Morgendämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer theologirt.
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit id es semper esse puerum.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Semper idem sed non eodem modo.

VDMA

Verbum domini manet in aeternum. The word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6,8. Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.


Fayth onely justifieth before God. Robert Barnes, DD The Supplication, fourth essay. London: Daye, 1572.

Lord if Thou straightly mark our iniquity, who is able to abide Thy judgement? Wherefore I trust in no work that I ever did, but only in the death of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt, but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Robert Barnes, DD, before he was burnt alive for "heresy", 30 July 1540.

What is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone. Martin Luther, Dr. theol. (1522)

For the basics of our faith right here online, or for offline short daily prayer or devotion or study, scroll down to "A Beggar's Daily Portion" on the sidebar.

27 November 2008

Advent 2008

Here's the 2008 version of my Advent post.

Scripture records the birth of Jesus, but it records no direction to celebrate either it or a preparation for it. But it records no prohibition of doing so either. The Christian Church has evolved various pratices to commemorate one of its most outrageous claims, that God became Man in Jesus, the Incarnation, and, considering the magnitude of what is celebrated, a season of preparation for it. These celebrations have taken on various forms in various places, and even various forms over time in the same place. But they all have the same idea, for Christ's church to celebrate to-gether and proclaim one of the world and life changing events of Christ. Which is the idea of all of the church's liturgy.

Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means a coming, and translates the Greek word parousia, which designates not the coming of Jesus at his birth but his coming again to judge the world on the Last Day. Advent is in fact a preparation for three comings, or turnings toward, and thr three will culminate in the liturgy for Christmas, Christ's Mass, in three distinct liturgies. No other season or celebration in the church year is like this.

Here are the three. Our Advent preparation for the historical coming or birth of Jesus culminates in the celebration of that event in the mass in the night, Midnight Mass. Our Advent preparation for the coming or birth of Jesus in the heart of believers, in us, culminates in the mass at dawn as evidenced in the first believers, the shepherds who went to the manger. Our Advent preparation for his second historical coming, in judgement and in glory, which has been the subject of the final Sundays of the church year before Advent, culminates in the mass during the day, which celebrates the eternal generation of the Son in the Trinity in the being of God in which redeemed Man will fully participate after the end of time.

Advent then precedes Christmas as Lent precedes Easter, a time of repentance and preparation. For both seasons, church vestments etc are purple, the colour associated both with penance, our part, and royalty, his part as King of kings. However, the purple the darker royal purple rather than the Roman purple of Lent, the colours like the seasons they reflect being both similar yet distinct in kind of event to which they lead.

The rite of Salisbury, called Sarum in Latin, England, has a hybrid liturgy of English and French influences following the Norman Conquest in 1066 (King William of Normandy appointing its bishop, St Osmund, how's that for "apostolic succession"!). The Scripture readings and other prayers proper to the day are different than the Roman rite, as is the colour of vestments, not purple but blue. This use of blue as the colour for Advent has had a more general usage in the West in recent years, though with the Roman propers. Well, the new Roman ones from its new three year cycle from the 1960s, which will not be considered here -- one can look them up and put on a little Simon and Garfunkle or other holdovers of the time if one is so inclined.

What the heck -- in the Eastern churches the liturgical colour is generally red!

This is not the first time the Sarum rite has influenced Western usage, generally through its appropriation into the Church of England. The traditional Lutheran practice of counting Sundays in the rest of the church year from Trinity Sunday rather than Pentecost is a Sarum influence too.

In fact, Advent in the West used to be even more like Lent. From the fourth or fifth century or so Advent was, and still is in the Eastern church under the name Nativity Fast, a 40 day time of fasting and penance much like Lent. In the Western church it started on 11 November, the feast of St Martin of Tours, Martin Luther's namesake, with the day being something like Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, in Lent. This "quadragesima sancti Martini", the forty days of St Martin, died out by the late Middle Ages, and Advent as it is generally known in the West took shape and is what we use to-day.

Each Sunday emphasises a different aspect of the preparation and the comings noted above. Following are the Scripture passages used for the Introits and Scripture readings. Roman usage (which they ditched at Vatican II) has the same Introits but varies as noted from ours in the Epistles and Gospels for the Western Advent.

I had never understood this variation and mentioned that once in the combox on One Lutheran ... Ablog! (see Blogroll on the sidebar). Pastor Benjamin Mayes responded citing Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, p.438, which states our usage follows the Comes attributed to St Jerome and its final version, The Lectionary of Charlemagne, which Rome later modified to accomodate its new feasts.

