From time to time criticism appears in the Evangelical press directed at those who organise and attend martyr memorial commemorations. Some would go so far to accuse such events as idolatrous. These tend to be the same people who frown upon anything that's deemed to be controversial. 'Just preach the Gospel', they tell us. 'Controversy brings reproach upon Christ and His Gospel.' They seem to ignore such verses as Jude 3. "Brethren, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and to exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Evidently, there were 'Just preach the Gospel' people around at that time also.
The Christian faith is constantly under attack both from without and within the Church; especially from within. Prior to the Reformation, Christendom, so-called, was anything but Christian. The Church of Rome had long before departed from Biblical Christianity. It should be remembered that the noonday of the Church of Rome is known in history as The Dark Ages. It was in the midst of this Stygian darkness that men and women, who would afterwards be burnt alive at the stake, stood up, and in the name of God, quoting the Bible, challenged the might of Rome, and were triumphant.
Today, we are still benefiting from their sacrifice, though our liberties are coming under increasing attack. This is all the more reason why we should remember the martyrs' sacrifice and the truths for which they contended.
It is becoming increasingly obvious, in my experience, that many young Christians have no knowledge about Reformation history, nor what the errors are of the Roman Church. This is because the pastors are not teaching them about these matters. These shepherds are the dumb dogs who cannot bark, except at those who do try and take a stand. The result is that these uninformed Christians are increasingly yoking with Rome and consider those who would reprimand them for this as bigots and extremists. How Rome must be laughing at this behind the scenes!
We were informed at the recent martyr commemoration in Coventry that when the first memorial service took place in the late eighteen hundreds some 10,000 people were in attendance. The attendance on May 1st was twelve. That is a measure of the decline which has taken place in little over a hundred years.
One thing is for certain, and that is if we do not value our liberties, so as to contend for them as they come under threat, they shall be taken from us. The old saying "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom", still holds good.