Why were our Reformers Burned?
Bishop John Charles Ryle, (1816-1900) who was the first Bishop of Liverpool explains that the principle reason why they were burned was because they believed what they read in the Bible and would not accept what was to them the false teaching of the Church of Rome.
They refused one of the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church.
– if they accepted it, they lived
– if they denied and refused it – they were burned.
It was the doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. They refused to believe that the body and blood of Christ were really, that is corporally, literally, locally and materially present under the forms of bread and wine after the words of consecration were pronounced. Imagine: if the bread and wine were changed into the natural body and blood of Christ as He was on the Cross at Calvary by the consecration words of the Romish Priest, then this makes this meal of remembrance a sacrifice, NOT a sacrament of remembrance. And the great truth of the blessed doctrine of Christ’s finished work on the Cross is demeaned. The elements are idolised. – as they were then. Furthermore sinful men are exalted into position as mediator between man and God. And no one can ‘break bread from house to house except there be a priest there to say the words!