chapter  3
16 Pages

Popular Religion

John Foxe was one of the few protagonists who believed that the death penalty was inappropriate for heresy, and this gave white-hot quality to his indignation, which burns through a number of his accounts of individual executions. Foxe reported a debate which took place in the King's Bench Prison in 1555 between Hart and the orthodox predestinarian John Bradford when both were incarcerated for heresy. To John Foxe, the transforming effect of the gospel upon its female devotees was one of the hallmarks of the True Church. However, Foxe's position was to argue for the continuity of the True Church through the ages, and therefore it was of crucial importance, not only that Protestants should agree among themselves, but that their doctrine should be consistent with that of the early Church. Foxe was scandalized that a godly Church should have blood and ashes on its hands, and skated thinly over the episode of burning Joan Bocher.