Edmond Richer’s Costly Church Politics

Edmund Richer was a doctor of the Sorbonne, Grand Master of the College of Cardinal Le Moine, and trustee of the University of Paris. He became a prisoner and lost his positions after he dared to publish in 1611 Libellus de Ecclesiastica et Politica Potestate (The Book of Ecclesiastical and Political Power ). The bulk of the work was not even his, as it consisted mostly of quotes from theologian Jean Charlier de Gerson (1363–1429) who had been a powerful player at the Council of Constance that deposed Pope John XXII (now labelled an anti-pope).

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Caspar Peucer, vulnerable theologian

Caspar Peucer spent twelve years in prison (1574 – 1586) over his interpretation of the Lord’s Supper. Strict Lutherans believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. “The body and blood of Christ are truly present, and are communicated to those that eat in the Lord’s Supper.” After Luther’s death Philipp Melanchthon and his followers (Philippists) promoted a view more in line with that of the Swiss Reformation, “with bread and wine are truly exhibited the body and blood of Christ to those that eat in the Lord’s Supper.” Continue reading “Caspar Peucer, vulnerable theologian”

The history and causes of persecution

Ignatius of Antioch fed to lions in Rome

Why are Christians persecuted? What is God’s purpose for it? Why do people do it? How are believers to meet it? Roy Stults has compiled the church’s reactions and responses to persecution from its earliest centuries. Chapter eight offers deeply perceptive insights into persecution from theologians of the last sixty years. Download your free copy of the entire book in PDF format now.

Mom in prison for sons

Firmin Abauzit was born into a Huguenot family in France in 1679. After King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, depriving Huguenots of civil liberties and the right to worship as Protestants, Firmin’s mom helped the ten-year-old escape from France. For two years he and a brother hid out before making their way to Geneva. Firmin went on to become an internationally-known scholar and scientist (unfortunately, family with different religious views destroyed most of his works after his death). His mom, however, went to prison for her role in helping her sons leave France where authorities had attempted to force a Catholic education on them. She eventually escaped herself and joined her sons.

William Prynne suffered for outspoken Puritan views

William Prynne, a Puritan lawyer, wrote Histriomastix, or the Player’s Scourge, directed against the sinfulness of play-acting, masques, and revels. This aroused the indignation of the British court because he unwisely declared actresses were whores. Since Queen Henrietta Maria enjoyed plays and sometimes took part in performances herself, his statement was considered seditious.

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Grafton learns the cost of Bible printing

Grafton’s mark was a young tree (graft) growing out of a cask (tun).

The early printers of the Bible incurred great risks. Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch, together with Miles Coverdale, were entrusted to arrange for the printing of Thomas Mathew’s translation. The work was given to the printers in Paris, as the English printers were not very highly esteemed. The book was nearly completed when the Inquisition effectually stopped the further progress of the work by seizing the sheets, and Grafton with his companions were forced to flee. Richard Grafton and Whitchurch contrived to obtain their types from Paris, and the Bible was completed in 1539. Thus they became printers themselves, and as a reward for his labor, when the Roman Catholics again became rulers in high places, Richard Grafton was imprisoned. Continue reading “Grafton learns the cost of Bible printing”

George Whitefield’s Theology of Persecution

Whitefield preaching.

George Whitefield was a well-known evangelist during the Evangelical revival in England in the eighteenth century, a co-laborer at times with John and Charles Wesley. Although he did not suffer martyrdom, he suffered ridicule and knew what it was to be excluded from pulpits. Therefore he could speak first hand of persecution. One of his more famous sermons was titled, “Persecution Every Christian’s Lot.” In it he presented a biblical perspective on Christian suffering. 

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Origen’s take on persecution

[Imaginary portrait of Origen]

Origen was the son of a martyr and himself suffered imprisonment and torture late in life. A teacher and theologian, he wrote on persecution as one who had witnessed it and who was prepared to experience it. Although he suffered for his faith, contemporary church leaders condemned some of his teachings because they veered into heretical territory. Continue reading “Origen’s take on persecution”