Thursday, August 25, 2005

St. Bartholomew’s Day

This is a blog that hopefully will come to a point. I did want to post something more about the mass murder that took place on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 24th, 1572. That day King Charles the 9th ordered the slaughter of the Reformed believers in France. It was worst in Paris where Admiral Coligny was slain. 10,000 men in that city alone were executed in the streets. Many of the murders went around singing the Psalms from the Reformed Psalter of France to mock the dying, and Lord might I add. Henry of Navarre, a Protestant with a claim to the throne, did not die that day, but at knife point he had to take Mass and recant. So too did the Duke of Conde. Others were not as fortunate. Some who took Mass to avoid death were forced to murder their friends in order to prove their loyalty to the Roman faith. King Charles himself is said to have shot some that came to his palace seeking refuge.
The order went out to all of France, and while some refused to do the work, others did it joyfully. 70,000 people total died on account of their faith that day. The leading preachers in Navarre were put to death. In one region the Reformed were put into prison to keep them safe, but the people found them, broke down the jail, and murdered all inside. All because of a differences in their religion, a different faith.
The world reacted differently to this massacre. England refused to have relations with France for quite sometime, but in the end did nothing. John Knox of Scotland pronounced the King of France a murder and asked God to pay him back. The Pope commended the King of France and celebrated a High Mass in honor of the deed. Spain took heart in the murders and stepped up their own persecutions. The King would commission a coin minted in honor of the Massacre. All because of a differences in their religion.
Murder should always be condemned, and religion is no excuse but those Romanists took it serious enough to kill. The Reformed men took their faith seriously enough to go to the grave. Both sides saw a difference, a real meaningful difference between Protestantism and Romanism. Is that belief that there is a real and meaningful difference in Protestantism and Romanism around today? There is a Reformed Catholicism movement in the Protestant Churches. There is a new spirit of ecumenicity breaking out all over the evangelical spectrum. Romanists and Protestants are joining hands across the nation in order to win political victories. Big evangelical leaders refuse to condemn the Roman Catholic Church. The late Pope John Paul II saw acclaim from most Protestants when he died. In small towns, like mine, ecumenical services take place. Protestants worshipping as Romanist preach their version of the gospel, which is not a gospel. Why the difference between the two ages? Why now do people view the difference so small as to be insignificant, and then they viewed it so large as to be a matter of life and death? While I praise God that the years of Romanists murdering Protestants and Protestants murdering Romanists is over, I pray that we would find again the dedication to our faith; in order that we may realize that the differences between us are real, and are a matter of life and death. Not physical life and death, but eternal, spiritual life and death.