The ashes of reformation martyrs have grown cold.
In a recent trip to Edinburgh, Scotland (pictured left) the pope was greeted as a hero. Throngs of admirers turned out to express their admiration for the bishop of Rome. Even the facebook statuses of many Scots reflected an overly irenic attitude to the theological pronouncements of the pontiff.
I will be the first to admit that Benedict is a good man. He holds many moral positions of which I am in full agreement. There has to be, however, a clear understanding that the Roman Catholic church does not teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This should be especially felt in a place like Scotland where the “church” laid low many of its ministers of the gospel.
If you take a short train ride north of Edinburgh across and around the Firth of Forth you will arrive in the small town of St. Andrews. Now while this quaint seaside town is well known for its golf it should also be noted for its church history. On one of my first trips to the town, I saw three monuments that have remained in my memory many years later. The first two are simple cobblestone letters spelled out in the street. One set of letters spells GW (pictured top left) and the other PH (pictured center left). The GW stands for George Wishart and the PH stands for Patrick Hamilton. Time does not permit me to give an account of the lives of these men sufficed to say it was there allegiance to the gospel against the church of Rome that paved the way for the reforming work of John Knox and led to the reformation of Scotland. Their actions also got them burned at the stake by the “church” and these letters mark the spots in St. Andrews where they died. The third monument (pictured bottom left) is often seen but rarely understood. If you have ever watched the British open you have probably seen the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient golf club and standing beside it is an obelisk that is shaped like the Washington monument. This memorial is to all of the protestant martyrs that were killed in St. Andrews in defense of the gospel. The same gospel that the Roman Catholic church to this day refuses to acknowledge or teach.
I am saddened that men like Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart should be forgotten and the pope of Rome should be adulated. I hope that that same gospel fervor that coursed through the veins of our forefathers would re-invigorate us to live according to God’s Word. I hope that the Reformation that brought light into darkness has not died and our future with it.