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)
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