Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

English Reformer & Martyr: John Philpott (1511-1555)

Part Five continued.

The Examinations and Writing of John Philpott (Parker Society Series, 1842). Free and downloadable at:

1. We’ve been following the repeated examinations of Archdeacon John Philpott before Bp. Bonner
We now have the “eighth examination” of Philpott, otherwise kept in jail. He Bishop of London (Bonner), the Bishop of St. David’s, Master Mordant, and others in the bishop’s chapel.

2. Philpott calls the Romanists “Balaamites,” a reference to the ancient pagan prophet Balaam who lived at Pethor, a city in northern Mesopotamia on the banks of the Euphrates River. Balak would call on this false and pagan prophet to curse the conquering Israelites. Balaam’s ass has a high spiritual I.Q. than Balaam. Some things never change. Cf. Numbers 22-24 for this historic, classical and humorous story.

3. The articles of accusation against Philpott are read again (for the umpteenth time). Bonner claims—again—that Philpott is stubborn and speaks “against the blessed sacrament of the altar.” Of course, as with Ridley, the Table issue is an entre pot to all the larger questions of the magisterial reformation.

4. A rather rancorous set of exchanges occurs, to wit, Bonner accusing and Philpott protesting the lawlessness of the proceeding, e..g. only allowing Philpott limited responses of “two or three words” to direct, close-ended questions like answer “yes or no.”

5. The “ninth examination.” Bishop Bonner and his chaplains are on hand. It’s hard to extrapolate what Bonner’s intentions were. He’s already heard Philpott’s Reformed views. It’s almost like he wants a “confession of errors” as a claim to a notch on his rochet and mitre. "One more bites the dust." Philpott won't bite the dust but will inhale the fumes of his own burning body in 1555, compliments of Roman affections and God's love. Philpott on this particular morning must wait till Bonner has finished morning mass prior to the exam.

6. Bonner re-reads the articles. We’re told that Philpott sat back and looked out the window until they were concluded. Philpott responds: “I am neither wedded to mine own will, neither stand upon mine own stubbornness or singularity, but upon my conscience instructed by God’s word; and if your lordship can shew better evidence than I have for a good faith, I will follow the same.” (140) Sounds like Luther at the Diet of Worms. Sounds like Peter Akinola’s curt response to Canterbury on gays and Rome's recent offer of "oversight": “Nigeria won't being going that way. I preach the Bible. We have biblical theology.”

7. Philpott observes that the Papists can argue and subdue only “such as be unlearned and for lack of knowledge not able to answer.” That still obtains for today.

These are observations on exam eight and most of nine. Now for our observations about the observations, with a few closing applications.

1. Bonner is quite persistent, as are Romanists today in arguing for submission to themselves on their terms. Liberal, mainline ecumenicalists from the Protestant side have consistently been slapped in the face by the “my-way-only” approach of Rome. Reading the Reformation literature is an excellent preservative against modern amnesia.

2. Philpott’s testimony is every bit as strong as Luther’s at the Diet of Worms. Yet, Philpott is a long-forgotten name in history. Anglicans go, “Huh?!” Anglicans actually have their own Reformed martyrs. Can't I just get along with a nice secondary work like Stephen Neill's Anglicanism? Anglicanism is full of Baalamites today.

3. Anglicans are not taught their history. The Parker Society series is not required reading in their seminaries, while Newman is at Hashotah House.

4. Philpott uses an excellent name for Romanists. “Balaamites.”


1. Keep reading. Otherwise, you’d be misled by the modern voices, like the site of “Global Windbaggery of Heterdox Anglicanism.” (

2. Be thankful. You’ve got an education that has preserved you from the revisionists. Can you imagine having been instructed only by the Anglican revisionists? Thanks, but no thanks. Can you, your wife, or your children--God forbid--imagine getting your catechesis from Jack Leo Iker, Keith Ackerman or others of that ilk?

3. Help younger folks. Warn them. Teach the Bible. Tell the stories of history and the fathers of old. Psalm 44.1-8. Push back and don't apologize. They won't get the theology of these Reformers from these Manglophiles.

4. Steer folks away from the ACNA.

5. Steer folks away from the Windbag of Virtual Disorientation.
In memoriam to those who stood the watch, lest we forget.