What's a comes (pronounced KO-mays)? It's a Latin word meaning companion, here, a companion book of readings for mass to the rite's service book itself. Now we more commonly call such a book a Lectionary, from the Latin for "readings". The list of the readings is still often called by its Greek name, pericope, meaning section, here, the sections of Scripture appointed to be read.

Psalm numbers as given below are the old Roman usage which followed the Septuagint, in which in terms of the Hebrew Bible Psalm numbering we generally use now counts Psalms 9 and 10 as one psalm, likewise 114 and 115, and divides both 116 and 147 in two, so between 10 to 148 the numbering is different by one.

The First Sunday of Advent. (Ad te levavi)

Introit Psalms 24:1-3 psalm verse 24:4, Epistle Romans 13:11-15, Gospel Matthew 21:1-9.

Roman usage Gospel Luke 21:25-33 our second Sunday Gospel.

The Second Sunday of Advent. (Populus Sion)

Introit Isaiah 30:30 psalm verse 79:2, Epistle Romans 15:4-13, Gospel Luke 21:25-36.

Roman usage Gospel Matthew 11:2-10, our third Sunday Gospel.

The Third Sunday of Advent. (Gaudete)

Introit Philippians 4:4-6 psalm verse 84:2, Epistle First Corinthians 4:1-5, Gospel Matthew 11:2-10.

Roman usage Epistle Philippians 4:4-7 Gospel John 1:19-28, our fourth Sunday readings.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent. (Rorate coeli)

Introit Isaiah 45:8 psalm verse 18:2, Epistle Philippians 4:4-7, Gospel John 1:19-28.

Roman usage Epistle First Corinthians 4:1-5 Gospel Luke 3:1-6, our third Sunday Epistle, the Luke passage not used by us.

Some final notes. In some places, the traditional main dish for Christmas is goose. In fact, one of my favourite phrases in English, not suitable for reproduction here, derives from this custom, let the reader understand. The Christmas goose may derive from Advent when it was St Martin's Fast. Martin didn't really want to be a bishop, and is said to have hid himself in a flock of geese from those seeking him to persuade him to accept the post, whose noise nonetheless gave his location away. So goose became the main food for St Martin's Day kicking off Advent.

In Latin and Hebrew, the title of a text is usually the first word or two of the text rather than something separate. Accordingly, some of the Sundays of the church year are called from the first word of the first proper text to them, the Introit. This practice has fallen into disuse with many churches following Rome's 1960s revisionism of the lectionary. Or one can as my former synod did abolish Introits altogether!

The third Sunday in Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, from the opening of the Introit from Philippians Rejoice (gaudete, in Latin) in the Lord always and the coming joy of Christmas breaks into the time of preparation. Accordingly, purple is set aside this Sunday, and rose coloured vestments are used and the rose candle in the Advent wreath lit. Rose vestments are used only one other time in the church year, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare from its Introit Rejoice (laetare, in Latin) Jerusalem, from Isaiah 66:10, in which the coming Easter joy similarly breaks into the season of preparation. Roman usage repeats, well, used to repeat, the Gaudete passage as Epistle, whereas our usage will extend this on through Advent using the passage as the Epistle for the next, and last, Sunday of Advent.

Christmas is a warm time filled with comfort, family, presents, good food, along with our religious sentiments, for many of us. Christmas as in the event we celebrate was nothing like that. It was rough. Joseph wasn't the glowing saint of paintings and icons, he was a working guy with a pregnant wife about to give birth -- I've been there twice and that ain't easy under any circumstances, and my observation would be it ain't easy being the about to deliver wife either -- in town to follow the law and get counted in the census with all the hotels full and no place to put his family up but a stable for animals, and after the baby was born they had to put him in a feeding trough for animals. That's what "away in a manger" was. A manger is a feeding trough for animals, the word coming into English from the French to eat, in turn from the Latin to chew (mandere). Fact is, our word "munch" has the same root.

So the King of kings is put in a feeding trough for animals in a cold stable. You don't make up this kind of stuff. Humans who are gods in myth are emporers and such, not working class kids born in a barn. Top it all off, this child "away in a feeding trough" will one day give himself to be the food of eternal life, giving his body and blood for us to eat and drink at mass as the pledge and promise of our salvation through the merits of his death and resurrection. Guess it kind of fits then.

For those of you whose Christmas isn't going to be all warm and cozy and filled with cheer, guess what, you're right in there with those at the first Christmas. That was a little rough too. Born in a stable, a feeding trough for a crib, and pretty soon his family having to high tail it out of town into political exile too. So you're not excluded at all, and you can take it right to him, because he knows all about when Christmas isn't so merry. And he also knows all about how merry doesn't really get determined by what happens in this life, on Christmas or any other day!

