Robert Barnes, Confessor and Martyr
July 30 is the day that LSB sets aside to remember Robert Barnes. But who is Robert Barnes? He was born in England in 1495, graduated from Cambridge and was named Prior of the Augustinian monastery at the college. By 1525 he had been converted to Lutheran teachings. He preached what is thought to be the first sermon of the English Reformation. He was imprisoned for heresy, but escaped to Antwerp, Belgium. Eventually, he and Martin Luther became friends. He wrote a Latin summary of the Augsburg Confession. When he returned to England, he shared his views with King Henry VIII. In 1529, Barnes was appointed royal chaplain. Though he at first received a positive reception, he eventually became caught up in the changing political and church climate of England. In 1540 he was one of six “heretics” executed. He was burned at the stake. Barnes is perhaps the first Lutheran martyr.
Luther published Barnes’ final confession of faith. He wrote, “our good, pious dinner guest and houseguest. Thanks, praise, and glory be to the Father of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, who again, as at the beginning, has granted us to see the time in which His Christians…are carried off to become martyrs (that is, carried off to heaven) and become saints.”