of Religious Toleration & Freedom
Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Theology
Southwestern Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, 1978
The author was privileged to deliver the 1976 Day-Higginbotham Lectures at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas on 10‑12 February 1976. This lectureship was established in 1965 by an endowment fund donated by Mrs. Edwin M. Reardon III, of Fort Worth, as a memorial to the late Paul Clanton Higginbotham and to Mr. and Mrs. Riley Day. The author wishes to express his gratitude to Mrs. Reardon and to the president and faculties of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the opportunity to explore both the classic advocacy of and the contemporary situation concerning religious freedom.
The first and second of the three Day-Higginbotham Lectures appear here in slightly revised form. The author is especially indebted to Dr. E. Bruce Thompson, Dr. Bill L. Lanning, and Mr. Edward N. Curtis for their valuable assistance in bringing these lectures to their present form.
James Leo Garrett, Jr., Baylor University, February 1978
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PART THREE -- “Religious Freedom: Why and How in Today’s World,” has been published in Southwestern Journal of Theology 18 (Spring 1976): 9‑24.
Parts One and Two are shown here with permission and that their viewing is at no charge and that there is no violation of copyright, as Professor Garrett retains all copyrights to Parts One and Two. Part Three with permission from Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth. Placed into HTML and book-marked by MG Maness.
“We must obey God rather than men.” These words of Peter (Acts 5:29), addressed to the Jewish Sanhedrin rather than to Roman imperial authorities after the apostles had been admonished “not to teach in this name [of Jesus]” (5:28), has served as the primal apostolic text to which all subsequent Christians could refer and from which they could draw courage if and when they faced a conflict of allegiances: divine and human, heavenly and earthly, eternal and temporal, ecclesial and civil. For more than three centuries most of the early Christians lived, witnessed, suffered, and died in a political context hostile to their faith. Then in the fourth century A. D. came the double changes of toleration and establishment within the Roman Empire--events which some later Christians interpreted as the “fall” of the church. These changes were soon to be followed by the suppression and persecution by use of civil power of those who were not Catholic Christians. In later centuries Christendom was to participate in the Crusades, to justify the just war, and to inflict and suffer the Inquisition.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the more significant and representative writings in advocacy of religious toleration and religious freedom during the classic period of such literature—the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries—and in the light of such investigation to consider the whether, the why, and the how of religious freedom during the last quarter of the twentieth century.
The histories of religious toleration or freedom have generally embraced the leading monographs, compacts, treaties, constitutions, public documents, and events pertaining to that history.1 The scope of this study is much more limited: it focuses on key monographs by individual authors. It does not embrace the literature of confessional minimalism or of Christian reunion, even though such seems to have affected the struggle for toleration and liberty. This study will, however, be more inclusive than the scope suggested by Alfred North Whitehead's statement in Adventures of Ideas: “The apostles of modern tolerance—in so far as it exists‑‑are Erasmus, the Quakers, and John Locke.”
Peter Chelčický (1390?‑late 1450s?)
Peter Chelčický (1390?-late 1450s?) was a south Bohemian Christian writer and leader who went beyond the heritage of John Hus and the stance of the Prague Hussites and refused to embrace the militant chiliasm of the Taborites but served as the conceptual forerunner of the Unitas Fratrum. He pioneered the recovery of the doctrine of apostolic nonviolence and applied such to religious wars and persecution. The first of The Four Articles of Prague, finalized in 1420, specified the free and unhindered proclamation of “‘the Word of God . . . by Christian priests in the kingdom of Bohemia,’” but such language, as J. K. Zeman has noted, probably meant “the freedom of Hussite propaganda.”
Early in the 1420s, in his treatise On the Holy Church Chelčický declared:
For God did not, through his apostles, ordain a king for the Holy Church, to bear her tribulations on his sword, to fight for her against her enemies, and through force to make that Church serve him. Nor did he give her judges or magistrates, so that the Holy Church might come before them and litigate over the goods of this world. Nor did he give her bailiffs and hangmen, so that some members of the Holy Church could hang others, or torture others on the rack, for the sake of material things‑‑this is for the pagans and for this world.
In his treatise On the Triple Division of Society, written in 1424 or 1425, Chelčický sharply differentiated the secular order with its societal divisions from “the order of Christ,” the one functioning “through power and under compulsion” and the other “through love and good will.” Hence
setting up a physical lord over themselves with the sword, to chop off all the dead limbs and to drive others against their will, to put others in prison, to torment people and enslave them, just as he likes--this is as far from the words of St. Paul as the throne of Lucifer is from that of Christ.
The mixture of Christian faith with secular power resulted in the violent taking of life in numerous ways, but such “doctrine” was of Jewish or pagan, but not Christian, origin.
If he [Christ] had wanted people to cut each other up, to hang, drown, and burn each other, and otherwise pour out human blood for his Law, then that Old Law could also have stood unchanged, with the same bloody deeds as before.
During the early 1440s Chelčický, the village sage, wrote his “most mature and most representative work,” The Net of Faith a treatise on the relation of the Christian, the church, and the state. The book's framework is an allegorical interpretation of the miraculous draft of fish recorded in Luke 5:4‑11. The “net” is the Christian faith, or the faith in Christ that leads to salvation. The net has encompassed not only many believers but also numerous “adverse” fish. The net remained untorn for three centuries but at the time and by the act of the Donation of Constantine two great whales, the emperor and the pope, entered the net, turned about in it, and tore it “so that little of it remains.” The two whales “spawned many scheming schools” that further tore the net. The pope abandoned apostolic poverty and tried to rule in pagan fashion both believers and the world. Only he could validate the ministry of other priests, the pope claimed. He took to himself divine prerogatives, i.e., the forgiveness of sins, and he multiplied the number of laws that were contrary to God's law. Likewise, the emperor was guilty of infiltrating the net with paganism and pagan rulership. Civil authority operated by coercion, which is contrary to the love of Christ. A true Christian cannot be civil ruler‑over either true fellow Christians or the strayed, disobedient ones, because coercion and brotherly equality and love are incompatible. War and bloodshed are not Christ's way. Hence the coercive method of civil authority and the persuasive method of Christ must be kept distinct. Strictly speaking, The Net of Faith is not a book devoted to the subject of religious freedom, but it contains a critique of that use of force which prevails in state‑churchism and would increasingly evoke the laments, protests, and appeals of the advocates of toleration or of freedom of conscience during the next two centuries.
Desiderius Erasmus (1466‑1536)
Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), the great humanist and irenicist “with deep roots in the devotio moderna, who was critical of, yet loyal to, the Roman Catholic Church, is normally treated in the history of religious toleration. Perhaps his greatest contributions to toleration were his quest for the foundational or essential Christian doctrines and his vigorous advocacy of peace. Kamen has contended that “for Erasmus, as for other contemporary humanists, toleration was not an ideal; it was only a means towards securing that religious harmony for which all Christians yearned.”
According to Bainton, Erasmus “magnified the non‑essentials [in dogma] in order to enlarge the area of beliefs immune to persecution.” But neither minimal doctrine nor peace as treated in the works of Erasmus can be traced in detail here.
Erasmus did not produce a major monograph on religious toleration but did treat the subject in various treatises and letters. The magistrate, he wrote in 1513, should cautiously use the death penalty for any offense and should attempt to reclaim the guilty. In writing to Paul Volz in 1518 he proposed the formulation of “a kind of resume of the whole ‘philosophy of Christ’” and said: “Those who would receive such instruction . . . would understand that they had found fathers, not tyrants; shepherds, not robbers; that they were called unto salvation, not dragged into slavery.” Erasmus declared in a treatise published the same year, in commenting on Isaiah 42: 1‑3 and Matthew 12:18‑20:
Here one hears no mention of tortuous syllogisms, nor of threats and thunderbolts; no mention here of troops armed with steel, nor of bloodbaths and burnings. But you do hear of gentleness, of kindness towards the weak in whom there is still some hope of the fruits of goodness. . . . Who, then, does not see that if the Christian commonwealth has fallen into a state of decadence, it must be defended and saved by the same means which helped it to be born, to grow, and to establish itself.
Erasmus commented on the proper treatment of Martin Luther when he wrote to Albert of Brandenburg, archbishop of Mainz, in 1519:
[I]f he is innocent, I would not like to see him crushed by evil factions; if he is in error, I would like to see him cured, not lost. Such conduct would agree better with the example of Christ who . . . did not extinguish the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed.
