This Bishop Spoke Fearlessly Against Sin and Earned the King’s Respect – Inspiring Story Featured in a Secular 1970s Children’s Magazine (See What Sort of Reading Material Children Are Missing Out These Days!! See What Sort of Leaders Churchgoers Are Missing Out These Days!!)

Children’s magazines are no longer what they used to be!

If you flip open most children’s magazine these days, they are filled with tales of witchcraft and carnal fantasy, pandering to the young minds of this age.

However, back in the 70s, there used to be a secular children’s magazine called “Look and Learn” (which was published in the UK but sold in Singapore), that featured informative articles and even Christians-themed ones like the one featured below.

Keeper of the King’s Conscience

Although Latimer was fearless in his criticism of the King, his position remained secure – until the King died.

No chapter in England’s story pulsates with more human drama than the Tudor era. It was the first great age of the common man; when subjects reaped the highest rewards for intelligence rather than breeding. For some, too, it was an age of believing in principles; if necessary, in dying for them.

Sir Thomas More is best known for a combination of these twin qualities. He embodied the Tudor virtues of great wisdom and unshakable belief in the highest principles; his stirring martyrdom has tended to monopolise those virtues for himself.

But there were others besides More, many others. One such was Bishop Hugh Latimer who, in times when to say what he felt could cost a man his head, was fearlessly outspoken in parish pulpit and royal Court. A man of intelligence and principle – and ready, when the time came, to pay the price for it.

In the pulpit Latimer was electric. He spoke to men in a way that went straight to their hearts, warning them of their sins with simple, earnest words. He even called on his hearers by name-something so new that people flocked to hear him.

One day, his reputation reached the ears of the Bishop of Ely, who went to Latimer’s church to listen. Latimer used the occasion to describe what a Bishop ought to be, which was very unlike what everyone knew this Bishop to be.

Angrily the Bishop of Ely complained to Cardinal Wolsey, who sent for Latimer.

“What did you say to make him so cross?” Wolsey asked the preacher.

Latimer told him and Wolsey smiled. “If the Bishop of Ely cannot abide by such a doctrine, you shall preach it to his face,” he said. ” Let him say what he will.” He then gave Latimer permission to preach in any church in England.

Latimer was bound to make enemies, but after Wolsey’s fall, Henry the Eighth protected him by making him one of his chaplains. Even when Latimer fearlessly sermonised his criticism of the King’s way of life, Henry grinned and nodded his head cheerfully. He liked this fellow Latimer. Who had chosen to be the keeper of his conscience, above all, he liked his great learning, his soldierly bearing and his love of life.

Hugh Latimer, born in a Leicestershire farmhouse, could easily have been taken for a soldier of the King rather than the Cross. His father, a small but prosperous farmer, had ridden to battle for the King and when Hugh was seven he had helped to buckle on his father’s armour before a fight against the rebels at Blackheath.

Hugh learned to draw a bow in the true English way but his fondness for learning decided his father to send him to school.

There he shone; at 14 he went to Cambridge; before he was 20 he was preaching in that electric style that made his audience sit up and listen.

He was soon in trouble with his superiors, the Bishops. They summoned him before a Church court and sentenced him to prison. The King did not like this verdict and intervened, saying that Latimer could go back to his parish.

ENRAGED BISHOPS

In Germany, the Reformation began. The reformers were against much that they thought was wrong in the beliefs and customs of the Roman Catholic Church. In England, the King was also attacking the Roman church and for his kind of Reformation Henry needed a man like Latimer.

The bishops liked Latimer no better when the King made him Bishop of Worcester, for he grew still plainer in telling them their faults. He attacked their love of ease and luxury – “I would rather feed many coarsely than a few deliciously,” he told them.

Then, in a sermon, he called them “strong thieves,” adding, “There is not enough hemp grown in the kingdom to hang all the thieves in England.” The bishops burned with rage as they listened to all this.

Henry vacillated: he did not like all the changes advocated by the Protestants, as the followers of the Reformation were called. When he thought they were going too far he allowed his bishops to draw up the chief beliefs of the Roman Catholic religion in six articles, which everyone was bound to agree to.

But not Latimer. He was against the six articles. He surrendered his bishopric and was put in the Tower for a time to cool his heels. Until the end of Henry’s reign he had to keep silent and could no more rebuke the sins of men.

