Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azaria

After Münster, “Anabaptists” suffered even more persecution by those who used this debacle as justification. Like the martyrs of Revelation “that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony they held,” these lowly Brethren “loved not their lives unto the death.” They were literally “killed all the day long” and were “counted as sheep for the slaughter.” Their enemies, attempting to mute their testimony, often killed them in secret or darkness. More Anabaptists were martyred in the sixteenth century then suffered under Rome during the first three centuries of the early church. And yet many walked through the valley of the shadow of death rejoicing and singing Psalms and praying for their enemies and, like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, communing with each other and the Son of God in the midst of the flames. Their witness astounded even those who hated them:
They are far readier then followers of Luther and Zwingli to meet death, and bear the harshest tortures for their faith. For they run to suffer punishments, no matter how horrible as if to a banquet; so that if you take that as a test either of the truth of doctrine or of their certitude of grace, you would easily conclude that in no other sect is to be found a faith so true or grace so certain (Stanislaus Hosius (Polish cardinal and bishop of Warmis), Opera (Venice), 1573, p. 202).

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