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Showing posts with the label Martyrs

Anne Askew and Her Influence on the English Reformation

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: On July 16, 1546, Anne Askew was burned at the stake after suffering terrible tortures – the only woman on record to have tortured in the Tower of London. What caused such a fury against her? Anne was born around 1521 to Sir William Askew and Elizabeth Wrothesley in Lincolnshire. Her father was a courtier at King Henry VIII’s court, and one of her brother was Henry’s cup bearer. Little is known of Anne’s younger years but, as most noble women of her day, she was well educated. Anne was fifteen when her sister Martha died and Sir William, who had already paid the dowry to Martha’s fiancée, Thomas Kyme, decided to give him Anne instead. According to her early biographer, John Bale, she tried to be a submissive wife and loving mother to her two children, but her careful and faithful study of the Bible eventually convinced her of the truth of the Protestant teachings that were circulating at that time – a conviction she couldn’t hide. Read mo

The Reformation and Martyrdom

By Rev. Wes Bredenhof In parts of Europe, the Reformation was marked with the spilling of blood. In the first half of the sixteenth century, nowhere were more martyrs murdered than in the Low Countries. Reformed believers experienced intense persecution from the Spanish authorities. One of those believers was the author of the Belgic Confession, Guido de Brès. As a leading pastor in the Reformed churches, De Brès was a wanted man. Finally, on March 28, 1567, he was arrested and imprisoned. As he waited for his inevitable death sentence, de Brès wrote several letters. These letters survived and were later published. The most notable among them is the letter he wrote to his wife Catherine. You can hear the author of the Belgic Confession speak tenderly as a husband and father. In these words he comes alive, not only as a human being, but as a redeemed sinner bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. He went to his martyrdom on May 31, 1567 with full confidence in Christ. It was through mart

PATRICK HAMILTON; Scotland’s Royal Martyr

Posted at Clogher Valley Free Presbyterian Church: The 16th Century shaped the destiny of modern Britain more than any other era in our national story. This was the Reformation period, when the old establishment – which had dominated Europe for 1,000 years – was shaken, when theology turned the tide of history and dominated the affairs of nations. While grievances against the Church had been simmering away for many years, as the peasants yearned for greater freedoms, and when theological challenges to the authority of the Papacy, as Wycliffe and Huss had demonstrated, were nothing new, opposition to the beliefs of these early reformers had been held in check. The theological, political and social fabric of Europe had been conditioned for change in much the same way as wood is dried for the fire. In 1517, the circumstances were just right for the spark to be lit. It was Dr Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk, who ignited the fire on 31st October by pasting up his ‘95 arguments against

Suffering, Martyrdom, and Rewards in Heaven1

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None Of His Benefits: 'But before all these things, they will lay hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.' -Luke 21:12,13 I met Joseph Tson and his dear wife, Elizabeth in October, 2017 in Wittenberg, Germany as we celebrated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Thesis to the Castle Church door there in Wittenberg. We were using this historic occasion as an opportunity to discuss with other believers important theological documents for the evangelical world. I had known about Joseph Tson for many years but was so pleased to meet him and find out more about his amazing life in Communist Romania. While a young man, Joseph remembered how the belief in the Romanian church that God does not want His people to suffer corrupted the church. He sadly said that he also once joine

The Abitinian Martyrs – The Christians Who Couldn’t Do Without a Lord’s Day Service.

