Friday, March 18, 2011

FW: From a dear friend, Pr. Gernander

Alexander (Alane) Alesius…


Feed: Weedon's Blog
Posted on: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:49 PM

Subject: From a dear friend, Pr. Gernander


An interesting comment he left on Dr. Veith's blog that pertains to this day:

My comment is not about a present-day missionary but in recognition of someone who shares St. Patrick's Day. On this date in 1565, Alexander Alesius died — a great Scottish Lutheran confessor of the faith. Originally he was born Alexander Alane, and as a student at St. Andrew's, he argued against those who were expounded the Reformation doctrines. But on February 29, 1528, he witnessed the heroic martyrdom of 24-year-old Patrick Hamilton, a member of Scottish royalty who had studied under Luther and Melanchthon. Alane himself had tried to persuade Hamilton of the truth of the papal doctrines and the error of the Reformation doctrines.

While burning at the stake, Hamilton said such things as "You come forward and testify the truth of your religion by putting your little finger into this fire in which I am burning with my whole body," and when asked if he still held to his beliefs Hamilton raised three fingers of a half-burned hand, and held them up until he died.

Alexander Alane was so overcome by this witness, and by their prior conversations, that he was won over to the Reformation. He himself was imprisoned, then escaped to Germany in 1532 where he signed his name to the Augsburg Confession. Melanchthon gave him a new Latin surname, by which he became known forever afterward. He was excommunicated in 1534, but following Henry VIII's break with Rome, between 1535 and 1539 he was active in London. He considered Anne Boleyn innocent of the crimes with which she was charged, and in later years communicated with Anne's daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, about her mother's final days. He carried on a disputation with the Roman Catholic bishop of London on the nature of the sacraments. Following the fall of Thomas Cranmer he was compelled to return to Germany, where he served first in a theological chair at the University of Frankfurt, and in his final years as twice-elected rector of the University of Leipzig.

I love the commemmoration of St. Patrick as much as anybody, but blessed be the memory and example of Alexander (Alane) Alesius, a great Lutheran confessor and the fruit of Patrick Hamilton's martyrdom!

Pastor Jerry Gernander (ELS)
Princeton, Minnesota

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