“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.” ~1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NLT)
Jan Hus—Never heard of him until now. He was considered to be the first Church reformer and was heavily involved in serving the Church at an early age in Prague. He was influenced by the writings of John Wycliffe and despite the fact that the Church banned his writings Jan Hus translated Wycliffe’s “Trialogus” into Czech and distribute it among the Kingdom of Bohemia. When Gregory XII and Benedict XIII declared that they were The Pope in 1408 (kinda like a “Push-Me Pull-You” papacy), Jan Hus vowed a position of neutrality on behalf of the Bohemian nation even though he was known for outlining the moral failings of clergy, bishops and yes, of course, the papacy.
Eventually this dude gets excommunicated, arrested and imprisoned like was the practice in his time period for those that were accused of heresy on multiple levels. The usual kangaroo court was convened (most likely had the same kinda guys Hus had been speaking out against) and an opportunity to recant what he has said against the antipope/antichurch. When he wouldn’t he was taken to the stake on which he was to be burned upon, publicly forgave everyone and then made this statement, “God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today.” Then the fire was lite…..
As three men traveled to Worms, France along with this most wanted theologian one of them pondered out loud, “But Brother Martin, what if you end up like Jan Hus?” “Though Hus was burned the truth was not burned, and Christ still lives.” Martin Luther was a man that stated The Bible should be so that it could be read by everyone. (maybe without James…different Freedom Fighter for a different day) A man named Johann Eck became a nemesis, the papal nuncio tried to bargain with him then Pope Leo X excommunicated him but Luther remained steadfast with 95 reasons to tell the Church that what was going on within it was anti-papal.
Emperor Charles V declared Luther an outlaw and issues this decree, “We want him to be apprehended as a notorious heretic.” It was crime for any Germen to give Luther food or shelter and it was permitted to kill Luther without legal consequence. Wow…this dude got people mad!!
I like the story of these two rocks that made their stand. In a time where the Gospel was watered downed for the sake of sinful men Jan Hus and Martin Luther said enough is enough. When I look at things today, especially in social media, my heart kinda sinks each time I see that Christianity has become some kind of exclusive club where only the appointed get to live a better life and everyone else gets criticized for being filthy sinners. We weren’t instructed to play it safe, we’ve been instructed to share Jesus.
Today we are also being surrounded by way too many theologies and not enough true Gospel teaching. Thanksgiving has past us and Christmas is just ahead (if you don’t count that Santa Clause was in the Walmarts before Halloween). While we are out and about it is to us to let people know that Jesus is the reason for any season and beyond. When a “Merry Christmas” is offered, give it back and if you get a “Happy Holidays” instead don’t go thumpin’ the Walmart greeter with your King James edition, just give the Gospel and if necessary use words. If we want the heresies to stop then it is to us to stop them. Just remember that it is all done for the cause of The Cross and not for the cause of getting people to feel further outta place in a cold and desperate world, Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes, Colony grad of 11-2003, serves on the deacon board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ.
Think About This: “If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the Gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the Gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the Gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning.” ~Martin Luther
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you. ~Deuteronomy 3:22