Many of the theologians “do nothing but constrain, destroy or extinguish,” despite Augustine's ancient disapproval, concerning the treatment of Donatists, of “those who satisfy themselves with compulsion, instead of giving instruction.” Even the treatment of heretics had changed:
Formerly the heretic was given an attentive hearing. If he explained himself satisfactorily, he was absolved; if after conviction of heresy he remained obstinate, his supreme penalty was to be excluded from communion with the Church. Nowadays the crime has changed its character; for any futile reason they shout at once: ‘Heresy! Heresy!’
The increase of persecution was a mark of the church's fall from apostolic purity.
Erasmus interpreted the parable of the tares so that the “servants” desiring to root out the tares in the present age contrary to the intention of the “householder” were those who wrongly claimed that the false teachers and heretics should be put to death. He deplored coerced faith in a letter to John Carondolet (1523):
When faith is in the mouth rather than in the heart, when the solid knowledge of Sacred Scripture fails us, nevertheless by terrorization we drive men to believe what they do not believe, to love what they do not love, to know what they do not know. That which is forced cannot be sincere, and that which is not voluntary cannot please Christ.
Both to Philip Melanchthon, a Protestant, and to Duke George of Saxony, a Catholic, Erasmus wrote in 1524 of “the futility of persecution.”
In a treatise on the errors in the censure by Noël Beda (1526) Erasmus cited Jerome and Chrysostom as opposed to putting heretics to death. “Is it a law of the Church to cast anyone into vengeful flames? For the ancient bishops the extreme penalty was excommunication.” Citing Augustine of Hippo Regius, Erasmus held that if heretics should “disturb the public peace,” magistrates “should curb” them. But inquisitorial methods employed by bishops and theologians were often unjust. Beda had failed to “distinguish between ecclesiastical censures and capital punishment inflicted by civil law.” However, the parable of the tares did not prevent princes, only church officials, from punishing heretics.
I will not favor a milder treatment of one whom I know to be a heretic, that is, one who errs maliciously, who is factious and incurable. I do not urge clemency for heretics to the point that I become one myself.
After 1526 Erasmus boldly proposed “a temporary, but legalized, tolerance towards the Lutherans,” not unlike the cuius regio eius religio of 1555, but the appeal fell on deazo ears. Imperial usage of force on heretics “is indeed a bad remedy which kills more patients than it saves.”
Another treatise critical of inquisitorial methods appeared in 1528 in reply to Spanish monks. Imprisonment and burning of heretics were contrary to the mercy of Christ, but Erasmus defended the appeal by Catholic bishops to the emperor in opposition to the Donatists and Circumcellions on the ground of the “unsufferable fury” and “intolerable savagery” of the latter. Erasmus assessed the transfer of responsibility for heretics from ecclesiastical to civil authorities as “mere subterfuge” and contended that the sixteenth‑century treatment of heretics was more severe than the late patristic or the early medieval. But John Chrysostom had allowed various forms of restraint of heretics, although not the death penalty. In 1529 Erasmus declared:
If Paul were here today he would not disapprove of the state of the church, I think, but would lament the vices of men. . . . These vices, however, are to be corrected without tumult, and we must take care lest the remedy be worse than the disease.
Bainton has reckoned with the question as to whether Erasmus retrogressed on religious toleration. Leading evidence may be derived from his treatise on the Turkish War of 1530, in which he responded to a protest against persecution by stating, “Not that I condemn the present severity which is perhaps necessary.” Nevertheless, the religious and ethical‑rational aspects of the Erasmian writings on persecution and toleration were destined to impress and influence later advocates of toleration.
Balthasar Hübmaier (1481‑1528)
Of a different character were the relatively brief thirty-six articles entitled Von Ketzern und ihren Verbrennen (Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them and written by the former Catholic theologian who had become Anabaptist pastor in the upper Rhine Austrian‑ruled town of Waldshut, Balthasar Hübmaier (1481‑1528). Composed while Hübmaier was in refuge in the Benedictine monastery of Schaffhausen in Switzerland and published in the German city of Constance during late September or early October 1524, these articles presented the burning of “heretics” as a Satan‑inspired evil. “Heretics,” according to Hübmaier, were “those who deceitfully undermine the Scriptures” or “those who conceal the Scriptures and interpret them other than the Holy Spirit demands.” The law prescribing that they be burned “builds up both Zion in blood and Jerusalem in wickedness,” and “the inquisitors,” among whom the Dominicans were predominant, were “the biggest heretics of all,” since their action is contrary to “the teaching and example of Christ,” who came to give “abundant” life. Hübmaier interpreted the parable of the tares (Matt. 13:24‑30) to mean that both the “wheat,” or the orthodox, and the “tares,” or the heretics, were to “grow together until the harvest,” for then God would judge the heretics. Consequently, in the present era heretics, even including Turks, ought to be persuaded and convinced by “strong proofs and evangelical reasons,” not burned, though some may become hardened in their heresy. Efforts to justify the burning of heretics were an alteration of the Scriptures, and the only sword rightly to be used by Christians against “the godless” is the Bible. Civil authorities ought to “put to death criminals” but not heretics, including atheists. While it was “a disgrace to kill a heretic,” it was a “greater offense to burn to ashes the faithful preachers of the Word of God without conviction or arraignment by the truth.”
Henry C. Vedder at the beginning of the twentieth century referred to Hübmaier's articles as “the earliest plea that has come down to us for complete toleration.” But more recently Torsten Bergsten has written of the document:
It has been called the most outstanding apology for the idea of toleration which the sixteenth century has brought forth. Originally, however, the theses were not intended as a theoretical justification of universal religious freedom but as self‑defense.
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When Hübmaier explained in the articles concerning heretics, that the civil authority has no power over faith, he gave expression to a common conviction of the Reformers. . . . For this type of religious freedom Hübmaier became an early and zealous advocate. His conduct as an Anabaptist leader in Waldshut and Nikolsburg however, yields the conclusion that he was not prepared to concede to each individual the right to bring into a city or territory a different persuasion of faith. No more than the remaining Reformers can one call Hübmaier a defender of the unlimited individual freedom of religion in the modern sense of the word.
If Bergsten is correct, Hübmaier's contribution centered in exposing the antichristian character of burning heretics.
John Brenz (1499‑1570)
But the evil of burning “heretics” was also deplored by a leading representative of the Lutheran Reformation, John Brenz (1499‑1570), who ironically became “one of the principal sixteenth‑century architects of the Lutheran territorial state church (landesherrliche Kirchenregiment)” and one who “assigned to the office of Christian magistrate that which Luther . . . had assigned to the congregations, that is, full responsibility for the external ordering of the church.” Brenz, the town preacher in Schädbish‑Hall from 1522 to 1548, in 1528 wrote a treatise entitled Ob ein Weltliche Obrigkeit in Göttlichen und billichen Rechten die Widertäoruffer durch Fewer oder Schwerdt von Leben zum todt richten lassen möge? (Whether a Secular Magistrate by Divine and Equitable Rights May Allow the Anabaptists to Be Sentenced through Fire or Sword from Life to Death).
Should magistrates, Brenz asked, put to death “by fire or sword” those guilty of the “fanatical heresy” of the Anabaptists on the basis of the imperial law against rebaptism dating from Theodosius and Justinian I? Brenz's negative answer hinged on his distinction between “spiritual” and “civil” offenses. The former, such as “unbelief, misunderstanding of Scripture, heresy . . . [and] covetousness,” ought to be punished only by spiritual means, i.e., “the Word of God.” On the contrary, the “civil” offenses, notably “treason, murder, robbery, theft, [and] adultery,” ought to be punished “by the sword of the emperor.” The civil sword, when used against heretics, would “entrench the devil” and confirm the heretics in their heresy but not “disclose” their “secret sin.” Only the gospel and the Bible could truly expose heresy. Hence heretics who were not criminals should not have inflicted on them civil punishment. The “tyrannical use” of the civil sword multiplies Anabaptists. Brenz contended that the law against rebaptism in the Justinian Code referred only to rebaptism by Catholic ministers, applied only to those apprehended in the very act of baptizing and survives only in an excerpt. The Swabian Lutheran leader identified the parabolic “tares” as “unbelievers and heretics” and recognized as legitimate the ecclesiastical excommunication of heretics. Brenz asked, “if heresy were to be expelled by force what point would there be in studying Scripture?”
