Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 05, 2012

Anabaptist Martyrs: Hans van Overdam

When one thinks of countries affected by the Protestant Reformation, Belgium does not readily come to mind. Yet there were many in that small nation who embraced new teachings of the Anabaptist flavor. One of these was Hans van Overdam or Overdamme. It is not known exactly when he was born, but as he was unmarried in an era when many people married in their teenage years, it is safe to say he was probably a fairly young man. It is also possible that he had been married before and thus widowed (being “unmarried”) at the time of his imprisonment. If there is a source that mentioned his age, it has sadly gone over my head.

At first Hans was lucky. He was only exiled for his Anabaptist faith, and this allowed him six years of relative freedom. But in 1551 his luck ran out. In July it was decreed he would be burned, but even then he had already taken the upper hand. He had previously written letters to those who had condemned him, striking out against them for treating a child of God in such a heinous manner. His efforts were in vain.  On July 09th he was burned at the stake for the practice of Anabaptism, along with others who shared his views. Unlike others, he thought he might jab at his jailors’ consciences and, if that did not manage to save him, perhaps it would save others. Unfortunately that was not the case.

Hans van Overdam was a fighter against the establishment, but his eyes were fixed upon Christ and His promises. In the end that was all that mattered.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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