Isaiah 8:20; Romans 4:3; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 11:6
To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them…What saith the Scripture?
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works…And if by grace, then is it nor more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): Such are the principles of Christianity and of the Reformation―The Reformers and the Apostles held up the Word of God alone for light, just as they hold up the sacrifice of Christ alone for righteousness. To attempt to mix human authority with this absolute authority of God, or human righteousness with this perfect righteousness of Christ, is to corrupt Christianity in its two foundations. Such are the fundamental heresies of Rome.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Rome may well be called, “The slaughter-house of the martyrs.” She hath shed much Christian blood in every age―for at Rome under the Pope, as well as under the heathen emperors, were the bloody orders and edicts given: and wherever the blood of holy men was shed, there were grand rejoicings for it. And what immense quantities of blood have been shed by her agents! Charles IX of France, in his letter to Pope Gregory XIII boasts that in, and not long after the massacre of Paris, he had destroyed seventy thousand Huguenots…To these we may add innumerable martyrs in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The blood thirstiness of the church of Rome! her greedy and insatiable desire after the blood of the saints, and her delight in it, being exceeding mad against them; and the multitude of it shed by her, as the slaughters of the Waldenses and Albigenses, the butcheries of the Duke d’Alva in the Low Countries, the massacres in France, Ireland, and other places, and the burning of the [English] martyrs in Queen Mary’s days, with numerous other instances, show.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Are we accepting this modern idea that the Reformation was the greatest tragedy that ever happened? If you want to say that it was a tragedy, here was the tragedy, that the Roman Church had become so rotten that it was necessary for the Reformers to do what they did. It wasn’t the departure of the Reformers that was the tragedy. It was the state of the Roman Church that was the tragedy.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Thousands now-a-days have a most inadequate notion of our debt to our martyred Reformers. They have no distinct conception of the state of darkness and superstition in which our fathers lived, and of the light and liberty which the Reformation brought in.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Some are rejoicing because Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are drawing nearer together. “What does the past matter?” they say, “let us have the right spirit, let us come together, all of us, and not be concerned about these particularities.”―To me, all such talk is just a denial of the plain teaching of the New Testament, a denial of the Creeds and the Confessions and the Protestant Reformation! It is carnal thinking, in addition to being a denial of the truth.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): There is no coming to an agreement with them, without renouncing God’s truth…Peace is not to be purchased by the sacrifice of truth.
J. C. RYLE: Peace and unity are excellent things, but they may be bought too dear. And they are bought too dear if we keep back any portion of Gospel truth, in order to exhibit to men a hollow semblance of agreement.
HUGH LATIMER (1483-1555): Unity must be according to God’s holy Word.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Look you, sirs, there are ages to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today…Around the fireside fathers should repeat not only the Bible records, but the deeds of the martyrs and reformers.
J. C. RYLE: Never forget the principles of the Protestant Reformation―and let nothing tempt you to forsake them.
C. H. SPURGEON: Remember that our Bible is a blood stained Book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The doctrines which we preach are doctrines that have been baptized in blood; swords have been drawn to slay the confessors of them.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Many of those already mentioned were martyrs for the truth.*
JOHN GILL: They are His martyrs or witnesses, by their doctrine and ministry, bearing testimony to Him as Jesus―that He is the only Saviour, that there is salvation in no other, in opposition to the anti-christian doctrines of merit, penance, purgatory, etc., for which they have been cruelly put to death, and in great numbers, and so have sealed their doctrine by their blood.
JOHN WYCLIFFE (1330-1384): I believe that, in the end, truth will conquer.
*Editor’s Note: These 16th Century Reformers who have been quoted in this series on the Protestant Reformation, and many others, suffered great persecutions from the Roman Catholic Church and her political allies, that they might pass on these essential pillars of Biblical truth to all future generations. Let present-day Protestants never forget this.
THOMAS CRANMER (1489-1555): Burned at the stake.
HUGH LATIMER (1483-1555): Burned at the stake.
WILLIAM TYNDALE (1490-1536): Strangled, and then his body was burned at the stake as a “heretic;” but his real “crime” was translating the Bible into English from the original Hebrew and Greek.
HULDRYCH ZWINGLI (1484-1531): Found wounded on the field after the Battle of Kappel (which opposed a Catholic assault on Zurich), Zwingli was murdered after he refused to “confess” his belief as being heresy; his body was then quartered and burned, and his ashes cast into the wind.
JOHN WYCLIFFE (1330-1384): Though not a 16th Century Reformer, Wycliffe also preached the truth of the Gospel, and his early translation of the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate laid a foundation stone for the Reformation. Such was the continuing rage of the Roman Catholic Church against him for these “crimes,” that 42 years after Wycliffe’s death, Pope Martin V decreed him a heretic, and ordered that his remains be exhumed from their grave in Lutterworth Churchyard, his bones burned, and his ashes cast into the River Swift.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): After Luther’s famous “here I stand” declaration, he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church; Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, declared Luther to be an outlaw, and ordered that he be arrested and punished as a heretic. The Emperor’s decree made it a crime to give Luther shelter, or to aid him in any way, and legal for anyone to kill him without any consequence. But Prince Frederick, the Elector of Saxony, hid Luther in the Wartburg Castle so that no one could find him. Luther, during his stay at the castle, translated the Bible into German.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When the Roman Catholic persecution of Protestants in France became violent, he fled to Switzerland.
WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): He also fled France to Switzerland.
JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): In the Catholic attempt to stamp out Protestantism in Scotland, he was imprisoned for 19 months as a galley slave on a French ship; later, fleeing the murderous persecutions of England’s “Bloody” Queen Mary, he spent 3 years as an exile in Geneva and Frankfurt.