Tuesday, January 20, 2009

tuesday martyr: nicolas ridley

Nicolas Ridley was a reformer in England and was considered to be among the most learned and well-taught of the group. He, for a long period, considered transubstantiation to be a viable teaching, but later in life after more careful study of both Scripture and the ancient fathers of the faith concluded it to be false. After this, he spent much time, along with Thomas Cranmer, teaching the people of England about the false nature of the doctrine.

I found this line of his short biography most challenging for myself (I am one to put forth radical change with short bursts of teaching rather than a long-haul approach.):

"But this opinion of the real presence having been so generally received in England for three hundred years [referring to transubstantiation], these eminent reformers went to work with great caution, and by gradually proceeding in their public discussions, afforded time for the people to consider the subject more leisurely, and of course more effectually."

All accounts of Ridley show him to be a kind, gentle and noble man who took care to correct false doctrines in a loving manner. He was not the brute force of Luther, but he (along with Cranmer) convinced the Church of England that the body and blood of Christ was not contained in the sacraments. The bishops of the Church then drew up a 5-point document to show this to be the case.

After the death of King Edward, the terrible Queen Mary came to power. She quickly stole back all that the reformers had worked for and had many of them put to death. Ridley was among the first, supposed to be an example in order to stamp out the reformer movement. He died along with another man, Latimer, and the protestant movement grew immensely under her persecution.

May God grant us the patience to correct in order to properly build the church.


(Most of this was taken from A Puritan's Mind)

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