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
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
1. It is the act of inquiring into a matter; an
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
there Biblical precedents for Inquisitions designed
to root out heresy?
There certainly are:
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
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."
"...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
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
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."
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
"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
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'.
"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
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
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?
shall we say to these things? IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO IS AGAINST US?"
"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.
ELSE PERHAPS YOU MAY FIND YOURSELVES FIGHTING
EVEN AGAINST GOD."
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.
Catholic Church is of GOD, or GOD's Word in Acts 5:38-39 is simply not
It is not my intention to present a
comprehensive history of the various Inquisitions here, as it would take many pages for each of
(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.
This Inquisition was called again to combat the Albigensian (or
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
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".
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."
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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,
Updated March 4, 2006
A special thanks to Tim Brennan and Eric
Ostmann for their historical input.
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