Posts Tagged ‘Defending the Faith’
By John Foxe
(Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)
John Huss [1372-1415]
John Huss was born at Hussenitz, a village in Bohemia, about the year 1372. His parents gave him the best education their circumstances would admit; and having acquired a tolerable knowledge of the classics at a private school, he transferred to the University of Prague where he soon gave strong proofs of his mental powers and was remarkable for his diligence and application to study.
In 1398 Huss was chosen to be pastor of the Church of Bethlehem in Prague, and dean and rector of the university. In these stations he discharged his duties with great fidelity; and became so conspicuous for his preaching, which was in conformity with the doctrines of Wickliffe, that it was not likely he could long escape the notice of the pope and his adherents, against whom he complained with no small degree of harshness.
The archbishop of Prague, finding the reformists daily increasing, issued a decree to suppress the further spreading of Wickliffe’s writings: but this had an effect quite different to what he expected, for it stimulated the friends of those doctrines to greater zeal and almost the whole university united to propagate them.
Being strongly attached to the doctrines of Wickliffe, Huss opposed the decree of the archbishop, who eventually obtained a bull from the pope which gave him commission to prevent the publishing of Wickliffe’s doctrines in his province. Dr. Huss, with some other members of the university, protested against these proceedings and entered an appeal from the sentence of the archbishop.
When this affair became known to the pope, John Huss was ordered to appear personally at the court of Rome to answer the accusations laid against him of preaching both errors and heresies.
Dr. Huss declined to appear at this trial, after which he was declared obstinate and excommunicated forthwith. From this unjust sentence Huss appealed to a future council, but without success; and, notwithstanding so severe a decree, and an expulsion in consequence from his church in Prague, he retired to Hussenitz, his native place, where he continued to promulgate his new doctrine both from the pulpit and with the pen.
The letters which he wrote at this time were very numerous; and he compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines.
In the month of November, 1414, a general council was assembled at Constance in Germany, in order, as was pretended, for the sole purpose of determining a dispute then pending between three persons who contended for the papacy; but the real motive was to crush the progress of the Reformation.
John Huss was summoned to appear at this council. To encourage him, the emperor sent him a safe-conduct. The civilities, and even reverence, that Huss met with on his journey were beyond imagination. The streets were lined with people, whom respect, rather than curiosity, had brought together. He was ushered into the town with great acclamations and it may be said that he passed through Germany in a kind of triumph.
As soon as Huss arrived at Constance, he immediately took lodgings in a remote part of the city. A short time after his arrival came one Stephen Paletz, who was employed by the clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him. Paletz was afterwards joined by Michael de Cassis on the part of the court of Rome. These two declared themselves his accusers and drew up a set of articles against him, which they presented to the pope and the prelates of the council.
When it was known that he was in the city, he was immediately arrested and committed prisoner to a chamber in the palace. This violation of common law and justice was particularly noticed by one of Huss’s friends, who invoked the imperial safe-conduct; but the pope replied he never granted any safe-conduct nor was he bound by that of the emperor.
While Huss was in confinement, the council acted the part of inquisitors. They condemned the doctrines of Wickliffe and even ordered his remains to be dug up and burned to ashes; which orders were strictly complied with. In the meantime, the nobility of Bohemia and Poland strongly interceded for Huss; and so far prevailed as to prevent his being condemned unheard, which had been resolved on by the commissioners appointed to try him.
When he was brought before the council, the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number and chiefly extracted from his writings.
The excellent sentences Huss offered in defense of his doctrines were esteemed as so many expressions of treason and tended to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the council stripped him of his priestly garments, degraded him, put a paper miter on his head on which was painted devils and this inscription, “A ringleader of heretics.” Which when he saw, he said:
My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.
When it was set upon his head, the bishop said: “Now we commit your soul unto the devil.”
“But I,” said John Huss, lifting his eyes towards the heaven, “do commend into Your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my spirit which You have redeemed.”
When the chain was put about him at the stake, he said with a smiling countenance, “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?” When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so meddlesome as to desire him to retract. “No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.”
When the flames were applied to the fagots, our martyr sung a hymn with so loud and cheerful a voice that he was heard through all the cracklings of the combustibles and the noise of the multitude. At length his voice was interrupted by the severity of the flames, which soon closed his existence.
