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Thursday, August 22, 2013

St. Bartholomew’s Massacre 1572

The 24th of August is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the lesser known and lesser mentioned Apostles of Christ. But the 23rd/24th of August is the infamous day of the St. Bartholomew’s Eve Massacre, in which the French royal hierarchy (predominately Roman Catholic), after giving the French Huguenots (Protestants) a promise of safety, mercilessly slaughtered them in Paris on this day in 1572. You can read a mild and truncated version at the History dot Com site.
Over 440 years have passed since this incident. Hopefully the centuries have brought some breathing space, and will allow us to think more clearly about the events of the day. This barbaric incident was brutal, ruthless and severe, and was brought about by those who claimed to be Christians on other Christians. It was likely more motivated by political insecurities and fears, than simply cut-and-dried theological ones. Nevertheless, it should be cautionary for us on many different levels.
  • There are serious dangers in marrying political power and ambition to the Faith of Christ. Too often the first co-opts the second.
  • That total depravity – the outworking of original sin – is just as alive and well among those claiming to be Christians, as those having no Christian connection.
  • Nonetheless, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50.20). Out of this time arose a document that wisely discerned how Christians are to respond to Tyranny and tyrants, “VindiciaeContra Tyrannos” (Transl. A Defense of Liberty against Tyrants). This book influenced, in various ways, the writers of the United States’ Declaration of Independence.


Remember the St. Bartholomew's Massacre of 1572.

Mike

1 comment:

Hugh Graham said...

Also St Bartholomew's Eve marks the Great Ejection in 1662 when two thousand mainly Presbyterian ministers were ejected from their livings in the Church of England for refusing to conform. This marks the beginnings of English Dissent.

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