When Henry died his son, Edward the Sixth reigned and Latimer was released. The government favoured the Protestants and Archbishop Cranmer could now make all the changes in the Church that he liked.

Back in the pulpit, Latimer drew the biggest congregations in London. He made his hearers feel their guilt so deeply that many of the officers of the court brought to him money which they had unjustly taken from the King and begged him to return it, which he did on condition that he was allowed to hide their names.

Edward the Sixth died in his teens and his sister Mary came to the throne. She was an ardent Roman Catholic and the Catholics in prison were set free and Protestants were put into the empty cells.

Among others, notice was sent to Latimer that he was to appear before the Queen’s Council. He might have managed to escape and leave England had he wished, but he was not a man to flee. At the Council’s order he was imprisoned in the Tower, where he spent more than a year before being transferred to a common jail in Oxford.

At last he was brought before three Catholic bishops who had been sent to Oxford to try him. Latimer, in the 65 years of his busy life, had not grown rich. He came out now before his judges in an old threadbare gown of Bristol frieze; on his head he wore a handkerchief with a night cap over it, and another cap over that with two broad flaps buttoned under his chin. Round his waist he wore a leather belt, to which a Testament was fastened, and his spectacles hung round his neck.

Next day Latimer and his fellow Bishop, Ridley, who had been imprisoned with him and shared his trial, were condemned to be burned as heretics.

On the day of the execution, before the watching crowd. Ridley came out first. He wore a black gown; he had dressed himself with care and trimmed his beard. He turned round to look up at the windows of the prison, hoping to see his friend Cranmer, who was also imprisoned there, but he could not see him. Instead, he saw Latimer coming along in his old frieze coat, with his cap on his head, just as he had been at his trial.

Ridley ran and embraced him saying. “Be of good heart, brother; God will either assuage the flame or strengthen us to abide it.” They knelt and prayed together; then both quickly got ready for death.

Ridley gave his cloak and tippet to his brother-in-law who was with him and to each of those who were standing near he gave some little remembrance. To one he gave a new groat, to others handkerchiefs, nutmegs, slices of ginger, his watch and other trifles. Everyone tried to get something, if it was only a rag. But Latimer had nothing to give: he took off his coat and stood clad in his long shroud.

GREAT VIRTUES

Would either man recant? “Do, and you shall live,” they were told. Both solemnly shook their heads.

Chains were put round their bodies, and a kind man hung round the neck of each a bag of powder to hasten the terrible work of the flames. Then the lighted torch was laid to the faggots.

As the flames began to crackle Latimer cried out, “Be of good comfort. Master Ridley; play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

Five months passed before Archbishop Cranmer suffered the same fate as his friends. In a moment of weakness he tried to save himself by recanting, and wrote confessing that the opinions he held were grievous errors.

But this was not enough to save his life after all, and he grew bitterly ashamed of his weakness. Before he died, he told the assembled people how he repented of what he had written and when he was tied to the stake, before the rest or his body was touched, he held his right hand in the flames. saying:

“This was the hand that wrote it, therefore it shall first suffer punishment.”

He neither stirred nor cried out while the hand was burned.

Great strength of character, steadfast belief in principles, these were the virtues of the great common men of Tudor times. They have, perhaps, passed down splendid standards for all of us to live by.

P/S:

In an age where there is so much moral compromise (even amongst Christian circles!), may the Lord give us men like Bishop Hugh Latimer, who are not afraid to preach against sin — and as the article above puts it – men who have “great strength of character, steadfast belief in principles” and who will “pass down splendid standards for all of us to live by”.

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“Apostle” David Taylor — Unsettling Revelations of His Private Life

“Apostle” David E. Taylor is the founder of Joshua Media Ministries International (JMMI). He is also author of the book “Face-to-face Appearances from Jesus: The Ultimate Intimacy”, and with a book title as extraodinary as this, it leave one the impression that this man walks closely with God.

However, some rather unsettling details of his private life has emerged, specifically, of how he uses ministry money to live in an expensive home, and his “need” for expensive clothes.

For more information, visit: http://apostledavidtaylor.com/

 

Is Your Ambition to Be a Christian Leader? Unless God Calls You, Forget It (Testimony of a Singapore Christian)

I know that 1 Timothy 3:1 says that ‘Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.‘, so what I am about to say, may seem controversial and to contradict scripture (which is not my intention).