Then, with great diligence, gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the river Rhine, that the least remnant of that man should not be left upon the earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind of torment. (From chapter 8 of the special Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)
Sandy Simpson’s website ministry, Deception in the Church, has an excellent search tool where you can search various topics, keywords, names, etc. from various discernment/research websites (including LT) all at the same time. Here is the link: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/search9.html. Of course, no matter what site you are on – even ours – always use discernment and weigh all things against Scripture. As Christians, we must “Prove all things” and “Try the spirits” through the screen of the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).
Taken from the powerful film, The Radicals, based on the true story of Michael and Margaretha Sattler, who defected from the Catholic church and who were martyred for their faith in Christ.
In 2011, Roger Oakland introduced us to Trevor Baker and his music, and we’ve been listening to him ever since. Trevor sings about many of the things Lighthouse Trails writes about, and it doesn’t take too long listening to Trevor to know he’s a man after God’s own heart. His songs are a mixture of easy-listening ballads and thought-provoking lyrics. We asked Trevor if he could write a little something to our readers to tell them about himself. Here is what he had to say:
Twenty years ago, when the Lord first began giving me songs, I remember the struggle that went on within my heart. “Lord, are these just my own thoughts, or are You the inspiration behind the lines that come from this pen of mine? Lord, why am I always writing about the ugly side of religion and how people should run from the many spiritual gurus, both new and old, that seem to be untouchable and unquestionable kings and queens of the day?”
These rulers of the people speak partial truths to keep the money flowing in to prop up their man-made ministries where “self ” rules the day and Christianity is a business and an ego maker rather than what Jesus intended.
Jesus upset the tables of the money changers in the temple and then prayed, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).
So I have realized through the years that warning people about the big dogs that rule the religious landscape has left me with few friends. The thing I can’t escape though is the unmistakable peace I sense when God gives me a song and the tears I see in concerts of those rejected by the social religiosity of the day—misfits that have never been welcome throughout history.
My message is simple, go to the garden alone and walk and talk with Jesus, as the old hymn put it. A broken and contrite spirit He will not leave in distress in a church age that has lost its bearings. Jesus said we can come to him and cast our burdens on Him, and He will direct our steps through the religious mine fields and give us rest.
Most today, it seems, would rather line up to hear all of the religious superstars instead of going to the garden alone to receive real nourishment from the Lord. This, I believe, is one of the biggest contributing factors to the bankrupt society we see today.
Editor’s Note: While Lighthouse Trails does carry most of Trevor’s music CDs and DVDs, those who cannot afford these materials should visit Trevor’s website where you can get his CDs on a donation basis. You can also listen to 30-second clips of all his songs on our site as well as a video of Trevor in concert. Trevor lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife Jennifer. They have two grown daughters and two granddaughters. Trevor travels extensively around North America singing at churches and conferences. Below, we have posted the lyrics to one of the songs from his Road Less Traveled CD. You can also listen to this song too. We hope you enjoy this sweet humble brother with a great voice and songs that have tremendous meaning.
Wish I Had Your Life
By Trevor Baker – Canadian singer and songwriter with a message
When I watch the people
In the stream of life
With frivolous pursuits
Their minds all clouded in reality
You wonder what’s the use
And I want so much to tell them
That their life would mean much more
If they’d see the Lord
And knock upon His door
And so I try to live my life
In such a way that they might see
That Heaven is the treasure
And the Lord, well, He’s the key
And while many can’t be bothered
With what they call the narrow way
Still from time to time
Someone will say
I wish I had your life
What is that thing
That makes you tick?
You seem to have a light
And this dark world
Has got me licked
Tell what’s inside you?
Is there something I should know?
I’m not quite sure where you’re goin’
But I think I’d like to go
Now days like that
Are more than often
Few and far between
As I walk this pilgrim highway
I’m well aware it’s all up stream
I have moments filled with sadness
There are nights I’d like to cry
And I’ve used that loaded little word
That they call why
Can’t they see the God of Heaven
Is the One Who made this place?
He formed the sky, the birds, the fish
And most of all the human race
And I know that most
Seem all content
Just caught up in the fray
But in the crowd
There’s more than one
That wants to say
And though thousands
Shrug their shoulders
And even sneer as they move on
It won’t be long’ till someone wants
To hear my song
More From Trevor:
LTRP Note: As many of you know, berean defender of the faith, Dave Hunt, went home to be with the Lord earlier this year. The note below is from The Berean Call website from Dave’s wife, Ruth. While we have never personally met Ruth, we carry her excellent book, East Wind and are grateful for this work. And as the apostle Paul says, in referring to the believer in Christ, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5: 6-8)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of you for your dear cards and letters and prayers. They have meant so very much to me. I hope that you will understand that I am no longer able to respond individually, but please know that every note has been read and is cherished. I am truly blessed to have so many dear friends.