Kantzenbach has contrasted Brenz’s “word of mildness” with Melanchthon's Augustinian justification of the use of the sword against Donatists and has noted Brenz’s opposition both to “the performance of the death penalty” and “to the toleration [Duldung] of the sects.” Consequently, Steinmetz can assert that “Brenz is not an advocate of tolerance in the modern sense,” for the state “has the right to forbid heretics from preaching and may even compel the children of Anabaptists to be baptized against the express wishes of their parents.” But Brenz's distinction between spiritual offenses and penalties and civil offenses and punishments was an important step toward that fuller toleration.
Sebastian Franck (1499‑1542)
Sebastian Franck (1499-1592), the rational Spiritualist in his Chronica, Zeÿtbuch und Geschÿhtbibel (1531), added to the consideration of the bodily punishment of “heretics” the element of a reversal of judgments, human and divine, temporal and eternal. Franck quoted approvingly Jerome's statement “'that the bodies of many are revered on earth whose souls are tormented in Hell.’” The “world,” said Franck, “holds as heretical anything, no matter how right and true, which opposes its abomination.” Hence the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and the apostles, Peter Waldo, John Rokyczana, John Wyclif, and John Hus “were condemned as heretics.” In Franck's era “many are regarded as heretics and punished, whom future generations will revere as saints.” Franck feared “that many good Christians have been numbered among the heretics.” Rejecting any progressive amelioration of society, Franck declared: “Subsequent generations always build and garnish the tombs of the prophets, Christ, and the apostles and yet ever, like the Jews, fill up the measure of their fathers.” Moreover, “if I had the choice I should prefer to be among those whom the world condemned as heretics rather than among those who have been esteemed as saints.” Contemporary persecutors are in accord with neither the gospel nor the “Catholic doctors.” Unfortunately books by “heretics” have been destroyed. Such destruction has made a fresh, undistorted appraisal of teachings so-called “heretics” impossible. Franck found that Augustine of Hippo, Regius, Chrysostom, Bede, and Anselm of Canterbury had interpreted the parable of the tares so as to apply to the non‑punishment of heretics. Heretics, therefore, are to be “Punished only by excommunication” or possibly by banishment, but to use the sword against them is to return to Moses.
Menno Simons (c.1496-1561)
Persecution of the Anabaptists constituted a major theme in the writings of Menno Simons (c.1496‑1561), the former Roman Catholic priest who, after the Münster debacle, gathered together and shepherded the Obbenite Anabaptists of Holland and northern Germany. Menno hardly set forth a formal theory of toleration or of religious freedom but repeatedly appealed to civil authorities for toleration and interpreted for his fellow Anabaptists the experience of persecution.
To throttle the “truth” and to defend “lies” “with the sword” is not the way of Christ. “For this is the real disposition and conduct of Antichrist: to employ slander, arrest, torture, fire, and murder against the Spirit and Word of God.” In his “Foundation of Christian Doctrine” (1539) Menno appealed to the magistrates on the basis of the irrationality of man's persecution of his fellow man and the limitation of coercion by magistrates to criminal offenses.
Do not excuse yourselves, dear sirs, and judges, because you are the servants of the emperor. This will not clear you in the day of vengeance. . . . Serve the emperor in imperial matters, so far as Scripture permits, and serve God in divine matters. . . . Do not usurp the judgment and kingdom of Christ, for He alone is the ruler of the conscience, and besides Him there is none other. Let Him be your emperor in this matter and His holy Word your edict, and you will soon have enough of storming and slaying. You must hearken to God above the emperor, and obey God's Word more than that of the emperor.
Can persecutors rightly claim to belong to Christ's true church?
0 Lord, if it were true that this vast church were Thy holy church, bride, and body as they boast it to be, then we might truthfully assert that Thou art the prince, bridegroom, and head of an abominable, detestable band of murderers who seek after the innocent blood of those who sincerely seek, fear, love, and serve God.
Menno despaired of finding a true Christian magistrate.
When I think to find a magistrate who fears God, who performs his office correctly and uses his sword properly, then verily I find as a general rule nothing but a Lucifer, an Antiochus, or a Nero, for they place themselves in Christ's stead so that their edicts must be respected above the Word of God.
Yet he also declared that
we seek, desire, teach, and preach that all magistrates, emperors, kings, dukes, counts, barons, mayors, knights, junkers, and burgomasters may be taught and trained by the Spirit and Word of God that they may sincerely seek, honor, fear, and serve Christ Jesus . . . .
Menno also appealed to magistrates to cease their persecutions.
Dear lords, look out, the hour is fast approaching that . . . the impartial, righteous Judge of all our affairs will judge and give sentence; then you will discover too late whom you have persecuted and pierced. Therefore, rouse yourselves in time, fear God, reflect, and reform while it is still called today.
By 1552 Menno identified persecution unto death as “the manifest work of Satan and found it necessary to answer false charges against Dutch and north German Anabaptists: that they were Münsterites, that they would not recognize and obey the magistracy, that they were engaged in revolutionary sedition, that they practiced community of goods, and that they practiced polygamy. Menno's “The Cross of the Saints” (c.1554) proved to be a manual on persecution. Indeed, the persecution of the godly, originating with Cain and Abel, extends throughout history until Christ's parousia. The contemporary persecutors “are not Christians but an unbelieving, carnal, earthly, wanton, blind, hardened, lying, idolatrous, perverted, malicious, cruel, unmerciful, frightful, and murderous people, who by their actions and fruits show that they neither know Christ nor His Father.” They are persecuting the Anabaptists, explained Menno, because of the manifestation of divine grace and the transformation of lives among the persecuted and because Anabaptists are supremely loyal to Christ and test religious teachings and practices by the norm of Scripture, a document replete with examples of the persecution of the godly. But bearing the cross in persecution is the role of true Christians.
Sebastian Castellio (1515?‑1563)
“Michael Servetus was burned in Geneva, at the instigation of John Calvin, for anti‑Trinitarianism and Antipaedopabtism in the year 1553.” Thus Roland H. Bainton has succinctly identified the event that was to evoke one of the most significant treatises in the entire history of the advocacy of religious freedom, an anthology entitled Concerning Heretics by Sebastian Castellio (1515?‑1563), former associate and co‑laborer with Calvin in Strasbourg and in Geneva but by then a resident of Basel, alienated from Calvin and living in semi‑poverty.
Castellio's pen was not the first to respond to the burning of the Spanish physician‑theologian. David Joris (?‑1556), the Flemish‑born chiliastic Anabaptist who had left his followers, the Davidians, and had become a refugee in Basel under an assumed name, had written a letter to the magistrates, probably late in 1553, in which he declared that Jesus forbade persecution and in which he warned the preachers involved in turning over Servetus to the civil authorities to “avoid the sin against the Holy Ghost.” If “free rein were given” to “kill heretics,” there would be a massive loss of life among competing religious groups. Admonition or banishment should have been the severest punishment inflicted on Servetus, wrote Joris, if indeed he “is a heretic or a sectary before God.” Persecutors act “in the time of their ignorance and blindness similar to Paul’s.”
By 1551 Castellio had completed a translation of the Bible into Latin. Its preface, dedicated to the young King Edward VI of England, insisted that “there is much in Scripture which we do not understand and hence about which we should not persecute” and pointed to yet to be fulfilled biblical predictions which should discourage the passing of “hasty judgments.” “We declare that we are not allowed to kill anyone,” wrote Castellio, “yet we deliver men to Pilate and if he releases we say that he is no friend of Caesar.” This “is done through zeal for Christ and . . . in His name,” thus covering “the cruelty of the wolf with sheep's clothing.” Instead of following the patterns of toleration in Judas Maccabeus, Moses, Gamaliel, and Paul, persecutors “pull up the tares.” Moreover, “it is absurd to wage spiritual war with earthly arms. The enemies of the Christians are the vices which are to be cured by the virtues. The office of the doctor [i.e., teacher] is not to be committed to the executioner.” “If we suffer Turks and Jews to live among us” and also various kinds of immoral people, “we ought at least to concede the right to breathe the common air to those who confess with us the same Christ and harm no one.” In the “Preface” to his French translation of the Bible (1555) Castellio called for the cessation of persecution and martyrdom on the basis of an analogy: the ending of a battle at nightfall lest friends be killed instead of enemies and for the same precaution the silencing of the artillery in daytime when hand to hand combat has begun.
