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Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 7 - October/November 2005 > A History of the Christian Church - Part Five

A History of the Christian Church

Part Five, by Denis Jenkins

compiled by Denis Jenkins

Title      A History of the Christian Church
Part       Five
Theme     The Reformation

This is Part 5 in the series. Parts 1 to 4 can be found at the following links -->  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.


As Jesus said to the disciples, when he was on earth, that he could not share all truth about himself that he wished to, so it was with each leader of the reformation of God's people.  God could only communicate so much at a time as He knew that as human beings we could not comprehend or bear it.  God is merciful as all he asks is for each one of his children in the faith to live up to the light of truth that we know.   Wycliffe, Jerome and Huss all lived up to the light of truth at the level of their understanding.  But we are told in scripture that we must be open to progressive revelation of the character and the will of God until the coming of the Day (Or the day of Christ's return).  To hinder this ever unfolding will of God is to divert and walk away from the Truth. The Truth as revealed in scripture is Christ's communication to us as human beings through the revealing leadership of the Holy Spirit.  If we walk away from the truth (Christ's communication through the Holy Spirit), our knowledge of God stagnates resulting in mere form and ceremony without the power. 


In the light of this understanding we can see that God revealed the truth of His will to these leaders but at the same time the power of Satan was continually seeking to divert the course of God's revelation to mankind.  This diversion came in the form of popes fighting with each other in the Roman Church thus causing people to become disgusted with the concept of religion and the worship of God.

The popes used the churches' money to buy popularity and influence as they fought each other.  Huss spoke against this abomination of the church.  Again Prague was placed under interdict by Rome.  Huss once again had to withdraw from Prague for fear of his life. 

In an effort to cure the problems of Europe and the fighting Roman church, Emperor Sigismund of Constance, together with Pope John XXlll, called a council.  This council was designed to end the split in the Roman Church caused by the opposing popes and at the same time stamp out heresy in the church.  Huss voluntarily went to the council having obtained a guarantee of safety from the Kings of Bohemia and Emperor Sigismund.   On arriving in Constance, the guarantees of safety were added to by promises from Pope John XXlll.  However, despite these promises, the pope (shortly after making these promises) arrested Huss and placed him in a dungeon.  At the council the pope himself was charged with crimes beyond belief and was also placed in the same dungeon.  Pope John XXlll was deposed from office and a new pope was chosen.  Even though the Pope was charged with real and obvious crimes, Huss was brought before Emperor Sigismund and placed on trial.  During this trial Huss firmly maintained his position of the truth that God had led him to through the scriptures.  Huss was asked to denounce his position but he refused to give in.  Fixing his eyes on the Emperor he said, "I determined of my own free will to appear before this council under public protection and faith of the Emperor here present".  The Emperor was embarrassed as all eyes turned on him.

A sentence was pronounced.  Huss refused to withdraw his position as he said in doing so he would affect the salvation of many who had followed him and his leadership in Christ.  Huss considered his life a small sacrifice for such a great gain.

Huss was handed over to secular authorities for execution.  Burning at the stake, it is recorded that Huss sang hymns and praised God until his voice was silenced by death.  Soon after, Jerome was also arrested.

Emperor Sigismund then attacked Bohemia as a result of the support Bohemia gave to Huss in an effort to eradicate all of Huss's influence.  The attacks were futile even though vast armies were assembled.  What Segemund could not do by force, he decided to destroy the Hussites by politics and diplomacy.  He eventually attacked God's people not by armies but by internal strife.  This is a tool that Satan often uses and has done so throughout the history of the Christian Church.

While many of God's believers fell by the wayside, the cause of God continued in Bohemia despite the threat of the Roman church and Emperor Sigismund.  Even so it appeared to the world that the cause of the reformation had been defeated by Rome, but God was to raise another prominent leader to take God's followers of His Truth another step further in his revelation of the truth of His Character.  Even though Satan's aim was to keep mankind in ignorance of the real character of God, he could not divert God's plan as God raised up a very powerful leader within the Roman Church.  His name was Martin Luther.

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