Posts Tagged ‘john foxe’

While Protestants Commemorate Reformation This Month, Papal Persecution Regarding the Eucharist Often Ignored

By Philip Gray
(Freelance writer and defender of the faith)

Pope Francis during a Mass, holding up the wafer that is said to have the presence of Jesus in it after transubstantiation

October 31, 2017 is being commemorated by many Protestant groups as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Many groups are using the occasion to suggest that there is no need for a Protestant Reformation any longer, and Protestants and Catholics can and should now unify, if not in name, then at least in mission and faith. Ecumenical events are taking place across the globe to supposedly celebrate the Reformation, but in reality, many of these are efforts to break down the walls that divide Protestanism and Catholicism. The Catholic Church insists there is no need for a Reformation any more because the Catholic Church, it says, is now in agreement doctrinally with Protestanism in many areas. While the motive by the Catholic Church of making such claims is highly questionable (e.g., to ultimately win back the “lost brethren” to the “Mother Church”), there is one area (and it is perhaps the most significant of all because it has to do with salvation) that the Catholic Church does not and will not ever claim to be the same, and that is in the Eucharist (i.e., the sacraments, the Mass). For if there was no Eucharist and Mass, there would be no Catholic Church. If you do not understand what the Catholic Eucharist is, then be sure to read some of the material* by Lighthouse Trails regarding this. In a nutshell, the Eucharist is the practice and belief that the real presence of Jesus is in the communion wafer (an event the Catholic Church refers to as  Transubstantiation that can only be performed by a Catholic priest), which is to be consumed by the sinner in order for his sins to be forgiven. It is, in essence, a recrucifying of Christ as if Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was not sufficient (which is contrary to Scripture that talks about the “finished” work on the Cross.”

One thing that is not being brought up in many of these Reformation events this year is the many people who died at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church for refusing to believe in the Eucharistic Christ. In honor of those who were martyred because they would not bow the knee to a false gospel, below are posted the stories of two martyrs who died at the hands of the Catholic Church because they refused to take the Mass and believe that Jesus Christ was in a wafer. These are direct quotes from the Lighthouse Trails edition of  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

Martyrdom of William Hunter (martyred at 19 years old in 1555)
William Hunter had been trained in the doctrines of the Reformation from his earliest youth, being descended from religious parents who carefully instructed him in the principles of true religion. When Hunter was but nineteen years of age he refused to receive the communion at Mass and was brought before the bishop.

Bonner caused William to be brought into a chamber where he began to reason with him, promising him security and pardon if he would recant. Nay, he would have been content if he would have gone only to receive communion and to confession, but William would not do so for all the world.

Upon this the bishop commanded his men to put William in the stocks in his gate house, where he sat two days and nights with a crust of brown bread and a cup of water only, which he did not touch.

At the two days’ end, the bishop came to him and finding him steadfast in the faith, sent him to the convict prison and commanded the keeper to lay upon him as many irons as he could bear. He continued in prison three quarters of a year, during which time he had been before the bishop five times.

Then the bishop, calling William, asked him if he would recant and finding he was unchangeable, pronounced sentence upon him that he should go from that place to Newgate for a time, and thence to Brentwood, there to be burned.

About a month afterward, William was sent down to Brentwood where he was to be executed. On coming to the stake, he knelt down and read the Fifty-first Psalm, until he came to these words, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

William now cast his Psalter into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ and be not afraid of death.” “Behold,” answered William, “I am not afraid.” Then he lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;”and casting down his head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.

Mrs. Joyce Lewes (died 1557)
This lady was the wife of Mr. T. Lewes of Manchester. She had received the Romish religion as true, until the burning of that pious martyr Mr. Saunders at Coventry. Understanding that his death arose from a refusal to receive the Mass, she began to inquire into the ground of his refusal and her conscience, as it began to be enlightened, became restless and alarmed. In this inquietude she resorted to Mr. John Glover, who lived near, and requested that he would unfold those rich sources of gospel knowledge he possessed, particularly upon the subject of transubstantiation. He easily succeeded in convincing her that the tomfoolery of popery and the Mass were at variance with God’s most holy Word, and honestly reproved her for following too much the vanities of a wicked world. It was to her indeed a word in season, for she soon became weary of her former sinful life and resolved to abandon the Mass and idolatrous worship. Though compelled by her husband’s violence to go to church, her contempt of the holy water and other ceremonies was so manifest that she was accused before the bishop for despising the Sacraments.