Like Philpott, a list of those who perished in flames for their faiths during the days of Mary.

The First Four Martyrs
John Rogers, preacher, biblical translator, lecturer at St. Paul’s Cathedral – burned at Smithfield, 4 Feb. 1555.[13]
Lawrence Saunders, preacher, rector of London church of All Hallows – burned at Coventry, 8 Feb. 1555.[14]
John Hooper, King Edward-era bishop of Gloucester and Worcester – burned in Gloucester, 9 Feb. 1555.[15]
Rowland Taylor, rector of Hadleigh in Suffolk – burned at Aldham Common, 9 Feb. 1555.[16]

Notable Martyrs of the Persecution (1555-1558)
This is not a complete list


William Hunter, burnt 27 March Brentwood
Robert Ferrar, burnt 30 March, Carmarthen
Rawlins White, burnt Cardiff
George Marsh, burnt 24 April, Chester
John Schofield, burnt 24 April, Chester
William Flower, burnt 24 April, Westminster
John Cardmaker, burnt 30 May, Smithfield
John Warne, burnt 30 May, Smithfield
John Simpson, burnt 30 May, Rochford
John Ardeley, burnt 30 May, Rayleigh
Dirick Carver of Brighton, burnt 6 June, Lewes
Thomas Harland of Woodmancote, burnt 6 June, Lewes
John Oswald of Woodmancote, burnt 6 June, Lewes
Thomas Avington of Ardingly, burnt 6 June, Lewes
Thomas Reed of Ardingly, burnt 6 June, Lewes
Thomas Haukes, burnt 6 June,Lewes
Thomas Watts
Nicholas Chamberlain, burnt 14 June, Colchester
Thomas Ormond, burnt June 15, 1555, Manningtree, Buried in St. Micheals & All Angels Marble placed in 1748
William Bamford, burnt 15 June, Harwich
Robert Samuel, burnt 31 August, Ipswich
John Newman, burnt August 31, Saffron Walden
James Abbes Shoemaker, of Stoke by Nayland burnt at Bury St Edmunds August 1555
William Allen, Labourer of Somerton burnt at Walsingham September 1555
Nicholas Ridley, burnt 16 October outside Balliol College, Oxford
Hugh Latimer, burnt 16 October outside Balliol College, Oxford
John Philpot, burnt


Agnes Potten, burnt 19 February Ipswich Cornhill
Joan Trunchfield, burnt 19 February Ipswich Cornhill
Thomas Cranmer, burnt 21 March outside Balliol College, Oxford
Thomas Hood of Lewes, burnt about 20 June, Lewes
Thomas Miles of Hellingly, burnt about 20 June, Lewes
John Tudson of Ipswich, burnt at London
Thomas Spicer of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
John Deny of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
Edmund Poole of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
Joan Waste, burnt at Derby, 1 August


William Morant, burnt at end of May, St. George's Field, Southwark. [17]
Stephen Gratwick, burnt at end of May, St. George's Field, Southwark. [17]
(unknown) King, burnt at end of May, St. George's Field, Southwark. [17]
Richard Sharpe, burnt 7 May, Cotham, Bristol
William and Katherine Allin of Frittenden and five others, burnt 18 June at Maidstone
Richard Woodman of Warbleton, burnt 22 June, Lewes
George Stevens of Warbleton, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Alexander Hosman of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
William Mainard of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Thomasina Wood of Mayfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Margery Morris of Heathfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
James Morris, her son, of Heathfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Denis Burges of Buxted, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Ann Ashton of Rotherfield, burnt 22 June, Lewes
Mary Groves of Lewes, burnt 22 June, Lewes
John Noyes of Laxfield, Suffolk, burnt 22 September


Roger Holland, burnt at Smithfield with seven others
William Pikes or Pickesse of Ipswich, burnt 14 July, Brentford with five others
Alexander Gooch of Melton, Suffolk, burnt 4 November, Ipswich Cornhill
Alice Driver of Grundisburgh burnt 4 November, Ipswich Cornhill
P Humphrey, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds
J. David, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds
H. David, burnt November, Bury St Edmunds

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