We cannot think of a more appropriate text when talking of Archbishop Cranmer than ‘Quenched the violence of fire,’ (Hebrews 11:34), said Dr Paisley. “God send us more bishops and more archbishops of the calibre, courage and faith of these great men who quenched the violence of fire.”
The Rt Hon the Rev Dr Ian R.K. Paisley MP MLA was addressing a well attended public meeting of the Bristol and Clifton Protestant League on 28 May in Buckingham Chapel, Bristol. People came from a considerable distance and there were many new faces in the audience.
Dr Paisley spoke of the need to get back to “the great principles of the Reformation and call upon God who cannot lie and cannot fail to move in our day as He moved in their day by the power of the Spirit of God”.
“No man in Reformation history has been more reviled and more misrepresented than Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet Bishop Ryle was able to say, “No man in an evil age kept himself so pure as Crammer did”.
THE GUILT OF ROME
Dr Paisley went on to speak of, “The filth and guilt of Rome, the the filth and guilt of the Pope of Rome and the filth and guilt of the Queen Mary aided by Rome”.
All pointed to, “the root of that evil system which the Holy Spirit of God in the Book of the Revelation indicts in Chapter 18 and verse 24: ‘And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’. Trace back the blood shedding of history and listen to these words of the Spirit of God that indicts the Church of Rome and antichrist of the murder of all that were slain upon the earth.”
DR PAISLEY’S CONFRONTATION WITH THE POPE
Dr Paisley recalled that when he was an MEP and able to come face to face with the Pope, he used the language of Thomas Cranmer and how that day the Pope of Rome and the cardinals around him turned white, “as the voice of old Thomas Crammer witnessed that the Pope was antichrist and the enemy of truth and righteousness and so he is”.
He went on to speak of how in time even Cranmer’s enemies were brought to insist that the Bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in the Church of England, and how this has subsequently been undermined by the Jesuits.
Dr Paisley reviewed the life, trial and martyrdom of Cranmer, emphasising the little known fact that the trial was by the Pope’s nominees. It was not an English court that condemned Cranmer and that this, “demonstrates for all time the pernicious root from which this wicked murder of a godly man grew”.
THREE GREAT GOSPEL PRINCIPLES
Dr Paisley concluded with the question, “Why was the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury burned?” It was for three great Gospel principles — the supremacy of Scripture versus the supremacy of the pope, the finished sacrifice of Christ on the cross versus the ever repeated blasphemous mass of the altar, salvation by faith alone versus salvation by works.
(Tapes of this quite outstanding address are obtainable from Onesimus Books, PO Box 170, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 5XN for £3.00 post free.)