A citation addressed to her immediately followed, which was given to Mr. Lewes, who, in a fit of passion, held a dagger to the throat of the officer and made him eat it, after which he caused him to drink it down and then sent him away. But for this the bishop summoned Mr. Lewes before him as well as his wife; the former readily submitted, but the latter resolutely affirmed that in refusing holy water, she neither offended God nor any part of His laws. She was sent home for a month, her husband being bound for her appearance, during which time Mr. Glover impressed upon her the necessity of doing what she did, not from self-vanity but for the honor and glory of God.

Mr. Glover and others earnestly exhorted Lewes to forfeit the money he was bound in rather than subject his wife to certain death; but he was deaf to the voice of humanity and delivered her over to the bishop, who soon found sufficient cause to consign her to a loathsome prison, whence she was several times brought for examination. At the last time the bishop reasoned with her upon the fitness of her coming to Mass and receiving as sacred the Sacrament and sacramentals of the Holy Ghost. “If these things were in the Word of God,” said Mrs. Lewes, “I would with all my heart receive, believe, and esteem them.” The bishop, with the most ignorant and impious effrontery, replied, “If you will believe no more than what is warranted by Scriptures, you are in a state of damnation!” Astonished at such a declaration, this worthy sufferer ably rejoined that his words were as impure as they were profane.

After condemnation she lay a twelvemonth in prison, the sheriff not being willing to put her to death in his time. When her death warrant came from London, she sent for some friends whom she consulted in what manner her death might be more glorious to the name of God and injurious to the cause of God’s enemies. Smilingly, she said: “As for death, I think lightly of it. When I know that I shall behold the amiable countenance of Christ my dear Saviour, the ugly face of death does not much trouble me.” The evening before she suffered, two priests were anxious to visit her, but she refused both their confession and absolution when she could hold a better communication with the High Priest of souls. About three o’clock in the morning, Satan began to shoot his fiery darts by putting into her mind to doubt whether she was chosen to eternal life, and Christ died for her. Her friends readily pointed out to her those consolatory passages of Scripture which comfort the fainting heart and point to the Redeemer who takes away the sins of the world.

About eight o’clock the sheriff announced to her that she had but an hour to live. She was at first cast down, but this soon passed away, and she thanked God that her life was about to be devoted to His service. The sheriff granted permission for two friends to accompany her to the stake—an indulgence for which he was afterward severely handled. Mr. Reniger and Mr. Bernher led her to the place of execution; because of its far distance, her great weakness, and the press of the people, she nearly fainted. Three times she prayed fervently that God would deliver the land from popery and the idolatrous Mass; and the people for the most part, as well as the sheriff, said Amen.

When she had prayed, she took the cup, (which had been filled with water to refresh her,) and said, “I drink to all them that unfeignedly love the gospel of Christ and wish for the abolition of popery.” Her friends and a great many women of the place drank with her, for which most of them afterward were enjoined penance.

When chained to the stake her countenance was cheerful and the roses of her cheeks were not abated. Her hands were extended towards heaven until the fire rendered them powerless, when her soul was received into the arms of the Creator. The duration of her agony was but short; as the under-sheriff, at the request of her friends, had prepared such excellent fuel that she was in a few minutes overwhelmed with smoke and flame. The case of this lady drew a tear of pity from everyone who had a heart not callous to humanity.

(These two stories are taken from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is an unaltered version from John Foxe’s account. See note below about the LT edition.)


Publisher’s Note from the LT edition: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

 

*You do not have to buy material from Lighthouse Trails to gain information on these topics as there are many many articles on this blog that can be read and even printed and shared with friends and family.

