The Inquisition...

The Inquisition: It is a most mis-understood term, of which persecutors of the Church that Jesus Christ founded like to bring up all the time. It would be better if these detractors would first check their facts, and get them straight before making their accusations. I intend to show this subject to be Biblical, and so before I begin, I ask all detractors who love GOD, and who claim to follow what Holy Scripture teaches, to open their Bibles and please read,
Acts 9:4, 1Cor 10:32, 1Cor 11:22, 1Cor 15:9, Gal 1:13, Gal 1:23, Gal 4:29, Eph 3:8, 1Tim 1:13.

Inquisition, what does the word mean?
Here is how one dictionary defines it.
1. It is the act of inquiring into a matter; an investigation.
2. A tribunal formerly held in the Roman Catholic Church and directed at the suppression of heresy.

Anyone found guilty of heresy was called a 'Heretic'.

Are there Biblical precedents for Inquisitions designed to root out heresy?
There certainly are:

Ex 32:1-35, This is the story of Moses and the Golden Calf incident. I will paraphrase instead of recounting this lengthy story. Moses came down from the mountain with the stone tablets (15) and found that his people had made for themselves a Golden Calf and they were worshiping it (19). They had become Heretics. Moses asked who was still loyal to the Lord and the Levites responded (26). Then Moses commanded the Levites to slay the ones who were not loyal to the Lord, and they did (27-29). This chapter is a clear message to ferret out Heretics from the midst of believers.

Deut 13:5-12, "The Lord, your GOD, shall you follow, and Him shall you fear; His commandment shall you observe, and His voice shall you heed, serving Him and holding fast to Him alone. But that prophet or dreamer shall be put to death, because, in order to lead you astray from the way which the Lord, your GOD, has directed you to take, he has preached apostasy from the Lord, your GOD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and ransomed you from that place of slavery. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or your intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nation, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your GOD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of it, shall fear and never again do such evil as this in your midst."

Deut 13:13-16, "If any of the cities which the Lord, your GOD, gives you to dwell in, you hear it said that certain scoundrels have sprung up among you and have led astray the inhabitants of their city to serve other gods whom you have not known, you must inquire carefully into the matter and investigate it thoroughly. If you find that it is true and an established fact that this abomination has been committed in your midst, you shall put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, dooming the city and all life that is in it, even its cattle to the sword."

Deut 17:2-7, "If there is found among you, in any one of the communities which the Lord, your GOD, gives you, a man or a woman who does evil in the sight of the Lord, your GOD, and transgresses His covenant, by serving other gods, or by worshiping the sun or the moon or any of the host of the sky against My command; and if, on being informed of it, you find by careful investigation that it is true and an established fact that this abomination has been committed in Israel: you shall bring the man (or woman) who has done the evil deed out to your city gates and stone him to death. The testimony of two or three (a tribunal. See definition 2 above) witnesses is required for putting a person to death; no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. At the execution, the witnesses are to be the first to raise their hands against him; afterward all the people are to join in. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."

Deut 19:18-19, "...And if after a thorough investigation the judges find that the witness is a false witness and has accused his kinsman falsely, you shall do to him as he planned to do to his kinsman. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."

Est 2:23, "And when Inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king."

Wisdom 1:9, "For Inquisition shall be made into the thoughts of the ungodly, and the hearing of his words shall come to GOD, to the chastising of his iniquities.

Isa 54:17, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, THOU SHALT CONDEMN. This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their justice with Me, said the Lord."

I realize that in the Old Testament, GOD was much harsher in His punishment of the man who was disobedient. However, the Old and the New Testaments are one continuous story. Remember, "The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New."

Matt 18:15-18, Jesus Christ Himself, told us to make Inquisition of a questionable person, and to a tribunal of persons, and look where He delegated the final authority, His Catholic Church.
"But if your brother sin against you, go and show him his fault (the
Inquisition first pointed out the error of the person being questioned), between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take with you one or two more so that on the word of two or three witnesses (a tribunal) every word may be confirmed. And if he refuse to hear them, appeal to the Church, but if he refuses to hear even the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and the publican."
Heathens were people who did not acknowledge the GOD of Judaism or the GOD of Christianity. Publicans were Jewish tax collectors who worked for the Romans. Consequently, they were hated by the Jews and were viewed as sinners. Another word to use for both is 'Heretic'.

