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:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

3 Jan 250 A.D. A high-stakes faith and being a Christian in Emperor Decius’s times

3 Jan 250 A.D.  A high-stakes faith and being a Christian in Emperor Decius’s times.

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:


“Deliver us, Lord Jupiter!” shouted Decius, Emperor of Rome, as stones and arrows rained down upon Decius and his troops. “Deliver us, Lord Jupiters, for I have delivered Rome into your hands and the hands of the ancient gods!”

Decius’s horse stumpled through the tangled marshesof Dobrujah with his men and fighting as they fled. Finally, the Gothic King of Kniva prevailed.  Decius’s body was never found.

Previously, Decius had been an Emperor for 3 years.  There was political turmoil, military crises, and economic instability.  “Perhaps,” he reasoned, “the gods will favor us again, give us final victory over the pestilent Goths and restore the glory of the Empire.”

On 3 Jan 250, he issued an Imperial Edict.  All citizens were ordered to sacrifice to the Roman deities.  Certificates of compliance were issued. This was applied to Christian.  Bishops of Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem died.  Decius, himself, died in 251.

Many Christians complied.  Some got phony certificates.  A great controversy ensued amongst the churches and leaders.

Another persecution developed un Emperor Valerian in 257.  Many held fast and were faithful.  Some were not.


  1. What would you have done if so ordered to sacrifice to Roman deities?  Or, if ordered to silence? Government compliance with silence?
  2. How would you have handled the religious flip-floppers?
  3. What side would you have been on with the English Reformers?  Scottish Covenanters in the “killing times” of 1684-1688?
  4. What’s the value of study this history?  Of church history?
  5. Does your parish or church teach church history?
  6. Do modern sermons reflect awareness of church history?
  7. Which denomination reflects concerns for church history?  Anglicanism? Lutheranism? Presbyterianism?  Romanism?  Contemporary evangelicals or Pentecostals?
  8. Do modern TV religious outfits give good senses of church history?


Boer, Harry R. A Short History of the Christian Church.  Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995. 87-89, 100-4.

Dowley, Tim, ed. Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977. 77-80.

Healey, P.J. “Decius.” CE. 54: 666.

Smith, Michale A. “Cyprian of Carthage.” In Great Leaders of the Christian Church. Edited by John Woodbridge.  Chicago: Moody.

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