MARTYRDOM OF THOMAS CRANMER
I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. (Psalm 78:2-4)
INTRODUCTION: BIBLE PROTESTANTISM HAS A GLORIOUS HISTORY. It is an epic story of a deadly struggle from under the heel of the Roman system to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. In our ecumenical and apostate age, this story needs to be retold that the battle may continue. This is the twenty first of a number of posts (hence entitled: Protestant21) and is just another shot fired in this great battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. We are deliberately aiming at brevity, leaving it to other works (listed later) to satisfy any hunger for further information. These pages may therefore be viewed as tasty appetisers. May God give us the faith of these old Protestants who loved not their lives unto death and of whom, the world in its sin, was not worthy.
ARCHBISHOP THOMAS CRANMER (1489-1556)
Cranmer had risen to the high office of Archbishop in the Roman Church before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. He was the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury. Initially, he recanted under great pressures. However, when he was taken to St Mary's Church in Oxford to read a prepared sermon, he nailed his colours very firmly to the mast: "And now I come to the great thing which troubleth my conscience more than any other thing that ever I said or did in my life; and this is, the setting abroad things contrary to the truth; which here I now renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand, contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and writ for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be; and that is, all such bills, which I have written or signed with mine own hand since my degradation; wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall be first punished; for if I come to the fire, it shall be first burned. And as for the Pope, I refuse him as Christ's enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine." Cranmer was as good as his word. When he was martyred at the stake on 21st March, 1556 he plunged his hand into the flame and was heard to repeat on several occasions the phrase, "This unworthy right hand."
* Spurgeon on the martyrdom of 'our Protestant forefathers' (Graphic)
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