The situation in Africa is symptomatic of what happens in cultures where the Word of God has not penetrated hearts. That’s what happens all over the world. People will hear and memorize one story or passage and build whole doctrines (or even denominations) on it, and leaders can mislead the people.
Fortunately, modern technology is helping overcome centuries-old barriers of poverty, distance, language, illiteracy, and culture. For the first time in history, we have the tools to reach every person in the world with the Word of God — no matter where they are.

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Miss N

posted October 21, 2009 at 4:15 am

Hallo Everyone
I am South African and I’ve read all your comments and how Africans should be ‘saved’. 1st and foremost Africa is a big continent, Nigeria is a country in Africa- killing of children or anyone for that matter is illegal in all African countries. What irritates me is the generalisation that people have about this exotic place called “Africa.”
Just like other continents, our cultures are different, we don’t believe in the same things and there are troublemakers in all the countries that tarnish the image of “Africa” but let us be mindful, the good surpasses the bad – its just that the media never covers it.
I totally agree with Sam, ‘This whole post was pointless’ becuase there is nothing Christian about it and its full of generalisation.
All over the world people are involved in Cults and claim that they are christians!

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posted October 21, 2009 at 4:51 am

If killing is “always wrong” then God was wrong to order the genocides in the old testament.
The fact is everything (including the Bible or what we think about it) is relative to the only absolute thing in the universe: God himself. He can promise destruction and this promise will fall if he changes his mind as he often does.
If we understand this and that God’s key controlling “virtue” is self-sacrificing love then everything else, doctrines, scripture, pastors etc. must be interpreted in this light. The problem in Nigeria is clearly a case of mistaken authority (the Pastors) over ultimate authority (God’s) in the light of self-sacrificial Love.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 4:54 am

There certainly are some details that one may argue about: what exactly is “African Christianity” and how does African Biblical Literalism differ from European / American Biblical Lteralism and so on. But I must say that there are some basic insights in this article that I can only confirm (comming from Europe but living in South Africa since 201):
– that African Christanity is a very broad phenomenon in terms of its cultural context, theological direction etc: Nigeria is not South Afrca (though both “Africa); there are so many brands of Christianity – even in our small town Polokwane – Pentacotals and ZCC, Luterans, Anglicans, Africna Independent Churches, Roman Catholics, 7th day Adventists and Charismatics – you name them… So who exactly represents “African Christianity”???
– there is – with some – a tendency to think that “more literal is better” when it comes to reading the bible; or, that in a situation, where literacy and education is an issue for many, anything beyond “literal” (whatever that means) is too sophisticated for the masses…
– I have had the privilege to study theology in South Africa (UNISA) and I can tell you that there are very capable scholars in SA, who are willing to engage deeply with the bible – instead of limiting it to literal readings
– but the main point seems to be: do Africans, in their attempt to follow the West have to repeat every error? That, to me, seems to be the key issue. And it is applicable to questions of “sustainable technologies” just as much as to hermeneutical principals of reading the bible.
Personally I do not think that there is a problem with applying a sound hermeneutics (i.e. one that does not get stuck in literalist – or other – idiosyncracies) and, at the same time, to be “on fire” in one’s reading (and application!) of the bible! And I belive, that it can happen here in Africa!
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrica!
Dr Lutz Ackermann

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Rev. Paulina

posted October 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I have read Jenkin’s book (it was ballyhooed quite a bit in 2002) because it did make some important points about the difference between Western & African Christianity, particularly on the tolerance for sexual diversity, the place of women, and the overriding importance of the male in the ceremonial aspects of the church. I wonder how different is this from the dramatics that often accompany certain pentacostal groups with publicly held “healings” and “exorcism” exercises. I have been party to two such exercises in my life, done by very serious practitioners with backgrounds in Bible, (RC) theology, psychology and medicine, and it took ten of us eight hours to help one afflicted woman. Although I do do “hands on” healing, an experience like the one cited above was so rare that I find it hard to talk about nor would I want to do it alone or as a regular thing. (p.s. it succeeded). Therefore, I was appalled to see Sarah Palin on a tape last year being “invoked” or protected from I guess “witch craft” by an African “minister” who drove a defenseless woman out of his own home village. So you can see that “Westerners” can be persuaded to this type of phenomenum, because it appeals directly to the emotions and the desire for some kind of “quick fix” spiritually. Also, it’s neat for purposes of personal vengeance.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 11:42 pm

This is one of the worst examples of any verse of scripture in the Bible being taken out of its context.In my opinion,no scripture should ever be taken out of its context!Better that they all be left alone and never acted on,than to be taken out of context!

