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Upon the execution of John Hus in 1415, a revolution against the Roman Church and government broke out, which led to an all out war. There was an uprising of those in favor of reform in the Church known as Hussite’s (aka Wycliffites) that defended the teachings of John Hus following his martyrdom. Those in favor wrote Roman authorities accusing the Council for ill practices only to receive a letter back stating to attack all of Hus’ followers.
Things escalated rather quickly and attack did break out across the Bohemian and Moravian land. By 1420 the Roman authorities had actually organized an anti-hussite crusade, to fully wipe out all Wycliffites, Hussites, and “heretics” as previously promised.
By this time there was a conservative fraction of Hussites, known as the Utraquist that focused on the Eucharist and how it was administered. And there was the “radicals” or Taborites that esteemed the divine law (the Bible) to be the rule and standard for society as well as in the religious and political spheres.
These main camps of hussites joined together resulting in great military feats. The hussites (in the broader definition) had four main decrees that they demanded from the Roman Church:
1. The word of God shall be preached and made known in the kingdom of Bohemia freely and in an orderly manner by the priests of the Lord.
2. The sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist shall be freely administered in the two kinds, which are bread and wine, to all the faithful in Christ who are not precluded by mortal sin – according to the word and disposition of Our Saviour.
3. The secular power over riches and worldly goods which the clergy possesses in contradiction to Christ’s precept, to the prejudice of its office and to the detriment of the secular arm, shall be taken and withdrawn from it, and the clergy itself shall be brought back to the evangelical rule and an apostolic life such as that which Christ and his apostles led.
4. All mortal sins, and in particular all public and other disorders, which are contrary to God’s law shall in every rank of life be duly and judiciously prohibited and destroyed by those whose office it is
However, the “mess” of reformation continued as the Church declined these requests. The hussites, mainly under class man, held their own against a total of 3 crusades that the Roman authority brought against them. The stumbling block to their victories was the bickering, bashing, and wild fire that broke out between the sects mainly due to their theological differences. This disjointing caused a civil war between the two camps, ending with the Taborites beating out the Utraquists resulting in a temporary truce.
The hussites continued in victory against all attacks up to the Council of Basel in 1433. Peace treaties were negotiated but nothing landed until the Utraquists eventually made a deal or “compact” (which was later voided) with the Roman Church allowing them to attain some of their goals while remaining under the Roman rule. By 1434 the Utraquists along with Roman authorities attacked the Taborites and came close to annihilating them. This time many of the “radicals” either joined the Utraquists or went underground being apart of the Unity of Brethren, which was independently formed in 1457.
In no way do I think this approach was done perfectly or that every person had good intentions. But I wonder where we would be today with out this revolution. What would cause so many believers to literally fight for the Word of God to be preached and made known to all? Yes, it got messy, political, and selfish…but I believe that there were many men who believed that the Word of God was the only thing that was going to bring true freedom to the Church of their day. These men had seen and heard the Truth for themselves and they could no longer live under a religious system that distorted it for profit and gain.
Now, today we can read the Bible when and where we want, but do we spiritually fight for these truths revealed in His Word that lead us into the experiential knowledge of God? Is it worth fighting for everyday to read and mediate on with the guiding of Holy Spirit or is it better left alone on the shelf collecting dust? It is sad to see that so many believers in our day have written off the Bible as an historic document or simply poetic imagery. The Bible is the very word of God and is not something to be taken lightly! I see too many people picking apart the Word and using its substance for a food fight instead of actually eating the Word and allowing it to cause growth, strength, and maturity in ones spirit. I am not putting the Bible above the Holy Trinity but I believe that the Body of Christ needs a renewed spiritual tenacity to fight for and seek out the unending worth found in the Bible.
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1“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
2“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
3“Incline your ear and come to Me
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.