Concerning Heretics: Whether They Are to Be Persecuted and How They Are to Be Treated; A Collection of the opinions of Learned Men Both Ancient and Modern, a refutation of the burning of Servetus, appeared in 1554 one month after Calvin's Defence had appeared. The anthology contained passages from certain Church Fathers, Luther, Brenz, Erasmus, Franck, and others and passages attributed to one “George Kleinberg” and to “Basil Montfort.”
The “Dedication” to Duke Christoph of Württemberg was attributed to one “Martin Bellius.” Modern scholarship has tended to regard Kleinberg, Montfort, and Bellius as pseudonyms of Castellio, although Castellio may have been assisted by others. The “Dedication,” according to Rufus M. Jones, “is one of the mother documents on freedom of conscience from which in time came a large offspring.”
Christ is the Prince of this world who on His departure from the earth foretold to men that He would return some day at an uncertain hour, and He commanded them to prepare white robes for His coming, that is to say, that they should live together in a Christian manner, amicably, without controversy and contention, loving one another.
But instead disputes over the person of Christ, the Trinity, predestination, and free will, have engendered pride and led to condemnation and persecution-- “banishments, chains, imprisonments, takes, and gallows.” Those striving “to prepare the white robe,” if deviating from the majority on any dogma, have been ruthlessly put to death, the action being attributed to the “will” of Christ. But will Christ at his coming, the prince was asked, commend such activity? Ought Antipaedobaptism to be treated as a crime? Let the persecutors examine their own consciences and lives. A man may be falsely accused of being a “heretic,” and the punishment of a genuine “heretic” may be too severe. Indeed Christian history shows that “persecution has always accompanied genuine religion.” Moreover, Christians, “when elevated to riches and power, degenerate” and, betraying Christ, “defend Mars and convert true religion into force and violence.” People tend to apply the label “heretic” to all “with whom” they “disagree,” whether or not their contrary teaching is accompanied by great moral offenses. Jews and Turks are not to be condemned but won “by true religion and justice” and mercy. Professing Christians, moreover, ought to be able to live together with their disagreements until reaching a true unity. If Christ were a persecutor, we would reckon him “a Satan.”
Deploring the bloodshed of the contemporary wars of religion, Castellio as “George Kleinberg” argued that if heretics are indeed the “tares,” then they should not be put to death but Left to the harvest, and, on the contrary, if the “tares” should mean criminals, the stay of their executions until the end of the age would mean that “the world could not endure” with such rampant crime. “He who suffers persecution for the faith is either correct or mistaken. If he is correct he should not be harmed. If he is mistaken he should be forgiven.” But the “bloodthirsty” are “drunk with the cup of Antichrist.”
Under the pseudonym “Basil Montfort” Castellio accused the promoters of persecution of collecting and misusing biblical texts to “enflame princes to bloodshed.” Castellio sought “to answer the arguments of the persecutors” in order “to open their eyes” so “that others may not be deceived by their authority.” He then dealt with specific texts, especially in the Pentateuch and in Acts, in an effort to show that they do not advocate death for “heretics.” Castellio noted that the office of the magistrate and the office of the minister are “vastly different” and not interchangeable, as Calvin himself had taught, and hence the magistrate ought not to “kill by the sword those whom the minister ought to kill by the word.” Nor can the citation of the “examples and decrees” of Roman emperors “for the punishment of heretics” sustain the contemporary case for persecution, because there were emperors who avoided cruel religious persecution: Gratian, Valentinian, Valens, and Theodosius. Furthermore, “to resort to force even in civil matters is a confession of quilt and a lack of confidence in the justice of one's case.” Christ's wisdom needs “no other weapons.” Castellio stood, it would seem, in the succession of Abel, not of Cain. Those who persecute for religious beliefs are Ishmaelites. Even as the “younger and weaker” Isaac could not persecute Ishmael, so “Christians, because they are born after the Antichrists, are weaker and are not able to persecute the Antichrists.” Even as Sarah did not cast out Ishmael but asked her husband Abraham to do so, so also the contemporary church ought not to cast out or punish “the ungodly,” i.e., heretics, but rather to ask God or Christ to do the same in the eschatological judgment.
In his Counsel to France in Her Distress (1562), wherein he warned that the effort to restrain religion would bring ruin to the nation, Castellio made appeals both to the Catholics and to the Evangelicals. To the Catholics he wrote: You have severely persecuted the Evangelicals for the “crime” of not accepting the pope, the mass, and purgatory, which are not mentioned in the Bible. Do you profess as Catholics “to maintain the Catholic faith contained in the sacred Scriptures” and yet burn “heretics” who wish to believe only what is in the Scriptures? For this you will have to answer to Christ the Judge on the last day. To the Evangelicals he wrote: You formerly endured persecution with patience, loving your enemies and returning good for evil. But now some of you are fighting with carnal weapons; though Christ's commandment is unchanged, you “shed blood,” “force consciences,” and “condemn as infidels those who do not agree with your doctrine.” In so doing you follow your “enemies” and violate the Golden Rule. Of both Catholics and Evangelicals who engage in violence Castellio asked whether they would want to have their consciences forced. Catholics by persecuting Luther and Lutherans had multiplied their numbers, and Evangelicals had been blessed of God so long as they “fought with spiritual arms.” Alas, Zwingli took the sword and perished by it! Here is the dilemma; if the persecuted goes against his conscience, he will be finally “damned”; if he goes with his conscience, he will lose his property and his life.
In the same year (1562) Castellio, using the pseudonym “Vaticanus,” produced his Reply to Calvin's Book in Which He Endeavors to Show That Heretics should be Coerced by the Right of the Sword. Calvin's program, Castellio contended, would result in the extermination of all non‑Calvinists except Jews and Turks. Christ's rule (Matt.‑l.8:15‑17) is private admonition, the taking of witnesses, and the report to the church; but Calvin's rule is admonition, prison, and the magisterial rod. He asked Calvin,
If Servetus had attacked you by arms, you had rightly been defended by the magistrate; but since he opposed you in writings, why did you oppose them with iron and flame? . . . And do you dare upbraid the Papists? Produce a single instance in which the Panists dragged a Lutheran or Calvinist from Mass to prison as Servetus among you was dragged from a sermon.
Castellio countered: “To assert one's faith is not to burn a man, but rather to be burned.” Indeed in Christ's kingdom the “sword is not admitted . . . save to kill Christ and His disciples. There are those who bear the sword as ministers of God, but to punish malefactors, not to erect the kingdom of Christ.” As if reaching his peroration Castellio, declared:
To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a
When the Genevans killed Servetus they did not defend a doctrine;
they killed a man. . . . What has the sword to do with doctrine?
Castellio answered successively Calvin's attempt to use as support for sixteenth‑century persecution of “heretics” Jesus, driving of the moneychangers from the temple, Peter's “striking” Ananias and Sapphira “with sudden death,” and Nebuchadnezzar's application of the death penalty to those who blasphemed the God of Israel. Calvin tried to attach to the literal interpretation of the parable of the tares the charge that it would destroy all church discipline, and he downgraded the advice of Gamaliel on the same ground. Both Calvin and “the sects,” declared Castellio, claim that “their religion” has been “established by the Word of God.” Both wish to judge the truth. “Who made Calvin judge of all the sects, that he alone should kill?” But, it should be noted, Castellio did not advocate religious freedom for all. Those whom he called “the impious, the despisers of Sacred Scripture and blasphemers” could be rightly “punished by the magistrate, not on account of religion‑‑they have none‑‑but on account of irreligion” to the extent of imprisonment, “in the the hope of correction.”