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Muzi Cindi

posted October 22, 2009 at 7:01 am

As a South African I beg to disagree with the Africans who have decided to attack the messenger instead of dealing with the message. The atrocities committed in Nigeria may not be taking place in other African countries. However, we know that most of Africa is still steeped in bibliolatry – where the bible is worshipped above God. We are still enslaved by the stifling dogmas of traditional Christianity. Some of us still believe in literal Adam & Eve, literal virgin birth, literal ressurection, literal Satan, literal ascension, etc. These beliefs presuppose a delusion so profound that no amount of reasoning will ever erase it. Atheism is no longer a denial of the sacred but the denial of a particular conception of God as practiced by the Churches in Nigeria and other countries that still cling to a literal interpretation of all scripture.Literalism is the enemy of the emegring spirituality. Our skeptical scientific age will not be redeemed by the current biblical literalism. We all need to be born again! The 21st century is upon us.

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posted October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am

I found this article very disturbing. Instead of reading IN the Bible, it seems some are reading INTO the Bible – for their own extraordinary ends. While the Old Testament is a source of background for the coming of Christ, the coming of Christ threw oout the old for the new. Forgiveness, tolerance, love. This is the new message. Just a thought….

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posted October 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Why it is is possible for an institution to continue when its hierarchy and its supporters are openly aware of the implications and the results of incorporating the Decree Crimen Sollicitationis ( into the Canon Law of the Catholic church and they simply ask why is this the situation when all of us simply understand that religions are free to operate within our country so long as they abide by our laws.
The Decree simply states that the sexual and other crimes of the Catholic clergy must be kept a secret. This is obviously against our law as well as our notions of justice.
The linked document was re-enforced in 2001 when the following document was distributed globally to bishops of the Catholic church.
(English translation of original Latin)
sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
to Bishops of the entire Catholic Church
and other Ordinaries and Hierarchs having an interest
reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
[Translation of the text was printed in Origins 31:32, January 24, 2001, and posted at
In order to fulfill the ecclesiastical law, which states in Article 52 of the apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia, “[The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] examines delicts against faith and more grave delicts both against morals and committed in the celebration of the sacraments which have been reported to it and, if necessary, proceeds to declare or impose canonical sanctions according to the norm of common or proper law,”(1) it was necessary first to define the method of proceeding in delicts against the faith: This was accomplished through the norms titled Agendi Ratio in Doctrinarum Examine, ratified and confirmed by the supreme pontiff, Pope John Paul II, together with Articles 28-29 approved in forma specifica.(2)
At approximately the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, through an ad hoc commission established, devoted itself to a diligent study of the canons on delicts both of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in order to determine “more grave delicts both against morals and in the celebration of the sacraments” and in order to make special procedural norms “to declare or impose canonical sanctions,” because the instruction Crimen Sollicitationis, issued by the supreme sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on March 16, 1962,(3) in force until now, was to be reviewed when the new canonical codes were promulgated.
Having carefully considered opinions and having made the appropriate consultations, the work of the commission finally was completed. The fathers of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith examined the commission’s work carefully and submitted to the supreme pontiff conclusions on the determination of more grave delicts and the manner of proceeding to declare or impose sanctions, with the exclusive competence in this of the apostolic tribunal of this congregation remaining firm. All these things, approved by the supreme pontiff himself, were confirmed and promulgated by the apostolic letter given motu proprio beginning with the words Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela.
The more grave delicts both in the celebration of the sacraments and against morals reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:
-Delicts against the sanctity of the most august eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments, namely:
1. Taking or retaining the consecrated species for a sacrilegious purpose or throwing them away.(4)
2. Attempting the liturgical action of the eucharistic sacrifice or simulating the same.(5)
3. Forbidden concelebration of the eucharistic sacrifice with ministers of ecclesial communities which do not have apostolic succession and do not recognize the sacramental dignity of priestly ordination.(6)
4. Consecrating for a sacrilegious purpose one matter without the other in the eucharistic celebration or even both outside a eucharistic celebration.(7)
-Delicts against the sanctity of the sacrament of penance, namely:
1. Absolution of an accomplice in sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue.(8)
2. Solicitation in the act, on the occasion or under the pretext of confession, to sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, if it is directed to sin with the confessor himself.(9)
3. Direct violation of the sacramental seal.(10)
-A delict against morals, namely: the delict committed by a cleric against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue with a minor below the age of 18 years.
Only these delicts, which are indicated above with their definition, are reserved to the apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
As often as an ordinary or hierarch has at least probable knowledge of a reserved delict, after he has carried out the preliminary investigation he is to indicate it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which unless it calls the case to itself because of special circumstances of things, after transmitting appropriate norms, orders the ordinary or hierarch to proceed ahead through his own tribunal. The right of appealing against a sentence of the first instance, whether on the part of the party or the party’s legal representative, or on the part of the promoter of justice, solely remains valid only to the supreme tribunal of this congregation.
It must be noted that the criminal action on delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is extinguished by a prescription of 10 years.(11) The prescription runs according to the universal and common law;(12) however, in the delict perpetrated with a minor by a cleric, the prescription begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age.
In tribunals established by ordinaries or hierarchs, the functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests. When the trial in the tribunal is finished in any fashion, all the acts of the case are to be transmitted ex officio as soon as possible to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
All tribunals of the Latin church and the Eastern Catholic churches are bound to observe the canons on delicts and penalties, and also on the penal process of both codes respectively, together with the special norms which are transmitted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for an individual case and which are to be executed entirely.
Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.
Through this letter, sent by mandate of the supreme pontiff to all the bishops of the Catholic Church, to superiors general of clerical religious institutes of pontifical right and clerical societies of apostolic life of pontifical right, and to other interested ordinaries and hierarchs, it is hoped not only that more grave delicts will be entirely avoided, but especially that ordinaries and hierarchs have solicitous pastoral care to look after the holiness of the clergy and the faithful even through necessary sanctions.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 18, 2001.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
[Notes added from the Latin text]
[1] Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Constitutio Apostolica Pastor bonus, De Romana Curia, 28 iunii 1988, art. 52, in AAS 80 (1988) 874.
[2] Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, 29 iunii 1997, in AAS 89 (1997) 830-835.
[3] Suprema Sacra Congregatio Sancti Officii, Instructio Crimen sollicitationis, Ad omnes Patriarchas, Archiepiscopos, Episcopos aliosque locorum Ordinarios “etiam Ritus Orientalis”: De modo procedendi in causis sollicitationis, 16 martii 1962, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis MCMLXII.
[4] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1367; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1442. Cf. et Pontificium Consilium De Legum Textibus Interpretandis, Responsio ad propositum dubium, 4 iunii 1999.
[5] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1378 § 2 n. 1 et 1379; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1443.
[6] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 908 et 1365; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 702 et 1440.
[7] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 927.
[8] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1378 § 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1457.
[9] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1387; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1458.
[10] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1388 § 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1456 § 1.
[11] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1362 § 1 n. 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1152 § 2 n. 1.
[12] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1362 § 2; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1152 § 3.

