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Bucer on Capital Punishment


In one of his less charming passages, Bucer acknowledges that the civil laws and penalties of the Old Testament are not binding in detail, only in substance, but goes on to insist in a thorough, across-the-board application of their stringent standards of capital punishment in a Christian commonwealth:
"For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord, so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms fo the way and the circumstances in which they are described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is certainly not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.
Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God; for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services; who violate the Sabbath; who rebelliously despise the authority of parents and live their own life wickedly; who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of a supreme tribunal; who have committed bloodshed, adultery, rape, kidnapping; who have given false testimony in a capital case."

That should give some great material for the theonomists to pounce on....if any of them are left....

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