Acts 20:28-31, "Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as Bishops, to rule the Church of GOD, which He has purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will get in among you, and will not spare the flock. And from among your own selves men will rise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Watch, therefore, and remember that for three years night and day I did not cease with tears to admonish every one of you."

1Cor 5:13, "For those outside GOD will judge. Expel the wicked man from your midst."

Tit 3:10-11, "A factious man avoid
after a first and second admonition, knowing that such a one is perverted and sins, being self-condemned."

Now when you speak of the Inquisition, you have to be specific as to which Inquisition you are referring. There were several of them which were spread over several countries of Europe, and which spanned a time frame of just over six centuries. Each was formed to counter a serious heretical threat to the Catholic Church. In order to properly understand the purposes of the convening of the Inquisitions, you should transport your thinking back to the times in which they began. You should be mindful of the customs of the people, know a little of their history, sense the pressures they were under, and understand the threats that were being made to the Church. You should also be aware of the history of the Catholic Church, of which, since its very foundation by Jesus Christ, has been (and is to this very day) under constant attack by heretics. The Church remembers well, the damage done by past heretics such as Montanus, Novatians, Manicheans, Donatists, Arians, Pelagians, Nestorians, Waldenses, Albigenses, Catharists, and literally hundreds more.
Every Christian, regardless of sect, owes a debt of gratitude to the
Catholic Church for repressing these heresies in the past, and for preserving Christianity for all. Jesus Christ certainly has fulfilled His word when He told us in Matt 16:18, that the gates of hell will NOT prevail against His Church. He will keep His word forever as we all know. Name another organization that has withstood the slings and arrows of thousands of attacks over a period of almost 2000 years, and yet has grown and prospered as has the Catholic Church?

"What then shall we say to these things? IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO IS AGAINST US?"
Romans 8:31

For if this plan or work is of men, it will be overthrown;
but if it is of GOD, you will not be able to overthrow it.
Acts 5:38-39

Since the Catholic Church has existed for almost 2000 years, and it certainly has been tried by Heretics, Jews, Romans, Protestants, the French Revolution, Hitler, Communism, and a whole host of others to overthrow it, then we are left with only two logical conclusions.
Either the Catholic Church is of GOD, or GOD's Word in Acts 5:38-39 is simply not true.

It is not my intention to present a comprehensive history of the various Inquisitions here, as it would take many pages for each of them.

(1) Medieval... 1233
This was considered to be the first of the Inquisitions. It was convened specifically to combat the Albigensian heresy. This was a cancerous heresy which threatened the very foundations of the Church.

(2) French....1306
This Inquisition was called again to combat the Albigensian (or Cathari) heresy.

(3) Spanish.....1478-1834
This is the Inquisition of which most detractors refer. It was initiated by the secular governments of France and Spain and with the approval of the Church at the beginning. Be it known that Spain had been under fierce attack from Moslems for over 700 years. (Read about the Spanish hero, El Cid, for more on these Moslem and Moor conquests). The Moslems were determined to convert Catholic Spain into a Moslem state by force of war. The purpose of the Inquisition was to ferret out Moslems and Jews who were causing social havoc by posing as faithful Catholics. Some were even masquerading as priests and bishops and they were attempting to lead the faithful away from the Church. Non-Catholics who admitted they were non-Catholics were not persecuted by the Inquisition.
Several Popes condemned the Inquisition, which had come under the control of the Spanish civil authorities, when it was brought to their attention that civil justice was giving way to cruel abuses. It was this insistent condemnation by the Popes which finally put an end to the Inquisitions.
No one knows the exact figures for sure, but it is estimated that there were less than 60,000 cases spread over a 356 year period until the Spanish Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834. This averages to less than 169 cases per year. Of this number, the vast majority were exonerated. According to modern scholars, approximately 2000-6000 from the Spanish Inquisition alone
*, and a total of 5000-9000 from all Inquisitions combined, for over the entire six century period were turned over to secular authorities for punishment or execution, but only after a second trial for a repeated offense. It is to be noted that the highest figure of 9000 is far lower than the total number of executions by the civil authorities of those countries which held Inquisitions in this same time frame. Not surprisingly, Protestant estimates of the numbers killed by the various Inquisitions are far higher (of course) with a range of as high as 300,000 to an astronomical 95,000,000**. That last figure, of course, is highly ridiculous, as that number is far higher than the entire population of all of Europe at the time. Records recovered from this era, support the figures of less than 60,000 cases total for all Inquisitions, as I have shown above, and there have been no authentic records found which support anywhere near the Protestant charges of hundreds of thousands, or millions of cases.
Go here for much more detail than I have recounted here: The Spanish Inquisition

* "Research has shown that about four thousand deaths occurred at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition during almost three centuries." Radio Replies 1:1069, Rumble and Carty.
**A Protestant book, "The Mystery of Babylon Revealed".