Nonetheless, my advice to anyone whose personal ambition is to be a Christian leader, is to forget it unless you are sure that it is God’s will and that God has called you.

I lead a home fellowship in my church, and when I interact with my peers (i.e. fellow home fellowship leaders), I get the feeling that they may be burnt out.

Perhaps the reason for their burn-out is that they have very difficult members in their fellowship to manage, however, I also do get the impression that they may not be cut out to be leaders in the first place.

And why did they agree to become leaders in the first place, you might ask? Perhaps due to vainglory and self-ambition in their hearts? Perhaps after being introduced to charismatic leaders of mega-churches like Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince, they aspire to be like them, and hope that someday, they would also lead a great, big church, and have thousands of followers on Facebook, clinging on to their every word?

You might then ask me. Well, doesn’t 1 Timothy 3:1 suggest that we should ALL aspire for leadership positions?

No, not really. Here, I think Paul was commending individuals who would be appointed to this office, and not advocating that all individuals apply for the position.

You see, in today’s bookstores, there are countless of books to teach individuals how to shamelessly self-promote themselves for coveted jobs and positions. However, in the early church, there was no such thing.

Indeed, leadership positions in the early church were not filled up through people sending in their resumes and attending panel interviews, or even through networking (and relationships and ‘guanxi’). Rather, individuals were appointed under the discretion and direction of the Holy Spirit. We see this principle in Acts 13:2 (NIV):

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Consequently, if someone were to share with me that his/her personal ambition was to be a Christian leader, I would ask, “Has God called you? If God has called you, then you need to do absolutely nothing in addition to what He is now already asking You to do, and which I trust you have been obedient in doing.”

In other words, if God is calling you to a specific leadership position, it should be God and not you, who makes it all happen.

Here is my personal (albeit rather lengthy) true-life experience of how I ended up in leadership.

It first started when I was 17, in junior college, and when I tried to play a prank on a classmate by getting people to vote for him to become the class representative. The prank backfired, and I ended up being voted instead to be the class representative.

At university, I attended the orientation session of my biochemistry freshman class, and I did this only because the organisers promised to give past year examination papers to those who attended the meeting. I was minding my own business at the meeting, when the chairman of the meeting pointed at me and a couple of others, and said, “Please step forward to the stage. We need a class representative for this freshman class, and we would like you to be considered this position.”

All those who were made to step forward (including myself) were asked to give a short speech as to why they might make a good class representative.

Everyone who stepped forward complied with the request, and hastily tried to put together some of their good qualities, so as to support their nomination as class representative. Everyone, of course, except me.

When it came to my turn to speak, I took the microphone, and while standing in front of everybody, said, “Look, I’m really not interested in this, and think I would make a terrible class representative. So, please, I beg of you, do not vote me as your class representative. Thank you for your non-consideration.”

I then unceremonious took my seat amidst a chorus of ‘boos’.

The chairman wasn’t amused (I thought my last sentence was witty), but nevertheless, carried on with the proceedings and requested all nominees (including myself) to leave the auditorium so that a secret vote could be taken.

When all nominees returned to the auditorium, I was told that I had won the vote, almost unanimously!

After the meeting had closed, the committee (comprising of seniors) spoke to me in private, during which I told them that it was ridiculous that I was voted into office, and I flatly refused to take up the job. However, the committee were adamant that I should at least try it out for a period of time. Eventually, I gave in.

I thought that I’d last for only a couple of months; instead, I ended up being class representative to my more than a hundred-member Biochemistry class until the day I graduated (and even enjoying the experience).

Close to the same timing of this event, the seniors from the Microbiology faculty, who were Christians, went around looking for the Christians among the freshman, and invited them for a welcome tea session.

Again, I attended the welcome tea session with an ulterior motive, and that was to make friends with the seniors, so that I could seek their help, if I ever needed it.

The seniors, however, had an agenda for the welcome tea, and that was to set up a Christian fellowship among the freshman, and thus to continue an existing tradition within the faculty (of having a Christian fellowship among the freshman).

During the welcome tea, a number of Christian freshman agreed to be members to this fellowship, and eventually, I was asked if I could lead it (the seniors had heard that I had been appointed as the class representative for the biochemistry class).