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: "Sine dominico non possumus" ("We can't do without the Lord’s Day"). This was the answer of a group of 49 Christians (31 men and 18 women) who were arrested for participating in a Lord’s Day service. They lived in or around Abitina, a city in today's Tunisia which was at that time under Rome. It was the year 304, and Emperor Diocletian had launched an empire-wide persecution against Christians, forbidding their meetings, destroying their churches, and demanding them to hand over (tradere) their Scriptures. Defying the emperor’s orders, this group, led by their presbyter Saturninus, continued to meet secretly for worship in private homes. Discovered and arrested, they were sent to Carthage, about 50 miles away, to be tried by proconsul Gaius Annius Anulinus. Commenting on this arrest, the author of the Acts of the Abitinian Martyrs [1] – most likely an eye-witness – wrote: “As if a Chr

Pomponio Algerio and His Resolute Faith

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: Most tourists to Rome stop by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers, in Piazza Navona. Some drop a coin in the water and make a wish. Hardly anyone is aware that in the same square a young Italian man was boiled in a cauldron of oil, pitch, and turpentine for his religious convictions. And yet, the man’s young age, stubborn refusal to recant, and astonishing composure during that final, agonizing ordeal, have contributed to imprint his name in the history of the Protestant Reformation. Algerio was born around 1531 in Nola, near Naples, Italy - the same birth-place of another famous dissenter, Giordano Bruno. That general area was also where a Spanish Reformer, Juan De Valdes, held a Protestant-leaning conventicle. Quite possibly, Algerio had already been exposed to dissenting ideas by the time he moved to the university of Padova (or Padua, as it is known outside of Italy). In Padova, he lived with other stu

Perpetua and Felicitas – Two Martyred Mothers

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth : In A.D. 202, Emperor Septimius Severus tightened his measures against Christians who refused to pay homage to the imperial genius, the spirit of the emperor. Compliance required a minimal effort: a simple sprinkling of a few grains of incense on a brazier before an imperial image. Those who conformed received a certificate that protected them from harassment. For many Christians, that was not an option. It was not an option for Vibia Perpetua, a 22-year-old noblewoman and mother of a nursing child. In the winter of 203, she was arrested with other Christians, including four new converts who, like her, had been catechized in preparation for baptism. Among these were two of Perpetua’s brothers and an enslaved young woman named Felicitas, who was eight-months pregnant. The new converts were baptized while in prison. They lived in Theourba, a small town about 30 miles from Carthage – one of the greatest centers of ear

Blandina – God’s Strength in Weakness

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth : When the Roman authorities hung Blandina to a pole and exposed her to a crowd of blood-thirsty spectators, they thought they could frighten anyone who rebelled to their rules. What they didn’t know is that they were holding her up as an example that gave new strength and courage to other Christians. The Persecution at Lyons Contrary to popular opinion, the Romans were not in the habit of killing Christians. Many disliked them and distrusted them, particularly in the beginning, when their teachings seemed too new and strange. But only a few emperors launched a sustained program against them – most famously Diocletian, who in 303 AD started a persecution that lasted eight years. Some violent persecutions came from crowds who looked for a reason for their calamities. This is what happened in the region of Vienne and Lyons (ancient Lugdunum), in what is now southern France. Continue here...

The Testimony and Martyrdom of ANNE ASKEW

 By Howard Douglas King - Posted at The Old Paths : Introduction The following account is taken from the old book, Cross and Crown , by James D. McCabe, a collection of accounts of the martyrs of the Protestant Reformation period. The section headings, introduction, and conclusion are mine. Why would anyone want to hear the story of one of the church’s martyrs? From the human point of view, it seems like nothing but a tragedy of hopelessness — the good and beautiful trampled into the dust by gigantic, unstoppable forces of evil. But from the Divine viewpoint, it’s the story of one saint’s super-human courage, strength, and triumph! She looked the devil in the face, and did not flinch. She dared his minions to do their worst, and braved their furious hate! She overcame them by the blood of the lamb, and the word of her testimony, and she is now in heaven, out of the reach of any evil, at rest, surrounded by saints and angels, held in honor by all, awaiting the day of Jesus Christ, and t