(4) Roman.......1542

This Inquisition was convened to combat the Protestant heretics soon after the start of the reformation. We all know the story of the censure of Galileo from this Inquisition in 1616. Pope John Paul II has recently declared Galileo's censure, and therefore his persecution by this Inquisition, to be in error. He has apologized for the part the Church had played in it.

To those who enjoy needling Catholics over this subject, I must remind you to look in your own backyard before doing so. I am reminded of the phrase, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
The Protestant history of persecutions, especially of Catholics, is not pretty. I have presented good reasons for the Inquisitions here. There seems to be no valid reasons for Protestant persecution of Catholics except for their desire to totally annihilate them. Here are a few examples...

King Henry VIII is responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 Catholics including hundreds of priests and Bishops. He had St. Thomas More executed in 1535. He even ordered the destruction of most of the uncorrupted bodies of saints in England. The only bodies that were not destroyed are the ones taken by Catholics and hidden from the persecutors.

John Calvin, one of the Protestant reformers, viciously persecuted Catholics as heretics. He persecuted others as well, and had a rival critic, Michael Servetus, burned alive in October 1553.

Queen Elizabeth I, had thousands of Catholics put to death in England. She ordered that Catholic Mary Queen of Scots be executed in 1587. She had thousands more killed in Ireland.

Oliver Cromwell is responsible for starting the English civil war and the subsequent beheading of Catholic King Charles I, and for the killing of thousands of Catholics in that war of 1642-1649.

Thousands of Catholics were murdered in Ireland by the English in the 19th century simply because they attended the Catholic Mass. The Protestant English redcoats were also responsible for confiscating the food from the Irish people and for leaving them only with potatoes which were blighted and unfit to eat. In the mid 19th century this caused the deaths by starvation of an estimated 1-1.5 million Irish Catholics, and the emigration of about 2 million more. It was a case of either leave the country or die of starvation.

How many thousands of women were burned at the stake after witch trials, by Protestant witch hunters, over several centuries, and throughout Europe and America? It is estimated that 30,000 went to their deaths in Britain alone, and another 100,000 in Protestant Germany
***. Interestingly, the Protestant mind-set in those times was that if the woman survived the burning, she was considered not to be a witch. Now just how many innocent women, do you think, survived this horror?

*** "Isabella of Spain", by William Thomas Walsh.
"The Golden Century of Spain", by R. Trevor Davies.

Isn't it strange that those who accuse the Catholic Church of convening Inquisitions, which I have shown to be Biblical and therefore were legitimate, never mention these Protestant atrocities, most of which when taken separately, far surpass the total numbers of deaths due to all of the Inquisitions combined?

Interestingly, in this writing, I have recounted an apology from the Catholic Church for the injustice which was done to Galileo. I have yet to see any Protestant apology for any of the injustices they have perpetrated against Catholics. The Catholic Church does not persecute Protestants, however, Protestants continue to persecute Catholics, as evidenced recently by Britains refusal to allow Catholics to ascend to the Monarchy. Protestant bigotry has lasted much longer than Catholic persecution has.

The deaths attributed to the Inquisitions pale immeasurably to the 1.2 million humans killed by abortion every year in the United States alone. Add to this figure the many more millions aborted from all of the other countries of the world. To those of you who attack the Catholic Church over the Inquisitions, I must ask, "Since it seems that you are concerned about human life, who is the most outspoken in the whole world in combating this 'culture of death' in which we live today?"
It is none other than the Catholic Church.

How can anyone who is so concerned about the value of human life of the past, not be concerned at all about human life in the present?
I would suggest that you should not be so concerned about something that happened hundreds of years ago, of which neither you nor I can do anything about, and channel your energy to join in attacking an evil of the present day, an evil that you can do something about, an evil going on right now, in your lifetime, and right before your very eyes. Join with the Catholic Church and funnel your energies to protest this present day genocide.
It is the greatest evil conceived by man since the Crucifixion.

Compiled by Bob Stanley, January 7, 2000
Updated March 4, 2006
A special thanks to Tim Brennan and Eric Ostmann for their historical input.

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