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Thomas Cranmer and Christ Alone

In our summer sermon series we are going to look at 5 truths that matter. When people take their eyes off God’s word and begin to establish ‘manmade religion’ the truths of God’s word are quickly lost.  Today we are looking at the truth, “Christ alone”.  As we do this we are also going to have the opportunity to find out about some of the people in our past who were prepared to risk everything to make sure God’s word was taught clearly. This week we will be looking at Thomas Cramner .

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) Thomas Cranmer was the most significant figure in the Protestant Reformation in England. He was Archbishop of Canterbury (i.e. leader) of the Church of England when the church broke away from Rome. Born in Nottinghamshire in 1489, Cranmer became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533 under Henry VIII.

In 1548, with the support of Henry’s son Edward VI, Cranmer replaced parts of the Latin Mass with English (prayer and confession). He put an English Bible in every parish church, and started reworking the Mass itself.

The following year Cranmer published a new English prayer book (which he improved in 1552), rejecting the central Catholic teaching of transubstantiation (i.e. that the bread and wine actually became the body and blood of Christ). Cranmer taught that Jesus Christ alone is the perfect sacrifice for our sins and therefore there is no need for a continued priestly sacrifice. Under Cranmer, Holy Communion stopped being a sacrifice and became a remembrance meal.

When Edward died and Catholic ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary took the throne, she executed almost 290 protestant dissenters, including Archbishop Cranmer.

In jail awaiting execution, Cranmer cracked and recanted of his Protestantism. However, in the moments before his execution, he switched again, recanting his previous recantation and reaffirming his rejection of Catholicism. As he was being burnt Cranmer forced his right arm—the arm that had scribed the original recantation—into the flames in a visual display of allegiance to the Bible’s teaching of Christ’s sacrifice once for all.

(Taken from Ideas that changed the world, Matthias Media)