Bainton understands Castellio’s “theory of religious liberty” as the result of the confluence of two streams: “the ethical and rational, borrowed largely from Erasmus” and “the spiritual and mystical taken from Sebastian Franck and the German mystics.” According to the ethical, “deed is more important than creed” and “deeds must be the test of creeds.” According to the rational, “We do not know enough to persecute.” According to the spiritual, religion is a thing of the Spirit, which the carnal can neither judge nor create.” According to the mystical, “the way of salvation” and hence the way to God “is the bearing of the cross,” or the way of suffering. By combining the two, or indeed four streams, according to Bainton, Castellio avoided both the “rabid anti-clericalism” that may result from “rationalism” and the “strident prophetism” that may issue from “mysticism.” Whereas Johannes Kühn has attributed the limits which Castellio placed on toleration to a predominantly natural ethic, embracing “the competence of the magistrate,” Bainton has attributed such limits to Castellio’s quest of those few fundamental beliefs that would “allay religious controversy,” but the acceptance of which he still regarded as mandatory in western society. Bainton's basic criticism of the Castellionian view is, however, at the point of the inviolability of conscience. “Castellio was not so penetrating as his friend Ochino, who asked, ‘How about a conscientious tyrannicide?’”
Bernardino Ochino (1487‑1565)
Bernardino Ochino (1487‑1565), “the sometime Capuchin general turned Evangelical Rationalis” who had fled from Italy and had found exile in Switzerland, the Germanic lands and England, and was even later to flee to Poland and to die in Moravia, wrote at the age of 76 in Zürich and had published in Basel in 1563 Dialogi XXX between Pope Pius IV and Cardinal Morone, then in prison. Deploring “the burning of Servetus in Geneva and the drowning of Anabaptists in Zürich” and “citing the parable of the tares and Gamaliel's exhortation to the Jews,” Ochino rejected the use of force in matters of faith and advocated the toleration of “[e]ven the most serious errors.” “A lost sheep should be brought back lovingly to the ninety and nine, not slaughtered.”
Jacob Acontius (? - 1566/1567)
Another Italian Catholic refugee wrote a major treatise on toleration within the same decade. Jacob Acontius (?-1566/1567), who had left a secretaryship to Cardinal Madruzzo and fled to Basel and Zürich and thence to Strassburg, where he encountered English Marian exiles with whom he returned to England after Elizabeth's accession, had become a military engineer, a member of the Spanish Church of the Refugees in London, and a friend of Adrian Haemstede, minister of the Dutch Church of the Refugees. Haemstede's support of the petition of certain refugee Dutch Anabaptists to be able to hold separate meetings, which petition was turned down by Bishop Grindal, led to his excommunication and banishment from England. Acontius, whose Stratagems of Satan was published in Basel in 1564 [imprint, 1565], and who, like Haemstede, held to certain basic Christian beliefs and allowed great latitude respecting other beliefs, was also excommunicated by Anglican authorities and subsequently died in London.
Acontius's Stratagems of Satan affords “historical proof of the failures to force men's conscience and belief” and hence is more than a treatise on “the theory and ethics of tolerance.” In contrast to Castellio's optimistic view of human nature, Acontius was a pessimist or realist. Acontius held that “the end and aim of Christian teaching is eternal life” and that the chief aim in a “Christian assembly” is the prevailing of truth, not the prevailing of one's own opinions. But Satan is seeking “to divide the church into factions, to stir up seditions, [and] to set up tyrannies.” The parable of the tares ought not to be interpreted to mean that “Christ does not here do away with any kind of rigour” or that only the destruction of the tares by war is intended. Rather the “tares” are heretics and the “seeds” of the devil consist of “false dogmas.” Since a heretic may in the future “re turn to his right mind,” he ought not be killed. Forced recantation by heretics against their consciences is not the answer, and coerced confessions of faith cannot be justified. Acontius did not indicate to what extent, if any, his espousal of toleration would include the adherents of non‑Christian religions. Whereas Erasmus had pointed to the need for a list of minimal or essential Christian beliefs, Acontius actually composed such a list.
Jean Bodin (1529?1530?‑1596)
Whereas for the first three‑quarters of the sixteenth century the advocacy of religious toleration was almost entirely the work of theologically trained authors, the last quarter of that century witnessed an increasing interest of certain political theorists in the subject. Jean Bodin (1529?1530?‑1596), who had taught law at Toulouse and then had in 1571 entered the service of the French king's brother, Francois duc d'Alencon, had embraced the position of the politiques, namely, “that the state is primarily concerned with the maintenance of order and not with the establishment of true religion.” This position had a decade earlier been publicly expressed by Michel de 1'Hospital, the chancellor of France.
In 1576, four years after the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Bodin published his La République, or Six Books of the Commonwealth. In discussion of treating censorship he affirmed that “reverence towards God . . . should be the first and principal care of every family and every commonwealth” and that magistrates should “give every assistance” to “popes, bishops, and ministers of religion.” Furthermore, the “neglect of religion encourages the insidious growth of the detestable sect of atheists” and results in the multiplication of crimes. Bodin even warned of the “danger” of the loss of ecclesiastical censure “as a result of its excessive use.” While dealing with the avoidance of seditions he could write after a half century of wars of religion:
But once a form of religion is accepted by common consent, further disputation should on no account be admitted.
The role of religion in stabilizing the state and society should. be evident,
Even atheists agree that nothing so tends to the preservation of commonwealths as religion, since it is the force that at once secures the authority of kings and governors, the execution of the laws, the obedience of subjects, reverence for the magistrates, fear of ill‑doing, and knits each and all in the bonds of friendship. Great care must be taken that so sacred a thing should not be brought into doubt or contempt by dispute, for such entails the ruin of the commonwealth.
But Bodin stopped short of religious coercion.
But if the prince who has assurance of the true religion wishes to convert his subjects, split by sects and factions, he should not . . . attempt to coerce them. The more one tries to constrain men's wills, the more obstinate they become. But if the prince in his own person follows the true religion without hypocrisy or deceit, without any use of force, or any infliction of punishments, he may turn his subjects' hearts.
Even the Turkish king in contemporary Europe afforded an example of the lack of religious constraint, as did the ancient Arian king of the Goths, Theodoric. But if princes should take the alternative of coercion, the coerced “end by becoming atheists.”
Once they have lost the fear of God, they trample under foot the law and the magistrate, and give themselves over to every sort of impiety and wickedness, beyond the power of any human laws to remedy. And just as the cruellest tyranny does not make for so much wretchedness as anarchy when neither prince nor magistrate is recognized, so the most fantastic superstition in the world is not nearly so detestable as atheism. One must therefore avoid the greater evil if one cannot establish the true religion.
Bodin's argument, then, is that a measure of religious toleration is preferable to that coercion which breeds atheism, which in turn undermines the stability of the commonwealth. Kamen has referred to Bodin's toleration as being “in practice but not expressly in principle.” Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Bodin did express a principle of toleration but in terms of expediency.
Much later, probably in 1593, Bodin wrote Colloquium Heptaplomeres, which, although not printed until the nineteenth century, consisted of a dialogue in which seven speakers (a Catholic, a Calvinist, a Lutheran, a convert to Islam, a Jew, a syncretist, and a defender of natural religion) discussed philosophical and theological themes, including arguments in favor of religious toleration. The diverse group could only agree that future religious disputations would not be profitable and, in the words of Lecler, “to leave to each his own personal religion as long as he has one and is sincere about it.
Caspar Coolhaes (1536‑1615)
The Dutch Calvinist phase of the toleration controversy was opened by the publication in 1580 of the Apologia of Caspar Coolhaes (1536‑1615) of Leiden, in which he insisted that “‘we can and readily should tolerate all those who still live in the darkness of papism and similar sects as long as they do not commit acts of rebellion or other crimes which public authority is in duty bound to punish.’” Support for toleration also came from the anonymous tract by the Dutch humanist and “nominal Catholic,” Dirck Volckertzoon Coornhert (1522-1590), Iustificatie des Magistraets tot Leyden in Hollant . . .(1579), which branded the civil interferences of the Reformed presbyteries a “new papacy” and advocated toleration for even Roman Catholics and atheists. In 1582 Coornhert, who had been influenced by Sebastian Franck and possibly also by Castellio, published Synodus, or van der Conscientien vryheyt, a dialogic account of an imaginary synod called to deal with doctrinal errors in reference to religious freedom in which the authority of civil government to deal with dogmatic questions was denied.
