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:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Foxe, Martyrs 63-137 and Narcissism

OK, we're trying to
have a little fun with the
picture. Especially
in view of the serious topic
at hand.
Foxe, John. The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2001.

Foxe, Martyrs, Persecution, & Narcissism.  This is a tribute to Mr. Joel Osteen and we call it Mr. Osteen's Polycarp Version of Your Best Life Now.

We are doing some counting. The numbers may be off, but we at least are getting some sense of it. Ephesians 2.1ff. speaks of "dead" men, but they are very much alive and demonically-energized in Paul's "anthropology and harmartiology."

Revelation 6.9-10

9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The march continues through Mr. (rev.) John Foxe, a non-Conforming Anglican whom Elizabeth 1 loved and left unmolested. He wasn't about to yield either, but that's for another day. He returned from exile and died in England.

The numbering is our’s, not Mr. Foxe’s. The intent is simply to get a “handle” and “sense” of the numbers. It will not have the mathematical precision that would satisfy Rene Descarte or Albert Einstein. But, it gives a strong flavor of things.

Sixth Persecution. Emperor Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus (164-238 A.D.) He ordered Christians to “be hunted down and killed.”

63. Pontianus, a bishop of Rome. Exiled to Sardinia, he preached against idols. Killed in the island of Sardina, off Italy’s western coast.
64. Anteros, successor of Pontianus, murdered for compiling a martyriology.
65. On the same day as Anteros was killed, a Roman Senator, his entire family and 42 Christians—beheaded. We’ll assume the Senator has a family of four children and a wife. Ergo, we added 48 to 65 to equal 113.
113. Caleopodius. Dragged through streets of Rome and thrown into the Tiber with a millstone on his neck.
114. Martina. Rome. Beheaded.
115. Hippolitus. Dragged by horses to death.

Maximus died. Succeeded by Gordian.

116. In Alexandria, a violent persecution breaks out. Metrus, an elderly man, beaten to death.
117. Quinta. Stoned to death.
118. 70-year old Appolonia beaten to death.

Seventh Persecution. Decius (249-251 A.D.) He was angry that Christianity was growing and that pagan worship was in decline. He ordered Christians to be killed. Mr. (rev.) John Foxe says there were “too many in Rome to number.” Ergo, 119 is way off but we persist with the general get a sense of it.

119. Julian, a Cicilian, was put in a leather bag with snakes and scorpions and tossed into the sea. This story comes from Chyrsostom, 398 A.D. We use Mr. Chrysostom's closing prayer in Morning and Evening Prayer of the old Book.
120. Peter, beheaded. He refused to sacrifice to Venus. Foxe reports the following: “I am amazed that you sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose debaucheries your own writers record, and whose life consisted of such perverted actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers.”
121. Denisa. Beheaded.
122. Andrew. Stoned to death.
123. Paul. Stoned to death.
124. Again, back in Alexandria, Alexander is burned to death. Alexandria, the famous town, is to the left.
125. Epimachus. Alexandria. Burned to death.
126. Nice, France. Two prominent Christian men. Trypho, scourged, dragged through streets, burned, beheaded.
127. See 126. Respicius, suffered the same death.
128. Quintain, Governor of Sicily, is offended by a woman who is beautiful, a Christian, and who refuses sexual advances. Several efforts result in her imprisonment where she died of injuries resulting from assault and, beatings for non-compliance.
129. 84-year old Cyril. Burned at the stake. Lucius, the Governor of Crete, ordered the Elder to offer a sacrifice to the gods.
130. Context. Decius ordered and erected the pagan temple in Ephesus. 7 Roman soldiers are ordered to arrest the Christians, but they are themselves Christians. They refuse, sequester themselves in a cave, and Decius orders the cave sealed. They die there. The first is Constantius.
131. Dionysius. See 130.
132. Joannes. See 130.
133. Malchius. See 130.
134. Martianus. See 130.
135. Maximianus. See 130.
136. Seraios. See 130.
137. Back to Alexandria, Leonidus, the father of Origen, killed. Origen himself will suffer imprisonment at age 64, but Emperor Decius dies and there is a respite. The respite is due to the successor, Gallus, having a more urgent call… a call to repel a Goth invasion. Origen obtained release, repaired to Tyre, Syria, and died there in 254 A.D.

Again, Paul's Biblical anthropology in Eph. 2.1ff. is about "dead men" who are "demonically energized" and who serve the "lusts of the flesh and mind." Er, um, sorta like Mr. Martin Luther outlined in The Bondage of the Will.  The Greeks don't like this "Westernized" anthropology. Nor does the bishop of Rome.  Nor do Arminian pietists in American evangelicalism.  And horrors no for the 19th-20th century liberals.  The brutal savageries against Christians as recounted by Mr. "(rev.) John Foxe are empirical evidences of the manifold wickednesses and demonic-energizations of dead, but very lively, human beings.   

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