In Matthew 5:30 Jesus says:
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Although this passage is used in reference to lust, I found an interesting story that I have somewhat related to this scripture.
While being burned alive at the sake Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was quoted saying:
This was the hand that wrote it, therefore it shall suffer first punishment.
The “it” he mentions is the right hand Thomas Cranmer used to sign the recantation documents after having been in prison for two years. The recantations were affirmations of his belief in transubstantiation and papal supremacy. Prior to his death at the stake he was lead by procession to St. Mary’s Church in Oxford where he was to make a public statement affirming his recantation. Instead he was quoted as saying:
And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and Antichrist, with all his false doctrine.
After this he was lead away and burned at the stake for the crime of heresy. His incarceration and subsequent execution were at the request of Queen Mary I, later known as Bloody Mary. For she was responsible for the execution of many reformers in an effort to re-establish the Roman Catholic Church.
I would commend any reformed scholar to read more on this reformer, brave man, and co-founder of the early Anglican Church movement. I have provided some links in the text above.
April 9, 2008 at 11:11 pm
Interesting post. I didn’t know he recanted, and then went back on it. Wow.
April 9, 2008 at 11:44 pm
He has a great story and a great man of repentance. The first time I heard his story I came close to tears.
April 10, 2008 at 10:48 am
Thanks Steve and Seth.
It was an interesting read for me.
When I read about his recanting in prison I had to consider my own strength. But I know we have a faithful God who is sovereign over our lives, and gives us the strength we need. After reading about Cranmer’s statements and actions in opposition to the false doctrine of the pope and the RCC at the end of his life, I was greatly encouraged.
April 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm
Thanks for that tid bit about Thomas Cranmer. I like the quote about his right hand, very appropriate to his situation.
April 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm
As a young Christian the account of Ridley, Cranmer and Latimer in Foxes Book of Martyrs was of great encouragement. Another favorite quote is that of Latimer to Ridley as they were being burned at the stake, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Great stuff