Ever hear of Joan Waste, Roger Holland, Ralph Allerton, James and Margery Austoo, or Richard Roth? Chances are you have not heard of them.
You might have heard about them if you are a history buff or attend a Protestant church that relates its “roots” from time to time. Sad to say, though, many (not all) who attend a Protestant church have no idea why there is even a classification called “Protestant.”
Briefly, even from its inception the true Church had to fight the onslaughts of satan (I try to avoid capitalizing that name) who attacked the faithful with persecutions and temptations. When the former was failing, the enemy was able to infiltrate the Church by the latter. Within three or four short centuries, the existing Church took on the trappings of the world (as it does today) while the faithful few interceded on its behalf. When it became too worldly, the faithful departed from the system and tenaciously clung to the actual Word of God, the Bible.
The six people listed above were part of the multitude of thousands in the 1500's that actively stood upon the Word of God despite intense persecutions from the religious. Most of those people were burned alive, some having gunpowder stuffed in their mouths prior to the flames being set.
These believed as the Word of God clearly teaches that only God, through Jesus Christ alone, could save people from sin and hell, and that salvation was not earned, but granted freely upon true repentance and commitment to Christ. They protested (hence, Protestant), among other things, abuses within the existing Church and its deviation from the Holy Scriptures regarding salvation.
Each October 31 our church, and a few other churches, commemorate the stand such people took not just in the 1500's, but in the centuries before and after that night when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg church.
While we most certainly do not know of all who suffered and died for Christ, God, of course, does. And not only that, those who were truly committed to Jesus Christ have eternal life. Jesus said in Mark 16:25, “whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” In addition to that, these who were martyred will also be rewarded for their part in the continuance of the transmission of the Gospel down through the years to the present time.
Every true Christian should be willing in to follow in the steps of their predecessors who followed Christ, Who gave the supreme sacrifice.
May you have a blessed Reformation Day.
"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of rubies, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children." --- Isaiah 54:11-13
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