To Thee have I lifted up my soul, in Thee, O my God, I put my trust. Let me not be ashamed, neither let my enemies laugh at me, for none of those that wait on Thee shall be confounded.

Psalm 24 (or 25, remember?):1-3 as used in the Introit for the First Sunday in Advent.

26 November 2008

26 November 1997/2008, Thanksgiving Eve

I remember things better by the day than the date.

For example, my wife Nancy died the night before Thanksgiving, 2140 hours, 1997, rather than 26 November 1997. Dates fall on different days in different years, and the night before always seems more like the anniversary of it rather than 26 November. This year, as in 1997, 26 November is again the Eve of Thanksgiving.

In addition to the obvious, what amazes me about it, then, now, and all points in between, is that it has not produced a crisis of faith, let alone a loss of faith. Now, if you haven't gleaned it from some of my posts, crises of faith and loss of faith were pretty much constant for me from Vatican II in the 1960s to professing the faith of the evangelical Lutheran church in 1996.

Vatican II tore up and stomped on pretty much everything that was the basis of my life. However, the death of your wife and mother of your children, toss in that their ages were fifteen months and three months, is a tearing up and stomping on at a whole different level and place.

I've been me for a while now, and "me" no doubt about it would take that as the final insult after all the rest from a god who probably doesn't exist anyway so forget the whole thing, it's a cruel joke that ain't funny.

But it didn't happen. Not Thanksgiving Eve when she died, not the next day when I spent Thanksgiving afternoon at the funeral home picking out caskets and stuff like that before arriving late for some turkey at the family dinner like everyone else. Not in the first few weeks of not having a clue how this single working dad with two babies will work beyond just getting through each day. Not later as routines emerged that worked but obviously aren't the ones we hoped and planned for.

That's not me. No way I can be like that, guaranteed, take that to the bank, I cannot do that. But it happened. Since other spiritual forces and powers do not bolster faith in Jesus Christ, I think we're going to chalk this up to the Holy Spirit. When they say faith is entirely the gift and work of the Holy Spirit, believe it, they ain't kidding.

Her funeral was the following Saturday. It was right by the service book at the time, all about faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation from sins unto eternal life. You couldn't have been there without getting the message that the only dead people present aren't in caskets but dead in sin unjustified by faith in Jesus Christ through whose merits alone they are counted saved unto eternal life, a promise He extends to all including right here and now.

The sermon concluded as follows, which I hear eleven years later as clearly as the moment the pastor said it:

A few days ago, most of us celebrated a thanksgiving that lasted one day, but Nancy began one that lasts an eternity.

Amen.

So, proceed to the post below about Thanksgiving in itself, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

16 November 2008

Thanksgiving, Sukkot, Football, Shopping 2008.

As a counterpart to my post on what became of Sukkot as the Christian liturgical calendar emerged out of the Jewish one, here's a little something on the secular Sukkot here in the US called Thanksgiving.

Turns out, there were two "first" Thanksgivings before the "first" Thanksgiving in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts. On 4 December 1619 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, roughly 20 miles up the James River from Jamestown, the first permanent settlement, begun 14 May 1607. The ship's captain, John Woodleaf, led a service of thanksgiving and the settlement charter directed the date to be observed thereafter, thereafter lasting until 1622 when the native population, not so grateful for their arrival, forced their retreat to Jamestown. Spanish settlers celebrated thanksgiving for their safe arrival 8 September 1565 at what is now St Augustine, Florida, which is the first recorded thanksgiving in America, but, as this was Spaniards in a Spanish colony, La Florida, which didn't pass to English control until 1763 or become a state until 1845, doesn't get much airplay.

Thanksgivings were held at various times in the colonies, after the harvest, as days of prayer, not eating! The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national thanksgiving, which was Thursday 18 December 1777. The first national day of Thanksgiving in the United States as such was proclaimed by President Washington for Thursday 26 November 1789.

Presidents and governors proclaimed thanksgivings off and on, then starting with President Lincoln's designation in 1863 of the last Thursday of November as a day of national thanksgiving, all presidents since had year by year designated the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Until FDR. In 1939 the last Thursday in November would be the 30th, and President Roosevelt was persuaded by business leaders that a longer Christmas shopping season -- once upon a time it was considered inappropriate to start the Christmas season before Thanksgiving -- would help the economy out of the Depression with more sales and declared Thanksgiving the next to last Thursday in November that year. The new Thanksgiving was widely derided as "Franksgiving" -- Roosevelt's first name being Franklin -- and had no force of law, some states observing the new "Democrat" Thanksgiving and some the old "Republican" Thanksgiving. A Commerce Department report in 1941 found no significant difference in sales from the change, and Congress passed a law designating the fourth Thursday in November, which some years is the last and some the next to last Thursday, as Thanksgiving Day every year, so 1942 was the first Thanksgiving under the current law -- by which time a new world war had maybe redirected things away from retail sales to graver matters.