John Althusius (1557‑1638)
Limited toleration was advocated at the beginning of the seventeenth century by a major Calvinist political philosopher, John Althusius (1557‑1638). Born in Westphalia, Althusius had earned doctorates both in civil and ecclesiastical law at Basel and had also studied theology before becoming professor of law in the Reformed Academy at Herborn in 1586. While in that professorship he published in 1603 Politica methodice digesta, atque exemplis sacris et profanis illustrata, a thousand‑page treatise on political administration. The next year he accepted the office of “syndic,” or chief magistrate, of the city of Emden and continued in that office until his death thirty‑four years later. After 1617 Althusius served as an elder in the Emden Reformed church.
In his Politics, which is grounded on the concept of “‘symbiotic association,’” or that “community of men living together and united by real bonds” later to be institutionalized in compacts or covenants, Althusius combined the pattern of an established Reformed church with restraints on persecution that can be described as limited toleration. He discouraged ecclesiastical schism on secondary theological issues and held that the “authors of schisms” should be handled more severely than their followers. In expounding common law, as distinct from “proper” or statutory law, Althusius insisted that the “Decalogue has been prescribed for all people to the extent that it agrees with and explains the common law of nature for all peoples.” The roles of magistrate and clergy are distinct and mutually supplementary, but the magistrate by divine mandate and according to human reason has a role in church administration. Among the magistrate's ecclesiastical functions are “the conservation of the church, of divine worship, and of schools” and “their defense against enemies, persecutors, and disturbers.” According to Althusius, Jews are to be allowed to live within the political realm and to engage in business with Calvinists but forbidden to have synagogues, intermarry with Christians, encourage Christians to participate in Jewish rites, have extended social life with Christians. Roman Catholics born within the realm ought to be permitted residence but denied parish churches and intermarriage and close social life with Protestants. Heretics who espouse “heresies” that “tear up the foundation of faith,” like the ancient Arians, are to be punished by magistrates “with exile, prison, or the sword” so as not to “infect, ruin, or corrupt” the faithful. But heretics who embrace heresies that “do not overthrow the foundation of faith,” like the ancient Novatians, are to receive no severer punishment than ecclesiastical excommunication, if “convicted” and “admonished.” Moreover, the magistrate is not to “claim imperium over that area of the faith and religion of men that exist only in the soul and conscience. God alone has imperium in this area.” “For this reason, faith is said to be a gift of God, not of Caesar. It is not subject to the will, nor can it be coerced.” “Those who err in religion are . . . to be ruled by . . . the sword of the spirit” and “entrusted to ministers” of orthodox Christianity. If they commit civil offenses, they are indeed subject to the magistrate, but history demonstrates that persecution produces “seditions and tumults.” Magistrates may have to allow heresies lest they by suppression “bring ruin to the commonwealth.” But, lest Althusius be identified with the conception of religious freedom, it should be noted that Althusius taught that open and public “atheists,” “epicureans,” “libertines,” and even those “who deny, break, or call into doubt the articles necessary for salvation” are not to be tolerated. Heretical books are not to be imported or sold, and “atheists” and “heretics” are not to be allowed to hold office in the church or in schools or to hold secret “conventicles.”
Thomas Helwys (? ‑1615?)
The earliest appeal for universal religious liberty to be made in England and indeed all Europe seems to have been issued by Thomas Helwys (? ‑1615?), the Nottinghamshire country squire who had joined John Smyth in reconstituting an exiled Separatist congregation in Amsterdam on believer's baptism and apart from Smyth had led back to England in 1612 a small company that would later be known as General Baptists. The same year he issued a monograph entitled A Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity, addressed to King James I of England. Consisting of successive polemical discourses against Roman Catholicism, the Church of England, Puritanism, and Separatism, the book identified the Roman and Anglican churches as the first and second beasts of Revelation 13 and found in the Roman communion the fulfillment of the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:7ff), i.e., “the use and abuse of temporal power by a religion[,] thereby proving its own falsity.” Helwys repeatedly addressed King James:
Will the King challeng to himselfe to sitt upon the throne of David and to judg Israell? wee . . . meane, will the K[ing] have the same power now over the church & house of God, that the Kings of Israell had under the law?
If King James is to claim ecclesiastical power, the king of Spain and the late Queen Mary of England would have comparable claims. Consequently,
then our lord the King will easily see that as Queene Mary by his sword of Justice had no power over hir subjects consciences (for then had she the power to make them all Papists . . .) neither hath our lord the King by that sword of justice power over his subjects consciences: for all earthly powers are one and the same in their several dominions.
Helwys even advocated freedom of choice in religious allegiance, for
is it not most equall, that men should chuse . their religion themselves seeing they onely must stand themselves before the judgment seat of God to answere for themselves, when it shal be no excuse for them to say, wee were commanded or compelled to be of this religion, by the King, or by them that had authority from him.
English subjects have their consciences forced on the interpretation of the Bible by the bishops. Hence, according to Helwys, the king ought to “take his sword out of these lord B[ishop]s hands. Indeed,
our lord the King is but an earthly King, and he hath no authority as a King but in earthly causes, and if the Kings people be obedient & true subjects, obeying all humane lawes made by the King, our lord the King can require no more: for mens religion to God, is betwixt God and themselves; the King shall not answere for it, neither may the King be judgd (i.e., judge) betwene God and man. Let them be heretikes, Turks, Jewes, or whatsoever it apperteynes not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.
No words in the book are more forceful than the preface:
Heare, 0 King, and dispise not ye counsell of ye poore, and let their complaints come before thee. The King is a mortall man, and not God[:] therefore hath no power over ye immortall soulles of his subjects, to make lawes and ordinances for them, and to set spirituall Lords over them. If the King have authority to make spirituall Lords and Lawes, then he is an immortall God, and not a mortall man. 0 King, be not seduced by deceivers to sin so against God whom thou oughtest to obey, nor against thy poore subjects who ought and will obey thee in all things with body[,] and goods, or els[e] let their lives be taken from ye earth. God save ye King.
Helwys was imprisoned and presumably died in prison within three years. The Mistery of Iniquity was followed by three other tracts on religious freedom by General Baptist authors: Leonard Busher's Religious Peace: or a Plea for Liberty of Conscience (1614) and two works probably written by John Murton: Objections Answered of Dialogue (1615) and A Most Humbel Supplication of Many of the King’s Majesty’s Loyal Subjects (1620). Busher majored on the antichristian character of persecution, Murton on the inapplicability of Old Testament laws to the contemporary issue of coercion within the age of the gospel.
Three types of conclusion are in order: a summary, two observations, and a preview of the advocacy of religious freedom in the subsequent period.
With Chelčický there was introduced the fallenness of the church in state‑churchism and the advocacy of nonviolence together with recognition of the great evil of the use of force by Christians. Erasmus pointed to the identification of minimal or essential Christian beliefs, advocated peace in place of war, and held to the desirability and practicality of nonviolent treatment of so‑called “heretics.” With Hubmaier came a stress upon the evil, Satanic, and ineffectual nature of the burning of heretics. Brenz introduced the distinction between ecclesiastical offenses and civil offenses, while Franck stressed the reversal of judgments, human and divine, temporal and eternal. For Menno Simons the persecutors were not true Christians, whereas bearing persecution was the way of true discipleship. Joris cautioned about the massive loss of life from rampant coercion of “heretics.” Castellio combined ethical, rational, spiritualist, and mystical perspectives in a major synthesis which provided a case for toleration. Ochino would follow the better way: lovingly seeking and restoring “heretics.” Acontius argued that church history and Scripture, rightly understood, weighed heavily against coercion in religion, and the same Acontius provided a list of six basic Christian beliefs. Bodin in France favored limited toleration as preferable to the coercion which leads to atheism which in turn undermines the commonwealth. Coolhaes and Coornhert extended toleration to Roman Catholics and atheists, provided they were not in civil rebellion. Althusius in a Reformed context favored a rather limited toleration with a two‑level treatment of heretics because faith could not be coerced, but the magistrate still had various religious functions. For Helwys the king was a mortal man, not God, and hence had no rightful dominion over religious faith so as to usurp Christ's lordship over the church, and religious freedom was to be extended to non-Christians as well.
These authors who wrote in behalf of toleration or freedom from Chelčickỳ to Helwys were all professing Christians, even though Bodin is said to have become a Deist. Not until Spinoza (1670) does one find a writer with Jewish rootage.
