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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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4/15/2004

Today in Church History 

I wrote about Protestants who were martyred at the hands of Catholics in England on Monday/Tuesday. Just to show that history is full of martyrs of ALL faiths, I bring you the story of John Gerard.

Gerard's only crime was to be a Jesuit in Reformation England. He was implicated in various plots and crimes -- none true accusations. This day in 1597 was simply another day of torture for him -- hoisted aloft by his arms, tortured so that he would implicate other Catholic priests in whatever the plot of the day was.

He was taunted by his captors. He was told that he'd be a cripple the rest of his life. On this day, it took Gerard much longer to faint than normal. He was taken down, seated, and offered a chance to confess. He refused. "No, I won't. And I won't as long as there is breath in my body."

He was hung up again. Rather than cry out, confess, and end his punishment, Gerard rejoiced that he had been chosen worthy to suffer for God. Finally, the tower governor tired of the game. He returned Gerard to his cell, and the torture ceased. Six months later, Gerard escaped. His only regret -- that he had not been found worthy to die in the service of his Lord.

Where is this kind of devotion in modern (and post-modern) Christianity? In America, we lobby and campaign. We protest and march. We try to make the system work for us, rather than realizing that we are never going to have a system made by men that is favorable to all. We should, as Jesus was, be about our Father's business, no matter who would stand in our way.


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