Estifanos of Gwendagwende – Reformer and Martyr

By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth: Estifanos of Gwendagwende – Reformer and Martyr Around the time when John Wyclif and Ian Hus shook the western church by challenging its authority and traditions, a lesser-known monk did something similar in Ethiopia. He was known as Abba Estifanos (in English, Father Stephen). Estifanos’s Early Life By the time Estifanos was born in 1380 in the village of Sebuha, northwestern Ethiopia, his father Berhane Meskel had already died in battle. Estifanos was named by his relatives Hadege Anbesa (“likeness of a lion”) and was raised by his uncle to follow in his father’s footsteps as a valiant soldier for their nation. But Estifanos’s interest was only in learning more about God and how to please him. Against the wishes of his relatives, he joined a religious center called Beta Iyyasus (Church of Jesus), where he was consecrated as a deacon at age eighteen. From there, he moved to the Qoyetsa monastery, in the region of Tigray, wher

No Other Foundation: History of Christianity, 100 - 500AD

By Michael Haykin - Posted at Sermon Audio: For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3.11 ESV

John Huss: Story of a Martyr

Published on Oct 12, 2015 Almighty God, who gave to your servant John Huss Boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Link:

Calvin’s Letter To Five Missionaries About To Be Martyred For The Gospel

Posted at The Heidelblog: " MY VERY DEAR BRETHREN, 1—Hitherto I have put off writing to you, fearing that if the letter fell into bad hands, it might give fresh occasion to the enemy to afflict you. And besides, I had been informed how that God wrought so powerfully in you by His grace, that you stood in no great need of my letters. However, we have not forgotten you, neither I nor all the brethren hereabouts, as to whatever we have been able to do for you. As soon as you were taken, we heard of it, and knew how it had come to pass. We took care that help might be sent you with all speed, and are now waiting the result. Those who have influence with the prince in whose power God has put your lives, are faithfully exerting themselves on your behalf, but we do not yet know how far they have succeeded in their suit. Meanwhile, all the children of God pray for you as they are bound to do, not only on account of the mutual compassion which ought to exist between members of the same

Scotland's Protestant Martyrs: Thomas Forret

By Aaaron Denlinger - Posted at Reformation 21 : The persecution of Protestants in Scotland, at least if measured in martyrdoms, peaked in 1539, shortly after Cardinal David Beaton, a zealous opponent of reform, was appointed primate of the country. Glasgow witnessed the execution of two individuals that year: Jerome Russell, a Dominican friar whose preaching revealed Protestant sympathies, and Alexander Kennedy, a teenager whose talent for writing poetry caused him trouble when he turned it to criticizing the clergy. An anonymous man was executed in the town of Cupar, near St. Andrews, around the same time. And on the First of March, Scotland's capital saw no less than five persons "wirried and brint" -- that is, hanged and burned -- for heresy: William Keillour, John Beveridge, Duncan Simpson, Robert Forster, and Thomas Forret. Of the five "heresiarchs" executed in Edinburgh, none had quite so fascinating a tale as Thomas Forret, an Augustinian monk turne

Cowardice, Courage, and the Death of Cranmer

By Nathan Busenitz - Posted at The Master's Seminary : A brief sketch from the pages of Reformation history. Four hundred sixty years ago, on March 21, 1556, a crowd of curious spectators packed University Church in Oxford, England. They were there to witness the public recantation of one of the most well-known English Reformers, a man named Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer had been arrested by Roman Catholic authorities nearly three years earlier. At first, his resolve was strong. But after many months in prison, under daily pressure from his captors and the imminent threat of being burned at the stake, the Reformer’s faith faltered. His enemies eventually coerced him to sign several documents renouncing his Protestant faith. In a moment of weakness, in order to prolong his life, Cranmer denied the truths he had defended throughout his ministry, the very principles upon which the Reformation itself was based. Read more...

