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:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

13 Jan 1535 A.D. “No more books to be printed!” Edict from the French King, Francis 1, to the French Parliament

13 Jan 1535 A.D.  “No more books to be printed!”  Edict from the French King, Francis 1, to the French Parliament.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:

Francis 1 had initially been tolerant of the growing Luther-phenomenon in France in the early 1520s.. After all, he had been a supporter of all things-Renaiisance, Italian artistry and buildings.

His sister, Marguerite of Angeloume, had been sympathetic to the growing Protestant cause against Romanist corruptions.  But, the Sorbonne resisted and, finally, the Parliament joined the anti-Protestant cause. Francis 1, however, occasionally helped some targeted by the Franco-Italiano-Vatican axis.

However, Francis was becoming increasingly intolerant.  Protestants by the 1520s-1530s had to walk a tightrope.

The tipping point came with the “Placards Affair.” This was too much for Francis.

A document entitled “The True Article Respecting Horrible, Great and Insuperable Abuses of the Papal Mass” was penned by Anoine Marcourt.  He had been a French ex-pat to Neuchatel, Switzerland. The document found its way to Paris.  It was plastered all over the city on 8 Oct 1534.

It also was tacked to the King’s bedroom door in his castle.  He was furious. He became fiercely intolerant although Protestant literature was throughout France.

On 13 Jan 1535, Francis issued an edict to his Parliament in Paris.  There was to be no more printing of books.

In Jan. 1535, 6 Protestants were burned to death.

In June 1540, the Edict of Fountainebleau gave the Parliament control over determining heresy.

In 1542, the faculty of theology at the University of Paris issued the infamous “Index of Prohibited Books,” an action that would have a long, long, long shelf-life in Romanist behaviors of repression and deviance.

However, the toothpaste was not going back into the tube.  Books and Bibles were throughout the nation and half of the population was Protestant (later repressed with violence in subsequent years and decades, yeah, centuries).


  1. What’s the value of this story to a young person in 2014?
  2. Should we tell these stories today?  Are they repressed in some quarters?  Why aren’t TV networks telling these stories? 
  3. How was Henry VIII’s behavior, if at all, coordinated with Francis 1’s?
  4. How much of the “Placards Affair” was known in England, Germany and elsewhere?
  5. If repressed, would you flee your native land or simply acquiesce to the entrenched theologies and interests?
  6. Did Calvin dedicate anything to Francis 1?  Or, other Reformed writers?  If so, what?  If so, why?
  7. Does the rehearsal of these horror stories reverse ecumenical dialogue?
  8. Should Rome repent of the “St. Bartholomew’s Day” Massacre in 24 Oct 1572?  Should we insist on the Pope coming clean and doing an international act of public repentance for his outfit in Rome?  Should the Pope write a document of repentance, circulate it internationally, and require every parish to read the Pope’s maxima mea culpa for generational and trans-national murders?  If not, why not?  How will Jesus handle these matters at the Last Judgment? Rev.6.9ff.?


Baird, Henry M. History of the Rise of the Huguenots of France, Vol. 1. New York: Scribener, 1879. 383-4.

Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, Vol. 7. New York: Scribener, 1894. 296-321.

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