Un-forgetting the Forgotten: The Legacy of Jan Huss

Just read an interesting story on the legacy of Jan Huss, the great proto-Reformer of the present-day Czech Republic. If you’ve never heard of Huss or haven’t thought much about him, this Baptist Press piece is well worth your time.

Here’s a bit:

He became a priest not for noble or spiritual reasons but simply to escape poverty. 

He died stripped of his priesthood because of his devotion to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. 

Thanks to the writings of John Wycliffe, Huss went from a complacent comfort-seeker to a man clinging to truth, “desiring to hold, believe and assert whatever is contained in [the Bible] as long as I have breath in me.”

Apparently, despite this stunning testimony, many Czechs know next to nothing about Huss:

“Evangelicals comprise far less than 1 percent of the population, so Huss’ spiritual legacy is not very strong. As stated, most Czechs don’t really know his story or that he was an inspiration to Luther 100 years later,” he said.

And even if they do know his story, the “tragic paradox” is that they remember him not for his faith but for the deeds his faith energized, said Preston Pearce, a Southern Baptist representative who serves with his wife Karen in Prague. They think of him as “a revolutionary against established power,” he said.

A Hussite church still exists in Prague, but “unfortunately it is quite dead,” Karen Pearce said. “This is a sad legacy to the man.”

Read the whole thing.

Pieces like this remind us that it is worthy just to remember the names of past saints. Without Huss, there is no Luther; in human terms, without Luther, I am not sitting here as a thoroughgoing, gospel-loving Protestant, typing these words. It is especially right to remember those who sacrificed mightily as Huss did for the cause of Christ, and to pray both for more courageous leaders like him, and for the spread of the gospel in the Czech Republic.

Let’s unforget the forgotten. And let’s pray down God’s lavish grace for sinners like us.


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