DISCOVER YOUR HEROIC SPIRITUAL ANCESTORS


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

DISCOVER YOUR HEROIC SPIRITUAL ANCESTORS
========================================
These were all
commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had
been promised…
Hebrews 11:39

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the
following insight
from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted
Church.”

It was early 1980’s in a village in Czechoslovakia, and I had
just given the
pastor of a rural church a Bible in his own tongue. It was
leather bound, with
a gold zipper, and was the first complete Bible he had
held. I remember him
sniffing it, marveling at the leather smell, playing
with the zip and being
almost afraid to touch the thin precious pages. Then
he began to talk to the
members of the church. Pointing at me he said, “This
gentleman is your heroic
spiritual ancestor. Every time the Bible comes into
a culture, it is a threat,
and is opposed. So it takes men and women to risk
all to bring it to us. This
man has taken such a risk.”

I was embarrassed, but he went on to say to me, “The Bible also came into your
culture. It was also a threat. Tell me, who are your heroic
spiritual
ancestors?” I am ashamed to say I did not have a clear idea of who
these men
were in my country of the United Kingdom.

So I returned to
my country with his challenge ringing in my ears, “Find out
the story of how
your Bible came to you, and you will discover your heroic
spiritual
ancestors.”

What a dramatic story I uncovered. Full of spies, deaths and
power politics. I
learned so much about John Wycliffe, the first man to
translate the Bible into
English in the world of the 1300’s, when most clergy
could not even recite the
Ten Commandments. He formed a cadre of guerilla
preachers to comb the country,
with hand copied versions of the Bible, a book
banned by Parliament. Wycliffe
died of a stroke from the strain.

In
the 1500’s, William Tyndale benefited from the invention of the
printing
press. He had to leave England to accomplish the task, never to
return. At age
twenty-nine in 1524, he settled in Cologne, and by 1526 was
ready to smuggle
6000 copies of the Bible in English into Britain. The whole
British naval
fleet was put on alert, and boats were stopped and searched.
First tens and
then hundreds of the Bibles got through. The bishop of London
tried another
tack. He sought to buy the entire print run through an
intermediary. His
intention was to burn them all. Tyndale got wind of it, and
approved the sale,
saying, “Oh he will burn them. Well, I am the gladder, for
I shall get the
money from these books, and the whole world shall cry out
upon the burning of
God’s Word.” And so it was. He burned them, and Tyndale
used the money to
improve the translation and print more…at the church’s
expense.

Tyndale was captured by assassins and then strangled and burned
in August 1536
for “heresy.” His last words were, “Lord, open the King of
England’s eyes.”
This prayer was swiftly answered, and the English
reformation was quickly
fueled by a spate of translations. What a story it
was. And what heroism from
my spiritual ancestors!

RESPONSE: Today I
will thank God for my spiritual ancestors who brought God’s
Word to my
land.

PRAYER: Ask God if you may somehow, someday, be used to bring His
Word to
needy people.

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