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Taking a Stand (2 of 7)
Series: Life Choices
Thomas Cranmer was born the son of a village squire in Nottinghamshire, England on July 2, 1489. Little did his parents guess that by 1533, he would be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry VIII, and become the unchallenged leader of the English Reformation.
His Book of Common Prayer, published during the reign of Henry's son Edward VI, together with the King James Authorized Version of the Bible, were the twin texts upon which 300 years of the British Empire were built.
Cranmer was not alone in his pursuit. Two men, Nicholas Ridley, the Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer, the Bishop of Worcester, stood by his side.
Together they swept away the questionable practices and unfounded doctrines to try to unearth the pillars of the Reformation, which were Scriptural alone, grace alone, and faith alone.
Then another revolution took place.
Edward VI died, and the will of Henry VIII made the very non-Reformation-minded Mary next in line for the throne – a woman throughout history would be known as "Bloody Mary."
She came by her nickname the old fashioned way – she earned it.
Upon Edward's death, Mary claimed the crown.
Lady Jayne Grey, Queen for only nine days in a futile attempt to thwart Mary's reign, was beheaded in the Tower of London.
In March 1554, Mary rounded up the leaders of the English Reformation, including Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, and packed them off to Oxford. There she plotted they would be exposed as heretics.
One by one, the bishops argued their beliefs in the Divinity School. All three later were told in St. Mary Magdalene Church that it had been determined that they were in error.
Each was given the chance to recant, and each refused. And under Bloody Mary's leadership, the Parliament quickly passed an act revising the traditional punishment for heretics – burning at the stake.
As an Archbishop, Cranmer had ...
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