Funny, Washington didn't have a thing to say about sales, Christmas, Christmas sales, food or football regarding Thanksgiving when "Washington" referred to a man and not a city. Neither did President Lincoln, whose example had been followed since. Here is the original proclamation of the original national Thanksgiving Day by President George Washington. Amazing stuff. Beautiful stuff. Our stuff. May we find something of it in our national celebration in 2008.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

11 November 2008

What's an Armistice? 90 Years On, Veterans Day 2008.

Here is what the world, I hope, knows. 11 November was originally Armistice Day, from the armistice that ended hostilities in the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, GMT (or UTC), in 1918. Later, with another and even worse World War having been fought despite a War to End All Wars, Congress in 1954 changed the observance to include all veterans, hence Veterans Day.

What's an armistice? The English word is transliterated from the Latin armistitium, which literally means a stopping of arms. It's a truce, a cessation of hostilities. Now, if you're one of those getting shot at, that's a good thing -- but, it's not a comprehensive social and political solution to what led to the hostilities, and not even necessarily permanent, let alone that universal aspiration of beauty pageant contestants, world peace. Which means, hostilities may well resume at some point. And always have.

Here is what the world probably does not know or care about. 11 November is the feast day of St Martin of Tours, who is the patron saint of, guess what, soldiers! Hmm. Martin was born a pagan around 316 and was career military in the Roman army. One day he passed a man freezing on the road, tore his military issue cloak in half and gave it to him. That night, he had a dream seeing Jesus wearing the half a cloak. Shook up, he went to the bishop (now called St Hilary) for direction. He was taught the faith and baptised, obtained a discharge from the army and set about combating the Arian heresy which about did the church in at the time, thinking he was God's soldier now. He was forced into exile by persecution, lived as a hermit, and later was finally persuaded to become the new bishop of Tours when the old one died, and from there soldiered on to preach the true Gospel in Gaul.

11 November, feast of the patron of soldiers for centuries, date of Armistice Day, now Veterans Day? Coincidence, or one of those little things that pokes through from what is beyond the surface? The armistice of 11 November 1918 turned out to be just that, a cessation of hostilities. What was fought as The War to End All Wars would become World War One as hostilities resumed in an even worse World War Two. Along with the millions of lives lost, and millions more of lives forever changed, something changed in what might be called the spirit of Man too. The great sense in the age leading into these cataclysms that Man was on an upward spiral of progress toward an enlightened future lay rotting like the wreck of that great expression of the age the RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic.

The Titans had lost, but unlike the mythological battle, who were the victorious Olympians, or if there even were such, was not clear. The old world order, and its certainties both temporal and eternal, were gone. Man began to speak of life as absurd, and the search for "meaning" was on amid an apparently essentially meaningless existence. One could simply accept that life is absurd and meaningless; one could understand that meaning is something Man, or each man, creates for himself; one could deny the whole thing and remain irrelevant and inauthentic in either a religious faith or, equally, in holding on to the secular faith in the progress and perfectibility of Man. The resolution? Well, 90 years later in 2008 hostilities continue amid the arrangements worked out nearly a century ago following the War to End All Wars in Southeast Europe, the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent.

So the Twelve Titans. So the Twelve Olympians, who this time apparently aren't going to show up. If Genesis isn't witness to Man as fallen, the world history of Man surely is. A history filled with the universal intuition that Man is less than he is meant to be or can be, filled with however many religious, philosophical, social and political programmes to accomplish his fulfillment -- and filled with the dashing of all of them.

There's twelve something else who had something to say about that. The Twelve Apostles. Not "the church", the twelve Apostles. They got told to go into the world with the message that Man just isn't going to get himself out of his self-constructed mess, that God has seen that and became Man in Jesus to die to pay for all that and rise again, so that Man can by the gift and power of God repent of his own self-destructive efforts and start over, be reborn in faith in the One God has sent that because of Him one can be washed clean by being covered in his sacrificial blood and even amid the brokenness of this world live in partial experience of that which is beyond it, dying with him to rise with him. That message continues to-day where God calls and feeds Man in his Word properly preached and his Sacraments properly administered.

