1546: Death and Rebirth
What did the year 1546 mean for the Protestant world? In February, Martin Luther, that rough-around-the-edges, heartfelt, seasoned theologian, had thrown off the trappings of persecution to enter into eternal rest with the Savior he had championed. Without Luther one might think that the “new thought” would be crushed, that all looked bleak. But the wheels of change had already been turning so boldly and proudly that there was no stopping the Reformation now. Many other men and women had taken up Luther’s cause. The year 1546, though it may have seemed uneventful enough on the outside, sported a great many events that could have changed the course of history in one way or another.
For instance, in June, England and France, longtime rivals (despite copying each other at court) reconciled during the ‘Italian War’ with the Treaty of Ardres. Such concessions, no matter how small, gave Europe a break, because everyone knew that warring countries meant heartache even for those who were not directly involved. Yet in July, the Schmalkaldic War began in Germany. The name of this obscure war kept coming up while I was studying Martin Luther, and I had no idea what it was about. Apparently it was a religious war fought between Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fifth’s army and the Lutheran princes. The name ‘Schmalkaldic’ comes from the ‘Schmalkaldic League,’ headed by the Lutheran faction. This short war ended only a year later but further separated Germany’s Protestants and Catholics.
Also in 1546, George Wishart, Scottish martyr, died for refusing to pledge allegiance to Catholic doctrines. The date was March 01st. He was a friend of John Calvin and was known as a Scottish Protestant hero. Anne Askew (see post of March 20th) was burned for her Protestant beliefs on July 16th. To delve more into the Italian War mentioned above, France, whose king had committed the ultimate “unforgiveable sin” by siding with Ottoman Emperor Suleiman, butted heads with England and the Holy Roman Empire. Interestingly enough, at this time, France, who hated Protestantism and had thoroughly persecuted believers, was begging for intervention from a good many Protestants in Germany.
So 1546 was a busy year, for better and for worse. And it was certainly far from dull.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved