Book Reviews

 

Foxe's Book of Martyrs


by John Foxe 
Rewritten by Harold Chadwick


Foxe's Book of Martyrs is a book I put off reading for years. I knew one day I 
would read it but I put it off as long as I could. Those that died for the cause of 
the gospel of Jesus Christ should never be forgotten. God will not forget their labor 
of love and neither should we. I can give them credit for bringing the message of the 
gospel down through the centuries. If it wasn't for many of them, I probably would not 
have heard the gospel as it is written in the pages of the bible. Men and women were 
killed, tortured and had their property taken away for as little a crime as translating 
the bible into a language that everyone could read. 

The book starts out with the murders of first Jesus Christ then his faithful apostles. 
The early church fathers were persecuted mostly by the Religious Pharisees and then by
pagan Romans rejecting the message of the gospel preached by Christians that lived in 
the Roman Empire. They suffered the cruelty of lions, crucifixions, torture and beheadings 
all because they preached the gospel of Jesus Christ who came to save all from sins including
the Romans. Jesus offered the Romans as well as any who believed eternal life. For this 
message multitudes of Christians died for their faith. 

Fear causes most persecutions. Persecutors fear that the message will lessen their 
influence and power of those in their kingdoms. We see in reading this old classic 
that fear, jealousy and those resisting the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin will react 
in anger and lash out at the message that brings change in people's lives. 

The church had a rest from persecution after the Emperor Constantine rose to power and 
stopped religious persecution. The saddest part of the book for me was when the 
persecuted church became the most fierce and hateful persecutors of its own fellow 
believers in Jesus Christ. Those in Christianity that do the persecuting are not those 
that are walking in faith, love and the holy scriptures. Those that stoop to kill, 
torture and harm fellow believers are those that have forsaken the scriptures and have 
substituted their own doctrines and rules that have replaced the holy word of God. 
They lashed out at any person who tried to return the church back to its first love of 
Jesus Christ and the spreading of the true word of God. 

Men, women and children were tortured, burned at the stake and suffered many other 
things much worse than the heathen ever did to any human being. They were killed for 
reasons that we in today's world at least in the United States would think were silly 
reasons for killing someone. Here is a partial list of the reasons for branding people as
 heretics and justifying their death sentences. 

1. Not believing in the bread and wine of the Eucharist turning into the literal body 
of Jesus Christ.
2. Not believing in infant baptism
3. Not recognizing the authority of the pope above all others.
4. Translating the scriptures into the common language of the people.
5. Preaching the word of God or reading scripture in a language other than Latin. 
6. Teaching against Purgatory
7. Teaching that faith in Jesus alone brings salvation, not the church rituals and 
sacraments. 
8. Opposing the authority of the Catholic Church. 

Sadly that after the Protestant churches had rest from persecution and grew away from 
their first love of Christ, they too persecuted dissenters that tried to turn them back 
to the faith once delivered to the saints. 

Even the Puritans in the United States persecuted those that dissented from their 
doctrine. This is why the United States has become a country that strives for freedom of religion.
Its not the word of God that is the problem, it is abandoning the word of God that causes
doctrines of man to replace scripture and thereby many forget the words of Jesus that 
commands us to love one another not Lord over one another. 

Foxe's Book of Martyrs was first written by John Foxe and was published in 1563. This 
new edition rewritten and updated by Harold J Chadwick includes martyrs up to the year 
2001. Naturally they could not include every single one who has died for the gospel's 
sake but they have chose isolated cases to make us aware of those that died faithfully 
refusing to recant or deny their Lord Jesus Christ. They were faithful until death. 
These should be remembered by us who share their faith. They whom the world is not 
worthy is the reason many of us in the United States now have the freedom to worship 
without fear. 

I would recommend this to every one who can find a copy of this fine book to read it 
and become aware that persecution is happening now all over the world against those 
that just want the lost to find Christ and receive His gift of eternal life. 

Perhaps if the church had of preached the gospel like they should have since the days 
of the apostles, we would not have the persecution we are witnessing today. Perhaps 
religions that kill those that oppose them would have had no power if the church would 
have continued in love and faithfulness to the word of God instead of turning on its 
own people. The church in the Middle Ages killed Muslims, Jews and born again 
Christians. We are now reaping what they sowed. We've had 2000 years to reach the 
whole world for Christ but with the exception of a small remnant, we have made a real 
mess of it all. When we get to the place where we think that are cruelty to another human 
being is doing God a service, we've lost our way and need to repent.  

Jesus said it all:

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that 
whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 
John 16:3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the 
Father, nor me. 

2Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer 
persecution. 

Those that persecute, torture, harm and harass anyone in the name of Christ or in the 
name of any religion do not know the Father or Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to destroy
 men's lives but to save them.

Luke 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. 

DJ

 

 
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