August 2009
April 2009
March 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
Recent Entries
Book Review: Your Jesus Is Too Safe
Movie Metaphysics: The Dark Knight
What's Going On Here??
Why I'm Getting Rid of Google Chrome
Twitter and Me
To the 52, From 1 Of the 48
A Note To Authors (and PR people, too)
Beat Coastal, The Sequel

February 03, 2007

This Week in Church History

February 4, 1555.

John Rogers was a good Catholic, born when everyone was a good Catholic (or a heathen). He also lived at a time when many were questioning the unscriptural practices of the established church.

Rogers was given a church position after he finished his education, but soon resigned. There were things that he was being taught that he could not reconcile with Scripture, and felt he could no longer serve the church. And that was where he was very wrong.

After his resignation, Rogers moved to Holland, where he became friends with one of the foremost establishment-questioners in England -- William Tyndale. Tyndale eventually persuaded Rogers of the truth of the Protestant viewpoint, and Rogers left the Catholic church. When Tyndale was arrested and thrown into jail for his beliefs, he left Rogers with a very precious gift -- a manuscript of his translation of the Old Testament from Joshua to Chronicles.

Rogers worked for the next year to put together an entire Bible in English based on Tyndale's work. Of course, Tyndale's name couldn't go on the Bible -- he was condemned as a heretic. Rogers wouldn't take credit for the work himself, so it was published under a pseudonym -- Thomas Matthews. Bishop Thomas Cranmer was so excited to see it, he recommended that the king authorize it for widespread use among the fledgling Church of England. Henry VIII did just that, and so the Matthews Bible (and NOT the King James Bible, as usually erroneously reported) became the very first Bible in English that was authorized by the king.

You would think that Rogers' life would have a happy ending, but it was not to be. Protestant/Catholic tensions remained very high (as much for political reasons as for theological ones). Rogers remained committed to the principles of the Reformation even after Mary became queen and Catholicism was once again the official faith of England -- even being questioned by Catholic bishops about the content of one of his sermons. Rogers was not found to be a danger to the crown, so he was released.

The trouble started when some churchgoers rioted during a sermon by a Catholic priest. Rogers attempted to calm them, but they would hear none of it -- even attacking one of the queen's bishops. The Mayor of the town was threatened -- show you can keep order in the town, or we will find someone who can. He had Rogers arrested.

Rogers spent over a year in prison, and was questioned repeatedly. When the death sentence was passed, Rogers was not permitted to send a final message to his wife -- he was told that as a former priest, he could not be legally married. At the stake, he was offered the standard recant and be spared option, and refused. On this date in 1555, he became the first of "Bloody" Mary I's victims.

John Rogers served his church and his God, even in the face of persecution. He never attacked his accusers; in fact, he protected the queen's bishop from the rioters right before he was arrested. He had compassion for those who he felt had been duped by a corrupt church. And he would not turn away from his faith, even when offered his life.

It's easy for us to think we are persecuted when people make fun of us, or lie about us and our faith. We need to learn from John Rogers, and stick with our faith. We also need to remember that whatever persecution we face here in America is nothing in comparison to what people throughout history and all over the world have faced, and continue to face, every day.

Posted by Warren Kelly at February 3, 2007 02:55 PM | TrackBack
Email me!
Email Protection by Name Intelligence