Six Centuries of Carnage

They will fight against you but will not overcome you. Jeremiah 1:19

1878: If there were a prize for Christian Group That Has Been Persecuted The Longest, the Waldensians would win it. Their story begins in 1173 when Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant in Lyons, France, began to take his faith seriously. He sold his estate and gave the money to the poor then had two priests translate the Bible from Latin into French and began to memorize passages. He began to attract followers who wanted to know the Bible, preach it, and put it into practice. His followers called themselves the Poor in Spirit, and they went about in pairs, preaching in the marketplaces. Their lives of poverty and service were an obvious contrast with the wealth and immorality of the [Catholic] church’s officials. Despite the fact that they were doing nothing wrong, they were branded as heretics and excommunicated. In the Middle Ages, thinking outside the box was dangerous.

The Poor in Spirit —- or, to use the more familiar name, the Waldensians —- were active in the Piedmont, the region where France, Italy, and Switzerland meet. In this isolated, mountainous area they found shelter from persecution —- but never for long because now and then, a ruler, with the approval of the [Catholic] pope, would launch a crusade against these Bible-centered people. In 1487 the [Catholic] pope decreed that anyone killing a Waldensian could receive pardon for all sins and confiscate the dead man’s property.

In the 1500s the Waldensians joined forces with the Protestants —- after all, Waldo and followers had been ahead of the curve in emphasizing the Bible as a guide to life. But since they lived in a area that was technically Catholic, persecution continued. King Louis XIV of France detested the Waldensians and in 1685 ordered his cousin who ruled the region to exterminate them.

(A side note on King Louis XIV: from another book on the Waldensians, I learned that toward the end of the Kings life, he asked his priest what he could do to atone for the horrible acts he had done in his life. The priest’s answer was: exterminate the Protestants. )

Finally, on February 17, 1848, came the Edict of Toleration, issued by Charles Albert, king of Piedmont. The Waldensians could finally live and worship in peace

The Christian History Devotional — J. Stephen Lang

Reader, Revelation 6: 9-11 says “And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth? And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.”

A terrible day of Judgement is coming when the Lord Jesus moves off the throne of grace onto His throne of Judgement. Those who have slaughtered God’s children will be Judged for eternity and placed in the lake of fire, which is the second death.

Is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone, your Shelter from this horrible day? I pray so. Thank you for your time. Carl