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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

Reformation Through The Eyes Of Bishop J. C. Ryle


Bishop J. C. Ryle wrote an article, Why Were Our Reformers Burned?, in which he first recorded the cruelty that the reformers suffered, and then made a passionate plea to the post- Reformation believers not to despise the cause of Reformation, considering the great price that the reformers have paid for the defence and declaration of biblical truths.

Ryle wrote, “It is fashionable in some quarters to deny that there is any such thing as certainty about religious truth, or any opinions for which it is worthwhile to be burned. Yet, 300 years ago, there were men who were certain they had found out truth, and were content to die for their opinions. It is fashionable in other quarters to leave out all the unpleasant things in history, and to paint everything a rose-coloured hue.” He then went on to describe how the events have turned men of God who were gripped by the truths of God’s Word.

King Edward VI, on the 6th July 1553, said in his last prayer before death, “O Lord God, defend this realm from papistry, and maintain Thy true religion.” But his sister Mary (Catherine of Aragon), the daughter of Henry VIII, succeeded him. She was best known in English history by the ill-omened name of “Bloody Mary”. Ryle said, “Mary had been brought up from infancy as a rigid adherent of the Romish church… conscientious, zealous, bigoted and narrow-minded in the extreme.”

Ryle said, “A very popular history of our English queens hardly mentions the martyrdoms of Queen Mary's days! Yet Mary was not called “Bloody Mary” without reason, and scores of Protestants were burned in her reign. Last but not least, it is thought very bad taste in many quarters to say anything which throws discredit on the church of Rome.” “Bloody Mary” destroyed all her brother’s work, restored the Mass and banned the works of Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Tyndale, Bucer, Latimer, Hooper and Cranmer. The English reformers were imprisoned or burned alive if they did not recant and receive popery.

“Bloody Mary” burnt 288 at the stake in Canterbury: one was an Archbishop, four were Bishops, twentyone were Clergymen, fifty-five were women and four were children. Ryle said, “They were not rebels against the Queen's authority… not thieves, or murderers, or drunkards, or unbelievers, or men and women of immoral lives. On the contrary, they were some of the holiest, purest and the best Christians in England, and several of them the most learned men of their day.”

In his book titled What Do We Owe to the Reformation?, Ryle wrote, “I cannot agree with those who say the Reformation was a blunder, that the reformers are overpraised, that Protestantism has done this country no good, and that it would matter little if England placed her neck once more under the foot of the pope of Rome.” He concluded by saying, “Shall we entertain for a moment the idea of forsaking Reformation principles and going back to Rome? Once more I say God forbid! The man who counsels such base apostasy and suicidal folly must be judicially blind. The iron collar has been broken; let us not put it on again. The prison has been thrown open; let us not resume the yoke and return to our chains.”

Seniors’ outing to Johor, Malaysia
report by Jeremiah Sim

the Seniors' fellowship was eagerly waiting for. On that day, early in the morning at 6.45 am, all of them gathered at Eunos MRT car park to board the coach to Johor, for their one-day outing. Among the joyful participants were also several young adults and children.

It was raining heavily when all of us gathered together at Eunos. As the coach moved off, the rain subsided but dark clouds covered the sky. Many of us were anxious as to whether heavy rain would ruin the programme for the day.

Thanks be to our God who taught us in His Word, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). We sought the Lord in prayer for good weather; and our request was granted. The Lord has proven to us all that He is sovereign over nature. He sent the rain to cool the earth, and he let the clouds cover the sky, that we might be shielded from the scorching heat of the sun. The Lord blessed us with a wonderful weather all the day long.

After the immigration clearance, we had a breakfast break and then went straight to visit a large farm in Johor. We rode on two monster trucks provided by the farm owners. Each of them could accommodate twenty persons. We were shown many different kinds of vegetables and fruits that they grow in that farm. This farm supplies food for both local consummation and export purposes. In the farm, we took time to sing praises to the Lord for His goodness. Then, His servant, Pastor Koshy, exhorted us from the Word of God. He taught us from Psalm 91:1-2, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” We thank God for those comforting verses which reminded us that we can seek refuge in Him at all times without fear.

A scrumptious lunch was provided in a nearby restaurant after the farm visit. Then we took a ferry to a fish farm to see how fish are reared. Before we returned to Singapore, we went for a seafood dinner by the seaside.

God has given us a wonderful time of appreciating His creation and enjoying a blessed time of fellowship. So as the psalmist said in Psalm 7:17, “I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.”

We thank God for the young adults who had joined this outing to encourage and help the uncles and aunties. We thank God for all the brethren who had laboured graciously and lovingly.

Pastoral Exhortation