Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, September 22, 2014

22 September 1692 A.D. Final executions on Witch Hill, Salem, Massachusetts

22 September 1692 A.D. Final executions on Witch Hill, Salem, Massachusetts

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:

The witch hunts began in 1692 with the daughter of Mr. (Rev.) Samuel Parris, the Pastor of the church in Salem, MA.

Rev. Parris’ daughter began acting strange, exhibiting psychotic symptoms, violent convulsions, hallucinations, and trance-like states.  A cousin of the daughter also was acting out. The hysteria spread. Blame came to be associated with Tituba, a slave from the West Indies, who offered the children stories of the occult from her homeland.

150 suspects were involved.  Some were imprisoned.  19 were hanged. Most were women and most were social outcasts.

The final public executions happened on 22 September 1692 – 8 middle-aged women and 1 man. At the gallows was the judge at the trials, William Stoughton.

Cotton Mather, a young and allegedly brilliant cleric, had been one involved in the interrogation of witches.

After the executions, neighboring ministers made an effort to stop the witch hunts.

1 year later, Rev. Parris would lament and regret his involvement.  He preached such in a sermon, saying, “…the wounds of the victims accuseth us as the vile actors.”


  1. What of the confessions of foul and dark deeds?
  2. What of David, adultery and premeditated murder?
  3. What of Paul, a murderer?  Paul was conscious of this into his later Christian life.
  4. What of the words of Confession at Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer?
    Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion,
    YE that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.
    Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers; both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying,

    ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
  5. 1 John 1.9?  1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
    9 [a]If we acknowledge our sins, he is [b]faithful and just, to [c]forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    1 John 1:9 Therefore the beginning of salvation is to acknowledge our wickedness, and to require pardon from him who freely forgiveth all sins, because he hath promised so to do, and he is faithful and just.
    1 John 1:9 So then our salvation hangeth upon the free promise of God, who because he is faithful and just, will perform that which he hath promised.
    1 John 1:9 Where are then our merits? for this is our true felicity.
  6. What deep and grievous sins do you confess?
  7. What of the massive and individual sins of abortion? 
  8. Divorce?  Single-parented homes where fathers disappear?  Can it compare to Salem Witch Trials?  Perhaps a stretch, but God describes adultery and divorce as “violence” to the wife of one’s youth.  If so, how so?  That is, emotional violence?
  9. How does the 6th commandment play here?  The 9th commandment?


Douglas, William O. An Almanac of Liberty. Garden City: Doubleday, 1954. 85.

Queen, Edward L., II. “Salem Witchcraft Trials.” EARH. 2: 581-2.

Stout, H.S. “Salem Witch Trial.” DCA. 1041.

Strauss and Howe. Generations. 116-20.

Weinstein, Allen and Frank Otto Gatell. Freedom and Crisis: An American History. 3rd ed. New York: Random, 1981. 80-104.

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