Thursday, May 05, 2005Know your reformers...
You know this guy? You should. Many credit Jan Hus with the beginning of the Reformation.
Hus was born in Southern Bohemia (present day Czech Republic) in 1370. He was a theology professor, a Romanist priest, and later a university rector. That's until he started reading some of John Wycliffe's (the translator of the first English bible) sermons and writings.
Wycliffe's bible sermons had a strong impact on Hus. Instead of promoting Romanist teachings and dogma, Hus turned to teaching his congregation the Bible of all things! He began to publicly denounce such Romanist staples as Peter being the foundation of the church (instead of Christ), the selling of indulgences, the authority of the popery, Latin mass (which none could understand except for the Romanist elite), and other Romanist heresies.
Romanist archbishops attempted to silence Hus by burning his literature, firing him from his university post, and placing the city under interdict. Their actions failed. The population, attracted by the controversy, would flock to the Bethlehem chapel to hear him preach THE BIBLE.
Things eventually got too hot in Prague (where he preached), so he took off and hid from the Romanist authorities in the country. After a short time, the pope sent word to Hus that he should convene in Constance, Switzerland, so he could explain his grievances with Romanism. Hus' friends warned him that he was most likely walking into a trap, but after receiving assurances that he would not be harmed, Hus took off for Constance.
Upon arriving in Constance, Hus was arrested and thrown into a Dominican dungeon where he nearly died of disease and malnutrition. When asked about his broken promise, the pope reportedly answered: "When dealing with heretics, one is not obligated to keep his word."
The subsequent trial was an utter travesty of justice. Hus wasn't even given any time to offer any defense to the myriad of charges the Romanist leaders brought against him. Without wasting any time, they condemned the righteous preacher to death; they would give him the heretics death penalty, which was burning at the stake.
So they tied Hus up, in the midst of dry stubble, and as the executioner approached him with a flaming rod, the Duke of Bavaria approached and yelled out: "Repent of your errors!" To that, the righteous man replied:
"I thought the danger already passed, but happily, I am nothing tempted to gainsay what I have advanced. I have taught the truth, and am now ready to seal it with my blood. Ultimately it shall prevail, though I may not see it. This day you kindle the flames of persecution about a poor and worthless sinner; but the spirit which animates me, shall, phoenix-like, ascend from my ashes, soar majestically on high through many succeeding ages, and prove to all the Christian world, how vain this persecution, how impotent your rage."
As the flames were kindled, and approached Jan Hus, he broke into song, singing: "Christ, Thou Son of the living God, have mercy on me."
Jan Hus' last response was correct. Shortly after his martyrdom, the Reformation was in full swing with such men as Martin Luther, John Knox and John Calvin. Bible preaching was back and that, in a big way!
Praise God for raising up men like Jan Hus. Men who stood for the Scriptures even if it meant death.
Rand's Prayer: Lord, by your grace, make me to be such a man. Give me the courage and attitude to live up to the Words: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25)