Letter to the Editor: The Martyrs of Old and Choices Christians Will Have to Make

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

JohnFoxe

John Foxe

I am nearly 60 years old and until now have NEVER read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Shame on me! I am nearly finished with it. All I can say is, I never knew!

All I could think about during the course of my reading was the existing Pope’s words about how happy he is to know that the Christians are coming back to the Mother Church. (Those are probably not his words verbatim, but certainly that is his mindset.) I never realized, until this book, that the Martyrs of old actually accused the Pope and RC’s of being Antichrist . . . openly and without shame or terror.

Now, with the newest Pope’s sentiments regarding the “Church,” and the “Emergent” Church rising so rapidly, one (or, at least, THIS one) has to wonder! And, in light of all of the above, I thought about Lighthouse Trails and your book reviews! [see note from Publisher below]

I am not trying to stir the pot, HOWEVER, again, I am nearly 60 and until now had never read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I can pretty well guarantee you that I am not alone in the not reading of the book.

There is soon coming a day when we existing Christians will have to make a choice; take a solid stand. Will we accept the mark of the beast (God forbid), or will we trust God? These men of old are wonderful examples for us. Their deaths were grisly and beyond cruel. But they did not waver where their faith in The Lord was concerned.

Just a thought and a concern.

Be blessed and keep up the good fight of faith!

R.B.

Articles from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

The Persecution of John Huss, Brave Defender of the Christian Faith

“And They Loved Not Their Lives Unto the Death”

1560 – The Martyrdom of Nicholas Burton, an English Merchant in Spain

Mrs. Prest – She Said No to Apostasy and Became a Martyr

Note From Publisher

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. This same edition also removed accounts of the Catholic papacy persecution against Christians. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics. And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover. Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

If Rick Warren is Right, Why Did These Martyrs Even Die At the Hands of the Roman Catholic Church?

LTRP Note: Please refer to our previous post titled “Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics Must Unite to Defend Life, Sex, Marriage – ‘We’re on the Same Team’”  to understand what we mean by the title of this article.

“An Account of the Persecutions in Italy Under the Papacy
By John Foxe
(author of Foxe’s Book of Martrys – * please read our note at the bottom of this post.)

We shall now enter an account of the persecutions in Italy, a country which has been, and still is, the center of popery. Italy is also the source of various errors which have spread themselves over other countries, deluded the minds of thousands, and diffused the clouds of superstition and bigotry over human understanding. In pursuing our narrative we shall include the most remarkable persecutions which have happened and the cruelties which have been practiced by the immediate power of the pope through the power of the Inquisition.
In the twelfth century, the first persecutions under the papacy began in Italy at the time that Adrian, an Englishman, was pope, being occasioned by the following circumstances:

algerius

The burning of Algerius, ordered by the Roman Catholic church.

A learned man and an excellent orator of Brescia, named Arnold, came to Rome and boldly preached against the corruptions and innovations which had crept into the church. His discourses were so clear, consistent, and breathed forth such a pure spirit of piety, that the senators and many of the people highly admired his doctrines.

This so greatly enraged Adrian that he commanded Arnold instantly to leave the city as a heretic. Arnold, however, did not comply, for the senators and some of the principal people took his part and resisted the authority of the pope.

Adrian now laid the city of Rome under an ecclesiastical censure, which caused the whole body of clergy to interfere; and at length he persuaded the senators and people to give up the point and allow Arnold to be banished. This being agreed to, he received the sentence of exile, and retired to Germany where he continued to preach against the pope and to expose the gross errors of the Church of Rome.
Adrian still thirsted for his blood and made several attempts to get him into his hands; but Arnold  avoided every snare laid for him. At length, Frederic Barbarossa requested that the pope would crown him king of Germany with his own hand. This Adrian complied with and at the same time asked a favor of the emperor, which was to put Arnold into his hands. The emperor very readily delivered up the unfortunate preacher, who soon fell as martyr to Adrian’s vengeance, being hanged and his body burnt to ashes at Apulia. The same fate attended several of his old friends and companions.