How much knowledge these writers had of their predecessors and whether there was any direct or appreciable influence of earlier writers on later writers is problematic. Castellio, of course, did collect and quote at length the pertinent statements from the writings of Church Fathers, Reformers, and Erasmians, and his Concerning Heretics seemingly influenced Ochino and Acontius. But any more precise conclusions concerning possible conscious indebtedness to preceding authors await research that extends beyond the present study.
With Helwys the advocacy of religious toleration began to be paralleled by the advocacy of universal religious freedom. Subsequent writers would include tolerationists, but hereafter full religious freedom appeared more and more to be the goal. Hence we turn to that epoch which began with Roger Williams and closed with Vatican Council II.
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PART THREE -- “Religious Freedom: Why and How in Today’s World,” has been published in Southwestern Journal of Theology 18 (Spring 1976): 9‑24.
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a Cf. Francesco Ruffini, Religious Liberty,
trans. by J. Parker Heyes with preface by J. B. Bury (New York: G. P. Putnames Sons; London:
Williams and Norgate, 1912);
Joseph Lecler, S. J., Toleration and the Reformation,
trans. T. L. Westow, 2 vols. (New York:
Association Press; London: Longmans, 1960); Henry Kamen, The Rise of Toleration, “World
University Library” (London: Weidenfei‑dan
1b (New York: Macmillan Company, 1933), p. 63.
 The neglect by the modern historians of religious liberty of “the land of Hus” and its contribution has been noted by J. K. Zeman, “The Rise of Religious Liberty In the Czech Reformation,” Central European History 6 (June 1973): 129‑30.
 Ibid., pp. 132‑33.
 “On the Holy Church,” trans. Howard Kaminsky, in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, vol. 1, ed. William M. bowsky (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964), pp. 170‑71.
 I.e., secular authorities, clergy, and common people.
 “On the Triple Division of Society,” trans. Howard Kiminsky, in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, vol. 1, ed. William M. Bowsky (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964), pp. 143, 160‑61.
 Ibid., pp. 146‑47, 139‑40.
 Enrico C. S. Molnár, “A Study of Peter Chelčický’s Life and a Translation from Czech of Part I off His ‘Net of Faith.’” (B. D. Thesis, Pacific School of Religion, 1947), “Introduction,” p. i.
 A Russian translation appeared in 1907 and an abridged German translation in 1924. Molnár’s thesis provides an abridged translation into English of the first of the two parts of the treatise.
 “The Net of Faith,” part 1, chs. 1, 3, 14.
 Ibid., part 1, chs. 15‑23.
 Ibid., part 1, chs. 26, 32, 36‑36, 81‑85.
 The Rise of Toleration, p. 28.
 Roland H. Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969), p. 135.
 Institutio principis Christiani in Opera omnia, 5: 597, as cited by Roland H. Bainton, trans. and ed. Sebastian Castellio, Concerning Heretics: Whether They Are to Be Persecuted and How They Are to Be Treated: A Collection of the Opinions of Learned Men Both Ancient and Modern, “Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies,” no. 22 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935), p. 36, fn. 130.
 Letter 858, 14 August 1518, 0pus epistolarum, ed. P. Allen, 3:365, quot. and trans. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:125.
 Ratio seu methodus compendi o perveniendi ad veram theologiani, in Opera omnia, 5: Col. 98 DE, quot, and trans. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:121.
 Ep. 1033, 19 October 1519, in Opus epistolarum, 4:101, quot, and transl. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:116.
 Ibid., in Opus epistolarum, 4:102, quot. and trans. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:116.
 Ibid., in Opus epistolarum, 4:106, quot. and trans. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:117.
 Ep. 1033, in October 1519, in Opus epistolarum, 4: 105, cited by Bainton, ed. and trans., Castellio, Concerning Heretic, p. 38.
 Erasmus's interpretation, embodied in his Paraphrasis in Evangelium Matthae, ch. 13 (1522), Opera omnia, 7:80E, was attributed to Conrad Pellican by Sebastian Castellio, Concerning Heretics, pp. 40, 204‑5.
 Ep. 1334, 5 Jan. 1523, in Ovus epistolarum, 5:11. 362-81, quot. and trans. by Bainton, ed. and trans., Castellio, Concerning Heretics, p. 34.
 Ep. 1496, 6 Sept. 1524, in Opus epistolarum, 5:530, and Ep. 1526, 12 Dec. 1524, in Opus epistolaram, 5: 604, as interp. by Minton, ed. and trans., Concerning Heretic, p. 34.
 Suanutatio errorum in cansuris Beddae, in Onera omnia, 9: 580D-582F, as quot. by Castellic, Concerning Herelics, trans. Bainton, pp. 170, 171‑72, 173, 173, 172.
 Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, l:119, interpretating Ep. ad Johann Heigerlin [i.e., Faber] in Opers epistolarum, 6:311.
 Ep. ad Georg von Sachksen, 30 December 1527, in Opus epistolarum, 7:282, quot. and trans. by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 1:119.
 Adversus monachos quosdam Hispanos, Tit. 4, Contra sanctam Laereticorum incuisitionem, in Opera omnia, 9: 1054‑60, as quot. by Castellio, Concerning Heretics, trans. and ed. by Bainton, pp. 176‑80.
 Ep. iu pseudoevangelicos in Opera omnia, 10: 1586‑87, quot. and tran. by Bainton, trans. and ed., Castellio, Concerning Heretics, p. 39.
 Bainton, ed. and trans. Castellio, Concerning Heretics, pp. 38‑42; Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom, pp. 257‑58.
 De bello, Turico, in Opera omnia, 5:353C, quoted and trans. by Bainton, trans. and ed., Castellio, Concerning Heretics, p. 39.
 For a critical edition of the German text, see Balthasar Hubmaier, Schriften, ed. Gunnar Westin and Torsten Bergstan, “Quellen und Forschungen zur Reforma‑tionsgeschichte,” vol. 9 (Gdtersloh: Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1962), pp. 96‑100. An English translation may be found in Henry C. Vedder, Balthasar Hübmaier: The Leader of the Anabaptists (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1905), pp. 84‑88. But the English translation used here is that of William R. Estep, Jr., ed., Anabaptist Beginninqs (1523‑1533): A Source Book, “Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica,” voy. 16 (Nieuwkoop: B. DeGraaf, 1976), pp. 49‑53.
 Arts. 36, 1, 2, 6, 13, 18, 14.
 Arts. 8, 9, 7, 16, 3, 5.
 Arts. 19, 21, 22, 24.
 Art. 29
 Balthasar Hübmaier: The Leader of the Anabaptists (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1905), p. 84.
 Balthasar Hübmaier: Seine Stellung zu Reformation und Täufertum, 1521‑1523, “Studia Historicio‑Ecclesiastica Upsaliensia,” no. 3 (Kassel: J. G. Oncken Verlag, 1961), pp. 175, 176.
 James M. Estes, “Church Order and the Christian Magistrate according to Johannes Brenz,” Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 59 (1968): 6, 5.
 An English translation of the treatise, based on the 1608 edition of Brenz’s works, appears in Sebastian Castellio [?], Concerning Heretics, trans. and ed. Roland H. Bainton, “Columbia University Records of Civilization,” no. 22 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935), pp. 154‑69. Brenz is one of the authorities on toleration quoted at length by Castellio.
 Ibid., pp. 155‑57.
 Ibid., pp. 157‑58. Brenz concludes that “a Christian magistrate” ought not to be “as bloodthirsty as a heathen” (p. 1059) and that the maximum penalty for Anabaptists for not swearing the civic oath should be “the denial of civil privileges” (p. 164).
 Concerning Heretics, pp. 164‑65, 157. According to Brenz, the charge that the Anabaptist practice of community of goods, “might perhaps produce an insurrection” is unfounded, for who fears a monastic rebellion (pp. 161‑62)?
 Concerning Heretics, p. 158.
 F. W. Kantzenbach, “Der Beitrag des Johannes Brenz zur Toleranzidee,” Theologische Zeitschrift 21 (1965): 48‑49.
 David C. Steinmetz, Reformers in the Wings (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), p. 114.
 Chronica, Zeytbuch und Geschychtbibel, as quoted [by Sebastian Castellio] in Concerning Heretics, trans. and ed. Roland B. Bainton, pp. 183‑197. Castellio refers to Franck under the pseudonym “Augustine Eleutherius.”
