Unfortunately these times of shallowness among evangelical Christians keep us from appreciating the price paid by those who have gone before us. We obsess over current political events and don't take the time to explore our history. If not for the blood spilled by martyrs, we wouldn't have the faith we today. Almost five-hundred years ago in England, priests and theologians were locked in struggle over how they were allowed to worship God. The power was in the hands of the Roman Catholic church but, due to changes in royalty, the scuffle went back and forth. In 1553 Mary Tudor, who supported Catholicism, came to power. She desired the country to return to Catholic worship and ended up killing almost 300 Protestant leaders. Hence, she was called Bloody Mary.
Two of the men she killed were Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. Both religious leaders were arrested by Mary and told to recant their anti-Catholic teaching. When they refused, they were sentenced to burned at the stake. They really didn't associate much in life, but were linked in death as, while being chained to the stake, Latimer made this beautiful statement,
"Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out."
That, my friends, is ballsy. Facing death and able to put it into perspective? That is one of the greatest quotes ever.
And Latimer was right, because the cause prevailed. And now, hundreds of years later, we Protestant Christians continue to reap the benefits of their bravery.