Encenas, a Spaniard, was sent to Rome, to be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith; but having conversed with some of the reformed and reading several treatises which they put into his hands, he became a Protestant. When this became known, one of his own relations informed against him. He was burnt by order of the pope and a conclave of cardinals. The brother of Encenas had been taken up about the same time for having a New Testament in the Spanish language in his possession; but before the time appointed for his execution, he found means to escape out of prison and retired to Germany.

Faninus, a learned layman, by reading controversial books became of the reformed religion. An information being exhibited against him to the pope, he was apprehended and cast into prison. His wife, children, relations, and friends visited him in his confinement and persuaded him to renounce his faith. This obtained his release. But he was no sooner free from confinement than his mind felt the heaviest of chains—the weight of a guilty conscience. His horrors were so great that he found them insupportable, until he had returned from his apostasy and declared himself fully convinced of the errors of the Church of Rome. To make amends for his falling off, he now openly and strenuously did all he could to make converts to Protestantism and was pretty successful in his endeavors. These proceedings occasioned his second imprisonment, but he had his life offered him if he would recant again. This proposal he rejected with disdain, saying that he scorned life upon such terms. Being asked why he would obstinately persist in his opinions and leave his wife and children in distress, he replied, “I shall not leave them in distress; I have recommended them to the care of an excellent trustee.” “What trustee?” said the person who had asked the question. Faninus answered, “Jesus Christ is the trustee I mean, and I think I could not commit them to the care of a better.”

On the day of execution he appeared remarkably cheerful. An observer said, “It is strange you should appear so merry upon such an occasion, when Jesus Christ Himself, just before His death, was in such agonies, that He sweated blood and water.” To which Faninus replied:

Christ sustained all manner of pangs and conflicts with hell and death on our account; and thus, by His sufferings, freed those who really believe in Him from the fear of them.

He was then strangled, his body was burnt to ashes and then scattered about by the wind.

Dominicus, a learned soldier, having read several controversial writings, became a zealous Protestant, and retiring to Placentia, he preached the gospel in its utmost purity to a very considerable congregation. One day, at the conclusion of his sermon, he said, “If the congregation will attend tomorrow, I will give them a description of Antichrist and paint him out in his proper colors.”

A vast concourse of people attended the next day, but just as Dominicus was beginning his sermon, a civil magistrate went up to the pulpit and took him into custody. When he was brought to examination this question was put to him: “Will you renounce your doctrines?” To which he replied: “My doctrines? I maintain no doctrines of my own; what I preach are the doctrines of Christ, and for those I will forfeit my blood, and even think myself happy to suffer for the sake of my Redeemer.” Every method was taken to make him recant for his faith and embrace the errors of the Church of Rome; but when persuasions and menaces were found ineffectual, he was sentenced to death, and hanged in the marketplace.

Galeacius, a Protestant gentleman, who resided near the castle of St. Angelo, was apprehended on account of his faith. Great endeavors being used by his friends he recanted and subscribed to several of the superstitious doctrines propagated by the Church of Rome.

Becoming, however, sensible of his error, he publicly renounced his recantation. Being apprehended for this, he was condemned to be burnt. He was chained to a stake, where he was left several hours before the fire was put to the fagots, in order that his wife, relations, and friends, who surrounded him, might induce him to give up his opinions. Galeacius, however, retained his constancy of mind and entreated the executioner to put fire to the wood that was to burn him. This he did, and Galeacius was soon consumed in the flames which burnt with amazing rapidity and deprived him of sensation in a few minutes.

Soon after this gentleman’s death, a great number of Protestants were put to death on account of their faith in various parts of Italy,  giving a sure proof of their sincerity in their martyrdoms.

