Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hugh Latimer Supports England's Iconoclastic Movement (Theonomy Applied)

Hugh Latimer (1485-1555) was an English Reformer, Bishop of Worcester during the reign of Henry VIII, and chaplain to his son, King Edward VI. He became a martyr for the faith during the reign of Mary Tudor, otherwise known as Bloody Mary, who had him burnt at the stake along with Nichalas Ridley. His final words were: 
Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust, by God's grace, shall never be put out.
During Henry VIII's reign, he was an important figure in the iconclastic movement to rid the land of Roman Catholic idols. As one author writes:
[I]conoclasm rose to prominence in 1533 when Hugh Latimer ... was invited to public debates in Bristol. Latimer gained notoriety and favor with Thomas Cromwell in 1533 to become the prime propagandist for the reformist policies after he began preaching against images, the veneration of saints, and the doctrine of purgatory.[1] 
Another author describes Latimer's important work in destroying the idols:
In 1537 Latimer ordered the stripping of Our Lady of Worcester in the priory of St. Mary's, Worcster, in obedience to Cromwell's injunctions. In early 1538 he returned to London to participate in a public condemnation of relics and images, during which the famous Rood of Boxley, the "Rood of Grace in Kent," was smashed and burned at Paul's Cross, while Hilsey preached the sermon. Latimer presided at the degradation of the Rood of Rumsbury, reportedly picking it up and hurling it out the west door of St. Paul's. The intensity of these events is reflected in Latimer's report to Cromwell on [O]ur Lady of Worcester: "She hath been the devil's instrument to bring many (I fear) to eternal fire: now she herself, with her old sister of Wilshingham, her young sister of Ipswich, with their other two sisters of Dorcestor and Pearce, would make a jolly visitor in Smithfield; they would not be all day burning!"[2]  


[1] Brenda Deen Schildgen, Heritage or Heresy: Preservation and Destruction of Religious Art and Architecture in Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 47.
[2] Michael Pasquarello III, God's Ploughman: Hugh Latimer, a "Preaching Life" (1485-1555) (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014), 74. Citation from Chester, Hugh Latimer, 130, 131.


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