 Ibid., pp. 183-84.
 Ibid., pp. 185‑86, 188‑92, 196. Franck acknowledges that Augustine interpreted the “tares” as inclusive of “moral delinquents” as well as of “heretics” (p. 190).
 ”Preface” to “Meditation on the Twenty‑Fifth Psalm” (c. 1537) in The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, c. 1491‑1561, trans. Leonard Verduin and ed. John Christian Wenger (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1956), p. 66.
 The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, pp. 190, 193, 204.
 “Christian Baptism” (1539) in The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, p. 285.
 “Why I Do Not Cease Teaching and writing” (1539) in The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, p. 298.
 Ibid., p. 304.
 “The True Christian Faith” (c. 1541) in The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, p. 332.
 “Reply to False Accusations” in The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, pp. 544, 547‑63.
 The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, pp. 582, 597, 584-85, 586, 587‑95, 614‑22.
 Bainton, “Sebastian Castellio and the Toleration Controversy of the Sixteenth Century,” in Persecution and Liberty: Essays in Honor of George Lincoln Burr (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1963; originally published in 1931), p. 183.
 “The Plea of David Joris for Servetus,” E. T. of Sendbrieven, Book I, Deel 4, Brief 9 [letter dated incorrectly 1 July 1553] in [Sebastian Castellio] Concerning Heretics . . ., trans. Roland H. Bainton, “Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies,” no. 22 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935), pp. 305‑9.
 The early portion of the “Preface to the Latin Bible” was not included in Concerning Heretics but Roland H. Bainton has thus summarized the argument, Concerning Heretics, p. 212.
 “Preface to the Latin Bible” as incorporated into Concerning Heretics, pp. 212‑15.
 Preface to the French Bible” as translated in the supplement to Concerning Heretics, pp. 257‑58.
 Rufus M. Jones, Spiritual Reformers in the 16th and 17th Centuries (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1914), pp. 93‑94.
 ”Dedication by Martin Bellius to Duke Christoph of Wdrttemberg,” Concerning Heretics, p. 122.
 Ibid., pp. 122‑35. Castelliols French translation of De haereticis, ausuit persequendi . . . contained a “Dedication” to Count William of Hesse, in which he insisted that “[s]ins of the heart, such as infidelity, heresy, envy, hate, etc. are to be punished by the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,” i.e., by excommunication, and that heretics, if guilty of sedition, may be fined or banished but not put to death, as Augustine of Hippo Reguis thought. “It were better to let a hundred, or even a thousand, heretics live than to kill one upright man under the color of heresy.” Indeed “all the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and even our Savior Jesus Christ, were put to death as false prophets, blasphemers, and heretics.” Concerning Heretics, pp. 137, 139.
 Concerning Heretics, pp. 216‑18, 220, 223, 224.
 Exod. 22:20; Deut. 13; Lev. 24:16; Num. 15:32‑36; Exod. 32:28; Josh. 7:24‑25; 1 Ki. 18:1; Acts 5:1‑11; Acts 13:11.
 Concerning Heretics, pp. 225‑40, 248‑50.
 “Concerning the Children of the Flesh and the Children of the Spirit” in Concerning Heretics, pp. 251‑53.
 In the supplement to Concerning Heretics, pp. 253‑60, 262, 261. Castellio also argued, in reply to the contention that to spare heretics would lead to sedition and to the dissemination of false doctrine, that it is tyranny, not heretics, that produces sedition (pp. 263‑64).
 In the supplement to Concerning Heretics, p. 266.
 Ibid., p. 268.
 Ibid., pp. 268, 271.
 Ibid., p. 271.
 Ibid., pp. 272‑76, 280‑81, 277, 279, 281‑82, 283‑84.
 Bainton, “Sebastian Castellio and the Toleration Controversy of the Sixteenth Century,” pp. 185‑87, 195, 198, 200, 186, 201” (cf. Kühn, Toleranz und Offenbarung, p. 339), 204.
 George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 19642), p. 511.
 Ibid., p. 633; Kamen, The Rise of Toleration, p. 83.
 Charles O'Malley, “Introduction,” Jacopo Acontio, Satan's Strataqems, 8 books, trans. Walter T. Curtis, 2 vols, “Occasional Papers, English Series,” no. 5 (San Francisco: California State Library, 1940), 1:ii‑iii.
 Ibid., i: v, ix.
 Satan's Stratagems, book 1 (E.T., p. 26).
 Ibid., book 2 (E.T., pp. 45, 49).
 Ibid., book 3 (E.T., pp. 66‑68, 71, 77).
 Ibid., book 6 (E.T., pp. 147‑48).
 See O'Malley, “Introduction,” Acontio, Satan's Stratagems, pp. vi‑vii.
 Acontius composed a statement of six articles: (1) That there is one true God and he whom he sent, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. And that it was not right to deny that the Father is one and the Son another, because Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. (2) That man is subject to the wrath and judgment of God. And that the dead will come to life again, the just to everlasting happiness, but the wicked to everlasting torments. (3) That God sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world, who, being made man, died for our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification. (4) That if we believe in the Son of God, we shall obtain life through his name. (5) That there is salvation in none other; not in the blessed virgin, or in Peter, or in Paul, or in any other saint, or any other name whatever. And that there is no righteousness in the law or in the commandments or inventions of men. (6) That there is one baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Williams, The Radical Reformation, p. 784, identifying Acontius as a Spiritualist, has referred to these articles as “the sixteenth‑century Spiritualist forerunners of the five articles of Deism in the seventeenth‑century.” But the Christocentrism of five of the six articles of Acontius serves to qualify that comment.
 M. J. Tooley, “Introduction,” in Jean Bodin, Six Books of the Commonwealth, abr. and trans. M. J. Tooley (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1955?), pp. vii, ix, xi.
 Six Books of the Commonwealth, bk. 6, ch. 1 (Tooley trans., pp. 183‑84).
 Ibid., bk. 4, ch. 7 (Tooley trans., pp. 140‑41).
 Ibid. (Tooley trans., p. 141).
 Ibid. (Tooley trans., p. 142).
 The Rise of Toleration, p. 143.
 Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 2:178‑84, esp. 179.
 Quoted in Kamen, The Rise of Toleration, p. 151.
 Cited and interpreted by Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 2:264‑66.
 Kamen, The Rise of Toleration, pp. 151‑52; Carl Bangs, Arminius: A Stage in the Dutch Reformation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971), pp. 54, 92, 100, 132, 140.
 Henry Kamen has stressed the element of toleration but not the limits thereof when he states: “One of the first theorists to accept toleration as a cornerstone of political practice was Johannes Althusius . . .” The Rise of Toleration, p. 217.
 Subsequent editions appeared in 1610 and 1614. No published English translation, even in abridged form, appeared until 1964.
 Frederick S. Carney, “Translator's Introduction,” The Polltics of Johannes Althusius, abr. trans. of 3d ed., preface by Carl J. Friedrich (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), pp. xiv-xvi.
 Friedrich, “Preface,” The Politics of Johannes Althusius, p. ix.
 The Politics of Johannes Althusius, pp. 71‑72, 134, 139, 155-56, 162, 165-68, 72, 165, 169.
 Cf. H. Wheeler Robinson, “Introduction,” Thomas Helwys, The Mistery of Iniquity, facsimile ed. (London: Kingsqate Press 1935), p. xiii; A. C. Underwood, A History of the English Bantists (London: Kingsgate Press, 1947), p. 47; and Lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, 2:274. W. K. Jordan, The Development of Religious Toleration in England, 4 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1932‑40), 2: 274, declared: “Helwys gave to religious toleration the finest and fullest defence which it had ever received in England.”
 Robinson, “Introduction,” Helwys, The Mistery of Iniquity, p. v. Also see The Mistery of Iniquity, pp. 10, 13‑14.
 The Mistery of Iniquity, p. 42.
 Ibid., p. 43.
 Ibid., P. 46.
 Ibid., pp. 61, 63.
 Ibid., p. 69.
 Ibid., preface.
 For the texts, see Tracts on Liberty of Conscience and Persecution, 1614‑1661, ed. Hanserd Knollys Society with introd. by Edwarl Bean Underhill (London., 1846).