Teacher: Chancellor Roger J. Magnuson
Date: April 12, 2002
Topic: Martyrs have been described as the seed bed of the Church; is that true, and if so, how does it stand as a witness against false gospels that have elements of truth but deny its power? As historical material, review three prominent Christian martyrdoms of the 16th century with special attention to the reign of Bloody Mary.
- It’s a word. It’s a favorite of lexicographers. It is a storied test word in spelling bees. It was once reported to be the longest word in the English language: Antidisestablishmentarianism—we need to understand the incredible vehemence that is the product of the antidisestablishmentarian. What’s an establishment? An establishmentarian? An antidisestablishmentarian?
- Commonplace—Hoi polloi throughout the world: all religions are fundamentally alike. They seek in their own way to answer “first questions,” like why we’re here, where we’re going, and how we relate to the cosmos. They want to open doors to understanding and then to heaven. There is an equivalent among all religious systems. Most people are willing to concede that there are many ways of looking at reality, and among those ways, a variety of religions do the best they can to find their way to God. There’s a certain congeniality between and among religion.
- Common Expectation—Why not doff the hat to all religions, and save all scorn for the irreligious? Good moral people and the heathen who don’t applaud our initiatives are separate. It seems we should fight heathens, not religious people. One would expect that the irreligious would approach the religious with apathy (“sitting down, they watched him there”——spectatorism, no particular emotion or feeling engaged). We would expect religious people to have sympathy for religious people, even if they disagreed with one another. You would not expect there to be any antipathy against people who believe in freedom of choice, freedom of religion, and freedom of religious affairs. What could be controversial in those groups who don’t seek to enforce their views on everyone, but just say, ‘let everyone have his own way’?
- Curious Antipathy—There is strong controversy between establishment and non-establishment religion. Establishment religion seeks a monopoly on religious activity, and seeks to root out and destroy exceptions of their monopoly. When they come face to face with someone who wants to disestablish the religious establishment and open it up to truth, they hate the disestablishmentarian.
- Critical Identification—A fictitious person in Revelation (will be a real person at the end of the age); the great whore of Babylon; the Scarlet Harlot, who is clothed in scarlet and purpose. Rome is an establishmentarian; she “rides the beast” of coercion.
Entity—Every apostate, establishmentarian church has these 3 things:
- Corruption—The Scarlet Harlot is morally and spiritually corrupt; that’s why she’s referred to as a harlot. There is a thorough-going corruption is establishmentarian religion; always has been, and always will be. Homosexual domination of the Roman Catholic clergy is a significant majority of Catholic priests. St. Paul Seminary produces priests for this area—it’s so controlled by homosexual, that any heterosexual getting in there felt very excluded. This is not curious, but expected; the corruption was so great in Zwingli’s Zurich and in Lucerne, that the Roman Catholic Church decided to give some modest penalties to its clergy; they couldn’t punish acts of fornication and adultery, but they earned 1500 guilders in one year by demanding the priests of one province to pay 5 guilders per illegitimate child that they had fathered. This corruption has been in all establishmentarian religions, not just Catholicism, but also in the Pharisees (all the Pharisees condemning the harlot had done the same thing, and acknowledged it by walking away).
- Compromise—This kind of church becomes involved with State, tries to influence the State. By the 15th century, the incestuous relationship between Church and State reflected this; one Pope had sensual relations with his children and sister, another sodomizing both men and boys regularly. Wherever the Roman Church has gone, it has not been long before they have used the arm of the State to enforce their dogmas. In Spain, in France, in Germany, in England… they’ve controlled the State.
- Coercion—Not by illumination, preaching, inspiration, or persuasion, but by coercing pressure. That’s why the scarlet harlot is seen in Revelation as “drunk with the blood of the saints.” Why are you drunk with the blood of the saints? That scarlet harlot, emblem of establishmentarian religion, is a whore, compromises by being aligned with State, and uses coercive persecution of true religion.
- Conundrum—False religion has always been the main persecutor of true religion.
- It goes back to Cain and Abel; Cain offers his vegetables to God; Abel, a symbol of true religion, offers a sacrifice of the firstfruits of his lambs. Cain’s reaction to Abel isn’t, “Good for you!” or, “You have your way, I have mine.” No! It was a fierce violent reaction, a threat, a murder.
- Ahab and Jezebel persecuted the prophets. Obadiah is afraid to go to Ahab on behalf of Elijah; Elijah’s view is, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If God’s God serve Him; if Baal’s God, choose him.” This emphasis of freedom of choice is so threatening that Ahab and Jezebel seek to kill Him.
- Jesus’ ferocious enmity did not come from the crafty, corrupt Zacchaeus or sinners. The common people heard Him gladly, but when the Pharisees and Sadducees saw Jesus offering the truth and the choice of repentance, they conspired together to kill Him. Once they killed Him, they did not want the truth He had taught to escape. They sealed His tomb as if to seal off His teaching.
- Wycliffe, who wanted people to read the Bible themselves and make their own choice, was such a threat to the established religion that he was killed.
- Hus, escorted to Rome, represented the voice of freedom and disestablishment. Therefore, he had to be killed.
- Torquemada, the chief inquisitor under the Inquisition of Rome, laughingly described the torture and burning of 7,000 Christians that he disposed of in one year with every kind of painful, excruciating infliction of his enmity against them, followed by death.
- Fear—The reason the establishmentarianist church lashes out is not because of their strength, or their understanding and faith in their dogma. The reason is fear: their conscience is defiled, and they don’t believe themselves that they are doing right; they are dissipated by their lifestyle, accused by their conscience, they do not dare to open up the windows to let the winds of freedom blow and have an honest, open fight. They sealed up the tomb, because they feared that Jesus might be right. They seized Bibles because they were afraid that if people read those Scriptures, they would disestablish their priestcraft. The Greek Orthodox refused the Bible Society’s offer to make the Bible In common Greek, because they were afraid of what would happen if people read God’s word for themselves. Torquemada had to destroy so many people because of fear. When a Roman Catholic in the darkness of superstition starts realizing that falling down before a relic is a stupid thing, they still run from those who offer liberating truth. Roger Williams contemplated the idea of a free society where people can choose their own religion, and not “establish” a Christian church for the nation.
- Force—If, in fact, you don’t believe that your ideas and the truth will conquer, you have to help out by engaging in pure force and persecution, extortion, and banishment, and an attempt to exercise coercive power over other people’s conscience, and ultimately to subject them to public, horrific consequences. This all makes perfect sense to the Scarlet Harlot, who can’t get enough of other people’s blood. When you are afraid and can’t persuade, you torture, you kill. The fear and force factors will have their final coming together in the end times. All these themes will have their perfect fruition: the world will have their king, the son of perdition, the antitype of Christ, establishing a kingship over this earth. But helping him succeed will be the Scarlet Harlot, “back in the saddle again.” The final hurrah for the apostate religion!
- Futility—God has so designed His universe that the persecuting pressures of the world and apostate church, the great establishmentarian church, is always futile, and not only futile, but also counterproductive. For every wave of persecution has led to fresh power for the Church of Jesus Christ. When this corrupt force engages in the persecution of the truth, they lose. They sought to seal up the truth in the tomb: that was the worst thing they could possibly do. The stone was blown away, and the resurrection became the very cornerstone of the Gospel, an eruption of the truth that would not have been possible but for their persecution. The persecution of the 16th century caused a Reformation throughout the world.
The Christians were eager for martyrdom, understood that it was glorious, and, as one of the great English martyrs Said, “They don’t understand that we are going to light a candle that will never be burned out.”