Tuesday, December 30, 2008

tuesday martyr: john huss

One hundred years before the 95 theses came a man from Bohemia, on whose shoulders stood Martin Luther. That man was John Huss.

Huss relied heavily on the teachings of John Wycliffe and for it, was imprisoned and finally burned at the stake.

He fought against the idea that the Pope is the final authority of the church and when asked to recant this idea, he demanded that he be shown from Scripture his error.

He was charged formally on 40 accounts (taken from his writings) and he responded to every one of those charges that he had indeed said them and still defended them...continually demanding to be shown from Scripture his errors in the matter.

At one point he was urged by King Wenceslas (nope, not the one the song is about, though he was from Bohemia as well) and another duke to recant and to stop his arrogance of going against the entire council (for at the time there were 3 popes...that's right...3) Huss responded that if even the weakest of the men of the council were to show him his error that he would immediately withdraw whatever statement was in error and recant of his sin...and yet none were able to do so.

Since it was against the papal law to have a defense if you were being tried as a heretic, Huss was condemned without ever having stood trial. His charges were read aloud and he had the opportunity to recant, but not the opportunity to defend.

Just before his execution he was reported to have said, (quoted from CCEL copy of Foxe's book of Martyrs):

"You are now going to burn a goose, (Huss signifying goose in the Bohemian language:) but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil." If he were prophetic, he must have meant Martin Luther, who shone about a hundred years after, and who had a swan for his arms.

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