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Sebastian Joseph

posted October 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I was horrified by the news of children being killed in the guise of being witches. This is the problem of literal “reading of the bible”. Let us accept that the bible was written by various people at different era using their own words unlike some “evangelical and orthodox” believe that God himself directed and “authored” the bible literally -including the choice of words. This is the reason why in ‘dark ages’ people like Galileo (his daughter was subjected to torture)were tortured . The purpose of Bible is not to teach science, but Love of God. If this is considered by one and all this kind if aberration would not take place.

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Sebastian Joseph

posted October 22, 2009 at 10:41 pm

The Inquisition (by both Catholic and Protestants) was one of the greatest disasters ever to befall mankind. In the name of Jesus Christ, church mounted an enormous effort to kill all “heretics” in Europe and Britain. Heretics is defined whichever way church wanted it defined; it ranged from people who disagreed with official policy, to Hermetic Philosophers [Black Magick Practitioners], to Jews, to Witches, and to the Protestant reformers.
Slaughtering one’s enemies is clearly rotten spiritual fruit. During the early part of His ministry, Jesus was approached by two of His disciples — James and John — who had just returned from preaching the Gospel message throughout parts of Israel. These two disciples were upset, for some entire towns had refused to even hear their message; they asked the Lord:
“Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” [Luke 9:54]
Jesus was horrified. He replied:
“You do not know of what sort of spirit you are, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them from the penalty of eternal death.” [Luke 9:55-56; Parallel KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]
Let us repeat that most pertinent phrase: “the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives”.
Nowhere in Holy Scripture did Jesus ever slaughter anyone who disagreed with him, nor did He ever advocate any of his followers doing so. Neither does any Apostle give this command to the Church later in the New Testament.
In another passage, Jesus reveals the kind of sweet spirit He is introducing to the world. Listen:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good — not harsh, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant) and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” [Matthew 11:29-30; Parallel KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]
Our precious Savior never ordered anyone to be slaughtered for any reason, especially for hardness of heart against His message, nor for disagreeing with Him on spiritual matters. But — and this is a very big ‘but’ — pagans regularly move to slaughter their opponents, usually with great relish and hardness of heart. In such slaughters, murder is not enough; rather, before the victim dies, pagans absolutely relish inflicting maximum pain upon their victims. White and Black Magick practitioners believe that the pain inflicted before death transfers great occult power to them, so they try to draw out a person’s death as long as possible, inflicting the greatest amount of pain possible before death comes.

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