I said ‘yes’, not because I really wanted the job, but because no one else wanted it, and I figured that if there was no leader, there would be no fellowship. And if there was no fellowship, I reasoned that perhaps God might hold me accountable.

On saying ‘yes’, the seniors gathered around me to lay hands on me and bless and ‘anoint’ me. I was the leader of this fellowship for two years, until the time I graduated.

Now, by the time I had graduated from university, I could see a pattern in my life, of time and time again being roped into leadership position, and oftentimes, when I wasn’t even seeking for it.

To date, I’ve been in my present church for three years, and I don’t mean to boast, but by my second year of being here, I was asked to attend a training to be a home fellowship leader. Indeed, being invited to the training wasn’t something I gloated over, instead, I just saw as a pattern in my life repeating itself all over again.

After completing the training, there were no home fellowships under my zonal pastor’s charge that required a leader (that is, all of the home fellowships had existing leaders). So, I left things as they were — my zonal pastor’s only request to me was that I attended the training, which I had hereby fulfilled, and since there were no home fellowships that needed my acare, as far as I was concerned, that was the end of the whole matter.

At the same time, I took an interest in joining a particular ministry within church, and I started seeking God as to whether it was His will for me to join that ministry.

Eventually, I felt led to ask God for a ‘fleece’. It was the beginning of the month, and I told God that while I continued to seek His face, if there was no opening to become a home fellowship by the end of the month, I would take it that I had His permission to join the other ministry that I was interested in joining.

Two weeks later, on a Sunday morning and before the church service, I was walking towards church when I ran into one of the pastors in the church, who recognised me because I had attended the leaders training. We made small conversation and he asked me whether I was serving in any ministry in church. I told him that I was not, but was contemplating joining a particular ministry. On hearing my interest, he wanted to guide me how to sign up for the ministry, and so led me to the church counter to fill up a ministry enrolment form. Amazingly, when we reached the counter, no ministry enrolment form was available, although it was early on Sunday morning, before any of the services had been held. The pastor looked puzzled by the lack of forms, but not to be deterred, he told me to return to the counter after the service, and to request the workers at the counter for a form. I did not follow through with this pastor’s suggestion, though, because I found it very unusual that all the ministry enrolment forms seemed to have run out, especially so early during the day, and sensed that perhaps the Lord may be behind the missing forms.

Another two weeks passed, and it was now the last day of the month (the exact deadline that I had given the Lord). Amazingly, at noon, my zonal pastor called me to tell me that there was a cell nearby where I lived that needed a leader because the current one was stepping down, and whether I would be interested in becoming the leader. Typically, I would hesitate on such a request, but I needed no further prodding here and said “yes” immediately. Because of the extraordinary sequence of events, there was no doubt in my mind that there was the Lord’s will.

I have now been the leader of this home fellowship for almost a year — and to God be all glory — the fellowship has been running smoothly since the time I joined.

Perhaps there might be some lessons to glean from my experience:

Firstly, I am not ambitious by nature, and it has not been my design or desire to lead. I lead because the events in my life have shaped up in such a way, that there is little doubt in mind that God has called me to be a leader. Indeed, I believe that He has appointed me to be a leader even before I was born (mediate on Jeremiah 1:5 [NIV] — “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.“)

I trust that if He has appointed me, surely He will train me and give me the resources needed to carry out my duties well. Above all, He will surely open the doors for me, someplace, someday, to serve as a leader. Consequently, I cannot accept it when I hear of Christian workers jockeying or fighting for power and positions, as a non-believer working for a worldly corporation would do.

In the second last paragraph of Galatians 5, we see a list of acts of the sinful nature, and “selfish ambition” and “envy” are two items that are included in the list. The same paragraph warns that people (and this includes believers) “who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (verse 21).

I do sometimes wonder if this is the reason why the Lord has called me into leadership; that is, although I have many other shortcomings in my life, I am not tempted by selfish ambition or envy for titles and power.

Consequently, to those who harbour the ambition of being a Christian leader, I would say this to them, “Are you able to distinguish whether it is your own selfish ambition that you wish to fulfil, or are you able to recognise, through little clues in your life that pop up every now, that the Lord has called you?”

I would then add that unless the Lord has called one into leadership, forget it, and focus on serving the Lord in other ministries.