I must now share with you that my doctors have declared me terminally ill and have given me approximately four months to live. I am not in any pain and am being well cared for by family, friends, and caregivers.
I truly look forward to this glorious transition and the fact that I will soon be with my beloved Savior and with Dave and others who have gone on before me. The Lord was so kind to me in answering my prayer, which was that He would allow me to stay well enough to care for my dear David until he went home to be with Him. I was blessed to be there, holding his hand, as he drew his last breath, and I knew that he was with Jesus! How kind of God to have given me that privilege.
I thank each one of you for the many, many years of loving fellowship that we have shared, and I pray that you will be comforted by the fact that I am perfectly at peace. I look forward with much joy to our grand reunion in heaven one day soon! “What a day, glorious day, that will be!”
Another Letter From Assemblies of God Pastor: Many AOG Ministers Concerned About Contemplative Issue
I have never responded to you before, but I do wish for you to know that I have been following your series of articles concerning Ruth Barton speaking at the AoG GC with extreme interest. You see, I am a credentialed AoG minister. I, along with many other ministers and lay people inside the AoG are extremely concerned with what has been taking place within our fellowship over the past few years. In fact, there are several conservative factions inside of the AoG that have actually been able to bond over the common cause of bringing a halt to the contemplative prayer movement that has been lurking around in our fellowship. I just wished to thank you personally for all that you do for the gospel. I would also like you to know that many of your Ruth Barton articles are being used in AoG Theology discussion forums on Facebook. It may amuse you to know that many of the older line AoG ministers, who would not even look at a Lighthouse Trails article before, have come to respect your writers, and how well they research their articles. I would just like to ask that you pray for us as we go through this time of testing in our fellowship. It seems bad now, but I am hoping and praying that it will lead to a Reformation within the AoG. Again, thank you so much for your great articles and your research. It has really been a bigger help than you will ever know.
In His service,
by Kevin Reeves
(author of The Other Side of the River)
History is filled with stories of those who have stood for truth, many of whom gave their lives to defend the faith God had put in their hearts. History is also filled with those who tried to squelch that truth. In his riveting account of the Nazi empire, historian William L. Shirer meticulously documents the internal workings of a system that once threatened to take over the world. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a chilling account of the effects of mind-numbing propaganda.1 The endless barrage of misinformation, incredibly, molded a once-beaten and fragmented people into the icon of elitism, which culminated in grisly death camps and the cold-blooded murder of those deemed lesser humans. A firsthand witness and opponent of the Nazi regime, Shirer recounted instances of conversation with German people, when he dared contradict the ludicrous governmental and media declarations of ethnic, cultural, and military superiority. He was met with shocked silence or an amazed stare. He noted that to question the Nazi machine’s view of anything was considered blasphemy of the highest order. It dawned on him that the minds of many of the people had become so warped that they were no longer able to think for themselves or evaluate anything by a higher standard. Shirer observed that with the rise of the new German empire, the truth had become whatever Hitler and Goebbels said it was; they were the final arbiters of reality— spiritual and otherwise.
Some may think it is extreme to compare the spiritual deception and control tactics within the church today to that of the Nazi regime and the death camps, but we should remember that the church in Germany in the 1930s was very much like the church is today—having a head in the sand mentality about spiritual deception and turning religious leaders into super-human heroes who can do no wrong. Perhaps we are not all that different than Christians in Germany back then. We should not fool ourselves and think we would never be duped like that. The apostle Paul issued a warning to Christians:
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (I Cor. 10:11,12)
Despite all of this, there is hope in the Lord; He is “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11). And He promised to preserve His church, that true body of believers whom He calls the Bride of Christ. Praise His name—there is hope. When truth is challenged, mocked, and thrown against the wind, we can be sure, it will never be altered. And that Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
The Lord is calling His people out from the midst of the false, to adhere to His truth, no matter what the cost. Let us respond with joy and thankfulness, knowing His grace is sufficient to strengthen us and give us courage.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
1. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster/Touchstone, 1959).