Thursday, January 29, 2009

Amazed by what I've taken for granted

Honestly I am surprised that it has taken me so long to figure this out. I think a fire has been lit in me- I just read a work of historical fiction about Elizabeth I, Queen of England in the 1500's. Of course, being fiction, everything in it isn't true. But it really got me thinking about what was going on during that time of history with the church. The Roman Catholic Church was heavily persecuting Protestants- It was in 1561 that the Belgic Confession was written by Guido de Bres to explain that the Reformers were "not rebels, but law abiding citizens who professed Biblical doctrines." (Living for God's Glory by Joel R. Beeke). Philip II of Spain was a staunch Roman Catholic who had no mercy on protestants. He was also the husband of Mary, Queen of England before her younger sister Elizabeth became heir to the throne. According to Beeke's book, a copy of the confession was sent to Philip II along with a statement that the "petitioners were ready to obey the government in all things lawful, but would 'offer their backs to stripes,their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire, well knowing that those who follow Christ must take His cross and deny themselves' rather than deny the truth expressed in the confession." That really gets me! To think of the pain and martyrdom that such a statement caused. Guido de Bres died for taking a stand, for writing something that I have never really studied even though it is one of the main confessional statements of my Reformed faith!

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