‘Scotland’s last martyr’ : remembering James Renwick

Posted at New College Librarian : February was a suitable month to remember James Renwick (15 February 1662 – 17 February 1688). Renwick was a graduate of Edinburgh University who accepted a call to the ministry within the independent Presbyterian church ‘societies’. These communities were formed by the Covenanters, so named because they bound themselves in ‘covenants’ to maintain the Presbyterian doctrine as the sole form of religion in Scotland. They rejected the attempts of the Crown to control church government and patronage in Scotland. Renwick’s short career included illegal field preaching, baptizing, and eluding capture by the authorities. His sermons and letter were published as tracts and pamphlets, some of which are preserved in New College Library’s Pamphlets Collection. Read more...

The Martyrdom Of George Wishart - 1 March 1546

Posted at The Heidelblog : "On the sixteenth day of January, 1546, the Regent and cardinal arrived after night-fall at Elphingston Tower, in the neighbourhood of Ormiston, with five hundred men, and despatched the Earl of Bothwell to apprehend Wishart, holding themselves in readiness, if need were, to support him by force. As soon as the Reformer became aware of his errand, he cried out to Cockburn and his other friends, “Open the gates), the blessed will of my God be done.” The earl being admitted with some other gentlemen who accompanied him, Wishart addressed him thus: “I praise my God that so honourable a man as you, my lord, receives me this night in the presence of these noblemen, for now I am assured, that for your honour’s sake, you will suffer nothing to be done unto me contrary to the order of law. I am not ignorant that their law is nothing but corruption, and a cloak to shed the blood of the saints; but yet I less fear to die openly, than secretly to be murdered.”  …On

1688: James Renwick, to end the Killing Time

Posted at : Though none of the crowd that thronged Edinburgh’s Grassmarket this day in 1688 could know it, that date’s execution of minister James Renwick would make to the Killing Time , the great 1680s persecutions that scattered martyrs’ bones  across Highland and Lowland. Renwick, at any rate, was the last of many Covenanters who submitted to the public executioner; only a few months yet remained when officers in the field were empowered to force an oath of abjuration upon suspected dissidents, on pain of summary death in the field. By year’s end, the absolutist Catholic King James II — with whose brother and predecessor the movement had such a tortured history — fled to exile as the Glorious Revolution brought the Protestant  William of Orange to power: royal recognition of Scottish Presbyterianism ensued.* Monument to Renwick at his native Moniaive. (cc) image by Scott Hill . Read more...

Hugh McKail Martyred (1666): 'He Gained the Martyr’s Crown'

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : "Farewell father, mother, friends, and relations; Farewell the world and its delights; farewell meat and drink; farewell sun, moon, and starts; Welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesus Christ the mediator of the New Covenant; welcome blessed Spirit of grace, the God of all consolation; welcome glory, welcome eternal life; welcome death! Into Thy Hands I commit my spirit." (Hugh McKail's last words) The enemies of the Covenanters had very long memories. Long after sermons were preached or actions taken, the authorities in Scotland remembered words and actions against them. Such was the case with a young minister by the name of Hugh McKail. A child of the manse, from Bothwell, Scotland, his pastor father was one of those forced out of his pulpit and parish when he refused to conform to Prelacy. Little is known of young Hugh’s early days, but he did go to Edinburgh for education. There he was soon marked out as a young man of


Minister of the Gospel, who suffered in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, February 17, 1688. Emitted from his own hand, the day before his suffering. MY DEAR FRIENDS IN CHRIST, It hath pleased the Lord to deliver me up into the hands of men; and I think fit to send you this salutation, which I expect will be the last. When I pose [i.e., question] my heart upon it, before God, I dare not desire to have escaped this lot; for no less could have been for His glory and vindication of His cause on my behalf. And as I am free before Him of the profanity, which some, either naughty, wicked, or strangers to me, have reported that I have been sometimes guilty of, so He hath kept me, from the womb, free of the ordinary pollutions of children; as these that have been acquainted with me through the tract of my life do know. And now my blood shall either more silence reproachers, or more ripen them for judgment. But I hope it shall make some more sparing to speak of those who shall come after me; and so