End

* A note from Lighthouse Trails: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Still another edition removed most of the section (like the section above) in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs about persecution by the Roman Catholic papacy.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

The Persecution of John Huss, Brave Defender of the Christian Faith

John Huss

John Huss

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)

Letter to the Editor: Concerned About Voice of the Martyrs Catholic Promotion

Hello Lighthouse Trails:

I am wondering if you can help me out here.  I have been a long-time financial supporter of Voice of the Martyrs and each Sunday I try sending an encouraging postcard to a persecuted Christian somewhere (from their prison letter writing list).  Imagine my shock when last Sunday one of the prisoners profiled in Voice of the Martyrs prisoner list was a Catholic “Father” in Vietnam!!  Catholics were responsible for many Protestant deaths over the centuries!!  I am deeply concerned about this and plan to terminate my financial support with them and switch to Open Doors (or some Protestant organization which supports the persecuted church); however I want to research this a bit more.  I vaguely recall you once had an article about VOM concerning this and am wondering if you could kindly forward this to me?  Also what can you tell me about your version of Foxe Book of the Martyr’s vs the VOM version?

Thank you in advance,   John (not real name)

Our Response:

In 2010, Lighthouse Trails posted this article, “Concern Expressed Over Voice of the Martyrs Article on Mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon” and this one: “Voice of the Martyrs Responds to Lighthouse Trails Readers.”  And in 2011, we posted these articles: “Letter to Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs” and “Lighthouse Trails Regretfully No Longer Carrying Voice of the Martyrs Materials.”  Read Lighthouse Trails Blog entires about Voice of the Martyrs.

In response to your concern about VOM including the name of a Catholic priest on their August prisoner list, we share your concerns. We do not say that people who are Catholics should not be defended if they are being cruelly persecuted and imprisoned; however an organization like Voice of the Martyrs has built its reputation of being an advocate for evangelical and Protestant Christians. Many of the people who have donated money to the organization would not have done it had they known of VOM’s ecumenism. As the letter to the editor above points out, the historical Catholic church was responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of believers who would not bow to the heresies of the papacy (in particularly the Eucharist – that Christ is in a wafer that should be worshiped). See our article “Mrs. Prest – She Said No to Apostasy and Became a Martyr” as one example. So it seems strange that an organization that stands for persecuted Christians would in any way pay homage to Roman Catholicism which, by its very belief system (I.e., it is anathema to not embrace the Eucharistic sacraments), persecutes Christians.

In answer to the question about Lighthouse Trails’ edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs versus the VOM edition, here is our statement on why we were compelled to publish our own edition:

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published over five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition (ironically, published by an advocacy group for persecuted Christians), front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3: 17

Worth noting, in John Foxe’s original Book of Martyrs, Foxe wrote much about the persecution from the Catholic church. But in some of today’s editions, you will find stories of this papal persecution omitted.

In closing, there are many wonderful Christian organizations that are helping the poor, needy, and persecuted that are standing firm in the faith and not compromising the Gospel set forth in Scripture. We hope you and other LT readers will seek out these groups and consider supporting them.

Thank you for your letter.

Editors at Lighthouse Trails

Related Articles:

The Catholic Church’s Role in the Coming One-World Global Religion

The Missionary Goal of the Catholic Church

John Wickliffe – Standing (and Dying) for the Word of God Against Apostasy and False Doctrine

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnailby John Foxe
Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

It will not be inappropriate to devote a few pages of this work to a brief detail of the lives of some of those men who first stepped forward, regardless of the bigoted power which opposed all reformation, to stem the time of papal corruption and to seal the pure doctrines of the gospel with their blood.

Among these, Great Britain has the honor of taking the lead and first maintaining that freedom in religious controversy which astonished Europe, and demonstrated that political and religious liberty are equally the growth of that favored island. Among the earliest of these eminent persons was John Wickliffe.

This celebrated reformer, called the “Morning Star of the Reformation,” was born about the year 1324 in the reign of Edward II.
The first thing which drew him into public notice was his defense of the university against the begging friars, who from the time of their settlement in Oxford in 1230, had been troublesome neighbors to the university. Feuds were continually fomented; the friars appealing to the pope, the scholars to the civil power; and sometimes one party, and sometimes, the other, prevailed. The friars became very fond of a notion that Christ was a common beggar; that His disciples were beggars also; and that begging was of gospel institution. This doctrine they urged from the pulpit and wherever they had access.

