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Monday, October 31, 2016

Calvinists murdered as Lutherans… in America – Reformation remembrance @ 499 years

      499 years ago today marks the beginning of Luther's Reformation.  For that occasion, and to put it into proper perspective, I would publish an excerpt from C.F.W. Walther's Foreword to the 1872 edition of the Der Lutheraner periodical.
Translation by BackToLuther, highlighting, bolding and hyperlinks are mine:

As often as the Papists had murdered a witness of the truth in and after the time of Luther, in Germany, France, England, Spain, etc., they always thought they had sufficiently justified themselves and could boast of their bloody deed if they could only say that the execution was of a Lutheran. Even the Calvinists were often persecuted as “Lutherans”.  This occurred even in America.  During the period of the persecution of the Calvinists in France in the second half of the 16th century, many French Calvinists [Huguenots] emigrated to America and founded a settlement on the coast north of Florida.  This aroused the jealousy of the King of Spain, the fanatical papist Philipp II. Therefore, in 1565, he sent a squadron of 11 ships, manned with 2600 soldiers to the North American coast, to destroy the new settlement.  This command was also punctually executed. Those who fell into the hands of the papal Spaniards  had to suffer the death of a criminal.  Many of them were attached to the trees of the nearby forest, and fixed with the title: These were not hanged as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans.”  With this they had adequately justified their murder, because a Lutheran and one most worthy of a terrible death was regarded by the Papists as equivalent. *)
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*) After two years, the French, in order to avenge this crime, attacked the fortresses erected by the murderous Spaniards in the region of the destroyed French settlements, and now tied up these Spaniards, but with the following heading: “These have been hung up not as Spaniards and Catholics, but as traitors, thieves, and murderers.”

I am familiar with a conservative Baptist church that follows Calvin's teachings... and what did they celebrate yesterday, Sunday?  Reformation Sunday, Luther's Reformation!  In a flyer in their bulletin they highlight: Grace Alone, Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone.  Calvinists.  There was a point in my return to the Christian faith that I would have joined this church because of their adherence to these principles... but I have since discovered (by Walther and Pieper) that they are only showing their heritage, a heritage that was formerly... Lutheran.
      So what is the perspective to be gained from this historical account of the murders in Florida?  To be a true Lutheran in the world today is not an exercise for the attainment of popularity.  It is as our Saviour says:
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. — Matthew 10:22

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