Guy de Bres Before His Martyrdom

Thanks to Wes for posting this extract from Guy de Bres’ defense of the faith before his martyrdom, at the hands of the Romanists, in 1567. de Bres was the author of the Belgic Confession, which is the confession of faith held by the United Reformed Churches and other descendants of the 16th century Dutch Reformation.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Helpful and useful post on a Continental martyr, 1567. Wish the rest of the trial transcript was posted however. Am working through Ridley and Philpott’s trial transcripts about 12 years earlier in England. And, 1566, Parker and Grindal’s embrace of the Helvetic Confession.

    And we yield on our Confessions to accomodate non-confessionalists?

  2. Philip:

    In due time I hope to have the entire conversation published, along with others involving de Bres from around the same time.

    Thanks for the link, Scott!

  3. Wes:

    Many thanks.

    A “musing” and reflection on my end, to wit, the connection and impact on other Reformers over de Bres’ death. The Swiss? French? Dutch? Also, the connection of this news with Canterbury? Also, any responses from Lutherans?

    de Bres’ death is five years before the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre—that piece alone, 1572, firmly affected the Church of England. Sir Thomas Walsingham, Elizabeth’s 1’s commanding spymaster, was in Paris and barely made it out of Paris.

    I had a Dutch friend, an expat to this country, talk about the deep awareness of the historic context surrounding the HC and Belgic Confessions, to wit, the sufferings of the people. He surely spoke with passion when he talked about the sufferings of the Dutch people under Philip of Spain.

    My “musings” pertain to this: the impact on the rank and file Churchmen in the Netherlands, as well as Churchmen in other nations.

    The transcript of de Bres–on the post given by you– reads exactly like the trial transcripts of Ridley and Philpott.

    Thanks for future pubs on this. This one you just did was good.

    Lest we forget.


  4. For Jesus Christ, in Revelation 2, says to those in Thyatira that they should beware of the profound trickeries of Satan, to beware of false doctrine. He says, “I will put on you no other burden, only that which you have already, hold fast to this until I come.” He would not have spoken thus if it would have been necessary to receive all the novelties which the Roman church has fabricated and daily put forth as a divine commission.

  5. Philip,

    I’m not aware of any significant impact that de Bres’ martyrdom might have had on other regions. His martyrdom was eventually included in Jean Crespin’s martyrology (which in its first edition was the first Protestant work in that genre) and then also Adrien van Haemstede’s. Crespin was addressed to a French Huguenot audience (as well as French-speaking Swiss), whereas van Haemstede’s audience was Dutch. I’ve looked a bit to see if earlier editions of Foxe’s include de Bres, but I’ve never found him mentioned — perhaps I haven’t searched enough. I don’t think the Lutherans would have taken notice.

    • Wes, need to check, but was de Bres’ murdered under Pope Paul IV (or was it Pius IV)?

      Erstwhile, known as the infamous Cardinal Caraffa in earlier days while at Naples (a real brute), later head of the “Office of Inquisition,” designated to handle the “Luther problem” when he fleeted up to Rome, and later, the ratifier of Trent, 1565ish?

      I’ll need to check the dates. The name may be Pius IV rather than Paul IV. Not only ratified Trent, but came up with the famed Catechism allegedly used until this century, especially for converts to Romanism?

      The 1560’s bristle with details, many needed to be tracked down…at least for this scribe.

      • Neither. It was Pope Pius V. Although it should be said that Philip II and (especially) the Duke of Alva play a more prominent role in the martyrdom of de Bres and the persecution of the Reformed in the Low Countries.

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