Wickliffe had long held these religious friars in contempt for the laziness of their lives, and took advantage of the opportunity of exposing them. He published a treatise against able beggary, in which he lashed the friars and proved that they were not only a reproach to religion, but also to human society.

As a professor of divinity he complained against the pope in his lectures, citing his usurpation, supposed infallibility, pride, avarice, and his tyranny. He was the first who termed the pope Antichrist. From the pope, he would turn to the pomp, the luxury, and trappings of the bishops, and compared them with the simplicity of the first bishops. Their superstitions and deceptions were topics that he assailed with energy of mind and logical precision.

From the patronage of the duke of Lancaster Wickliffe received a good wage; but after the death of Edward III, the duke of Lancaster’s power began to decline and the enemies of Wickliffe, taking advantage of the circumstance, renewed their articles of accusation against him. Wickliffe was brought to trial and was undergoing examination at Lambeth, when, because of the riotous behavior of the populace without, they could not proceed to any definitive sentence. They terminated the whole affair in prohibiting Wickliffe from preaching those doctrines which were obnoxious to the pope. This was laughed at by our reformer, who, going about barefoot and in a long gown, preached more vehemently than before.

In the year 1378 a contest arose between two popes, Urban VI and Clement VII (who was the lawful pope). This was a favorable period for the exertion of Wickliffe’s talents: he soon produced a tract against popery, which was eagerly read by all sorts of people.
Next he set about a most important work, the translation of the Bible into English. Before this work appeared, he published a tract wherein he showed the necessity of it. The zeal of the bishops to suppress the Scriptures greatly promoted its sale, and they who were not able to purchase copies, procured transcripts of particular Gospels or Epistles. Afterward, when Lollardy8 increased and the flames kindled, it was a common practice to fasten about the neck of the condemned heretic such of these scraps of Scripture as were found in his possession, which generally shared his fate.

Immediately after this transaction, Wickliffe ventured a step further and attacked the doctrine of transubstantiation. Wickliffe then became a subject of the archbishop of Canterbury’s determined malice. The king, solicited by the archbishop, granted a license to imprison the teacher of heresy, but the commons made the king revoke this act as illegal. Letters were obtained from the king, directing the head of the University of Oxford to search for all heresies and books published by Wickliffe; in consequence of which order, the university became a scene of tumult. Wickliffe is supposed to have retired from the storm into an obscure part of the kingdom. The seeds, however, were scattered, and Wickliffe’s opinions were so prevalent that it was said if you met two persons upon the road, you might be sure that one was a Lollard. At this period, the disputes between the two popes continued. Urban published a bull in which he earnestly called upon all who had any regard for religion to exert themselves in its cause; and to take up arms against Clement and his adherents in defense of the holy see.

This war, in which the name of religion was so vilely prostituted, roused Wickliffe’s inclination even in his declining years. He took up his pen once more and wrote against it with the greatest acrimony. This severe piece drew upon him the resentment of Urban, and was likely to have involved him in greater troubles than he had before experienced, but providentially he was delivered out of their hands. He was struck with the palsy, and though he lived some time, yet it was in such a way that his enemies considered him as a person below their resentment.

Wickliffe returning within short space, either from his banishment or from some other place where he was secretly kept, repaired to his parish of Lutterworth, where he was parson; and there, quietly departing this mortal life, slept in peace in the Lord in the end of the year 1384.

After forty-one years of rest in his sepulcher, Wickliffe’s enemies ungraved him and turned him from earth to ashes; which ashes they also took and threw into the river. And so was he resolved into three elements, earth, fire, and water, thinking thereby utterly to extinguish and abolish both the name and doctrine of Wickliffe forever. But these and all others must know that, as there is no counsel against the Lord, so there is no keeping down of verity, but it will spring up and come out of dust and ashes, as appeared right well in this man; for though they dug up his body, burned his bones, and drowned his ashes, yet the Word of God and the truth of his doctrine, with the fruit and success thereof, they could not burn.  (from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, chapter 7, Lighthouse Trails, 2010)


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