Consider What Is Transpiring Before Our Eyes
Chris Lawson (Revised June 23, 2015)
I write the following in consideration of what has happened in the past in relation to Christians suffering throughout history, and through the Reformation and post-Reformation era. Today we see much of the same thing happening around us, yet on a much broader scale in the 21st century - widespread Christian persecution. To note at the outset, I am not a proponent of Reformed Theology. (For those interested in why I am not Reformed, you may read these articles links and this PDF notebook.)
In 1989, just a few months before I became a Christian, I stood where Christians had been slaughtered during the Spanish Inquisition. I was in a torture chamber museum called Instrumentos de tortura, located down a side alley in the old "Imperial City" of Toledo, located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid.
It was there that I first truly considered the commitment of true Christians who stood firm in their faith against the horrors of the Roman Catholic slaughtering machine. I seriously considered all who faithfully trusted in Christ alone for their salvation. At that time I was not even a true believer in Jesus Christ, yet I considered those who were smashed and ripped to pieces by "Rome" for their faith - simply because they trusted in Christ and His Word alone, not the Roman Catholic "Eucharistic Jesus" and the endless doctrinal errors of the Roman Papacy. In those few hours that I stood and considered the instruments of torture and the methods implemented in that Spanish torture chamber, I was overwhelmed by the reality and brutality with which satanic genius can be foisted upon the minds of sinful men.
Years later in 2004, I visited the ruins of St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral, in Scotland. At that time I stood as a true Bible believing Christian on the initials "PH" and "GW" - the large stone initials that were literally placed into the cobblestone street at St. Andrews Castle. This same location is where Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart were burned alive because they remained loyal to the historical Jesus Christ of Scripture. Like so many other Christian martyrs through the centuries who were burned at the stake, they too refused to yield to Roman Catholic heresies and were burned alive for doing so.
In consideration of the torment that these men suffered for standing true to Christ, I wept. These men were faithful to Scripture and the Jesus Christ of Scripture. They both outright rejected many of the errors of Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholic "clergy" did not like that, so they burned Hamilton and Wishart. Again, Hamilton and Wishart resisted betraying Christ. Cardinal Beaton, a slaughtering machine from Rome, was at the helm of Hamilton and Wishart's deaths.
At Ormiston in East Lothian, in January 1546, he [Wishart] was seized by Lord Bothwell on the orders of Cardinal Beaton, taken to Elphinstone Castle, and transferred by order of the privy council to Edinburgh castle on 19 January 1546. Thence he was handed over to Beaton, who had a "show trial", with John Lauder prosecuting Wishart. Execution by burning at the stake followed at St Andrews on 1 March 1546. Foxe and Knox attribute to him a prophecy of the death of the Cardinal, who was assassinated on 29 May following, partly in revenge for Wishart's death.
Wishart's preaching in 1544–45 helped popularize the teachings of Calvin and Zwingli in Scotland. He translated into English the first Helvetic Confession of Faith in 1536. At his trial he refused to accept that confession was a sacrament, denied free will, recognized the priesthood of all believing Christians, and rejected the notion that the infinite God could be "comprehended in one place" between "the priest's hands". He proclaimed that the true Church was where the Word of God was faithfully preached and the two dominical sacraments rightly administered.
The Martyrs Memorial at St Andrews was erected to the honour of George Wishart, Patrick Hamilton, and other martyrs of the Reformation era.
What were Hamilton and Wishart's crimes?
Considering Hamilton and Wishart's alleged crimes of believing and teaching the New Testament scriptures from the Greek text, I wept. As I did I thought of the many faithful Christians who were burned alive, just like Hamilton and Wishart, hundreds of years ago, in Toledo, Spain. Incredibly, even today and much more so, countless millions suffer for the true Gospel and cause of Jesus Christ, both at the hands of Roman Catholic persecutors, and at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
On a different note, very near to where I used to live on the seaside of Edinburgh, Scotland, I used stand on the beach in the frigid nighttime cold. It was there that I often times considered the men and women who were burned at the stake, just a short distance from my comfortable seaside home. The martyrs who died there in Scotland also remained faithful to Christ, against all manner of evil and the world that sought to cruelly destroyed them. Those Christians too loved Christ more than the world and they paid for it with their own lives. How sad it is that many professing Christians today don't even consider the cost of following the Jesus. Why? Because they believe and trust in a counterfeit Jesus (2 Cor. 11:1-4) that cannot save.
Popular Christianity today?
I sit in amazement today at the amount of pastors, ministries, and individual Christians that are more concerned about being popular than being faithful to God and His wonderful Word. The amount of abuses and human fallout from churches - because leaders refuse to listen to and heed biblical warnings - is utterly staggering. If more leaders would listen to discerning Christians who see the "signs of the times" and who lovingly warn about the great apostasy swirling around us, we would see more faithful Christians raised up in the today.
The simple facts before our very eyes today beg the question, "What is more important, being popular, or being faithful to God and His Word?" Remembering II Timothy 3:10-17 is more than appropriate in our age today, is it not?:
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:10-17)
Christian social crimes today?
What are our Christian social "crimes" in this current age of deceit? Telling the truth as Scripture does, going against the rising tide of ever increasing neo-Evangelical ecumeniucal apostasy, and remaining loyal to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Risen Savior and Messiah and the only way of salvation. Jesus said (emphasis added):
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. (John 14:1-7)
Today the goal of SRN is the same as it has been since we began our ministry as a small outreach in Edinburgh, Scotland, back in the Fall of 2004 - to proclaim the Gospel and encourage biblical discernment! In doing so we seek to remain faithful to Christ and His Word instead of winning popularity contests and the approval of men. In the words of the Apostle Paul to young pastor Timothy - so too we encourage all to memorize and heed the exceedingly wonderful Word of God:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)