The year is 1491, Henry VII has taken the throne of England from the various usurpers and ended the war of the roses. His union with Elizabeth of York has ended the quarrel between the ruling and waring families the Plantagenets and Lancasters. Though his court is full of subjects whose loyalty, at one time, was to both families, it appears that England has finally found peace. Henry the Seventh’s firstborn son Arthur is in line to be king and Elizabeth of York is busy giving birth to Henry VIII. There are many opinions about his behavior and his reign, with some claiming he’s a tyrant and others giving him the title of religious liberator. However, his hand in the progress of religious freedom among Christians is undeniable.
Henry was a very passionate man, after all, he did have six wives which would all individually lead him to religiously liberating the English people. Due to his older brother dying, he took the throne upon his father’s death at the age of 17. At this point, he soon declared that he would wed his brother’s bride, though the marriage had never been consummated. Catherine of Aragon, a staunch Catholic as a princess of Spain, married Henry VIII in 1509. Their marriage was questioned by many at the court and required a dispensation from the Catholic Church because of the scriptures. Leviticus 20:21 states, “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.” Catherine and Henry were not, however, childless. Their union produced Mary Tudor, who would eventually grow up to be Bloody Mary on her quest to bring England back into the clutches of the Catholic church.
Heeding The Bible
As Henry grew older, the words of Leviticus rattled around his head as the couple continued to produce no living sons. It was this vulnerability that allowed Anne Boleyn to turn his head away from his wife. Many people like to throw names at Anne Boleyn, but as more historical facts and accounts surface, it becomes less likely that her seduction of the King of England was completely her idea. She was backed by the Boleyn and Howard families, who were both in powerful positions in the British government. Her motivations remain unclear since this portion of history is so long buried, but her responsibility in showing Henry the way to enlightenment is irrefutable.
Forging a New Christian Church
In an effort to put herself on the throne beside Henry, she began to show him controversial texts like the articles from Martin Luther and other protestant ideas. These texts supported the idea that Catherine’s marriage to Henry was never truly legitimate. His doubt in his marriage was heightened by the bastard Henry Fitzroy being born from one of his mistresses. Once it was established that Henry could have boys, it became clear that Catherine was the problem and that God had smote him for marrying his brother’s wife. Their divorce was shocking to no one, not even Catherine, who he had exiled in a drafty under managed castle in the North. Over the course of a couple years, Anne Boleyn made progress and was eventually married to Henry, and then crowned in the church Henry had newly created. With Thomas Cromwell and the Duke of Norfolk, they created the church of England which would lead the world to impressive new fronts for the freedom of religion.
Catch the continuation of Christian religious liberation next time on our blog! God bless and feel free to contact The Church of the Crucified with questions or concerns. We’d be ecstatic to see you at our Moretown congregation to discuss God’s glory.