Interesting that in that context, 11 November, St Martin's Day, in 1483 was the day that Mr and Mrs Luther brought their day old baby boy to be baptised, and following the traditional custom he was given the name of the saint of the day -- Martin Luther, who too would devote his life to preaching the true Gospel against heresy.

So as we rightly remember and celebrate in gratitude those who have served to preserve and defend our temporal freedom, let us also remember that armistice is the best we can do, the hostilities cease for a while only to resume, and let us remember and celebrate in gratitude Him who gained our true spiritual freedom for now and all eternity, who gives peace not as the world gives peace, but for real and for ever.

Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis.Peace I leave thee, my peace I give thee.(John 14:27, used in the liturgy after the Agnus Dei before Communion)

Here is the Collect from the mass propers for the feast of St Martin of Tours:

Lord God of hosts, who clothed Your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in Your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

08 November 2008

New Link -- To the Book That Changed My Life

I have no idea why I didn't include this link from the start of this blog!

On 14 December 1978 I bought a copy of a red paperback called "Three Treatises". (I don't have that great of a memory, I just date my books.) These are the three treatises written by Martin Luther in 1520: Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (August); Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (October); On the Freedom of a Christian (November). I was working on my doctoral dissertation at the time, which was not about Luther at all, but as it contained some passing unflattering references to him, I suppose I thought it would look good if I had some Luther on my bookshelf.

At the time, I had rejected Roman Catholicism as having killed itself at Vatican II, and, there being as I saw it at the time no other Christian church with any basis whatever to hold itself out as wherein the fullness of the church of Christ subsists, Christianity itself in any form showed itself to be a false religion, however, this did not invalidate the "Old Testament", therefore I had taken my place as a believer in, but not a convert to, Orthodox Judaism.

I never read it, and didn't for damn near twenty years until, in 1996, long out of academia, married to a woman raised LCMS but who bailed after Seminex wondering what if anything they still believed in, and in adult instruction class in a WELS parish, hauled it out to see what it said.

What it said changed my life. Starting with "German Nobility", and being a veteran -- casualty -- of a university sponsored by an abbey of German heritage, it was like this guy saw what I had seen, Babylonian Captivity followed. Therein from page to page as he discussed the sacraments, there culminated in his soaring discussion of the Eucharist -- who would not shed tears of gladness, indeed almost faint for joy in Christ etc -- an explosion of light shattering years of darkness! Here in joyous sun-clarity was no new doctrine or church but what the captive church I had known had hemmed and hawed, stammered and stuttered, farted and belched, and at Vatican II, vomited, to say! Christ, his Gospel, his Church, hadn't gone away, it was right here, and I'm in!

The pastor sensed something was up, and gave me a copy of the Tappert Book of Concord (it being the pre-McCain BOC era of church history) to read, which I did on my nighttime shift with my then infant older son in between feedings, and it fleshed the whole thing out. I professed the faith of Christ taught in Scripture and accurately stated in the Book of Concord, especially the Little Catechism, on 15 December 1996. (I don't have that great of a memory, they give you a piece of paper about it.)

Now, Babylonian Captivity is not a confessional document and reading it was not an isolated event but part of a process. But reading it was the point at which the lights went on, and it changed my life. Maybe it would be better to say it was the point at which I knew my life had changed. Even now, I cannot recall coming to that passage about the Eucharist without tears in my eyes.

So I'm putting a link to the text on my blog in a sidebar element titled "A 'Prelude' To My Faith", a nod to both the title of the original and its role in my life. It's a revision of the same translation I read in "Three Treatises". And you know what, that little paperback is still in print, red cover and all!
http://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/item.jsp?isbn=0800616391&clsid=128043&productgroupid=0

01 November 2008

Barnes, and a noble life. All Saints Day 2008.

As we have celebrated the reform of the Church and it's now 1 November, the feast of all the saints collectively, and, being of English descent and Lutheran faith, I'd like to recommend to your attention what is becoming one of my favourite saints who from their labours rest, Robert Barnes, Lutheran, Englishman, and martyr.

I'll hold off writing about him myself, maybe until 30 July, the day in 1540 when he was burned at the stake by Henry VIII for, essentially, being Lutheran. Until then, here are some places to read a little about him. One is from the great Aardvark, another from Pastor Klages when he hosted Lutheran Carnival, and the last from the classic 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the article about him in Wikipedia!

http://aardvarkalley.blogspot.com/2007/07/robert-barnes-confessor-and-martyr.html

http://qaz1.bannerland.org/wordpress/?p=86

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Robert_Barnes

He spent time in exile in Germany and was a personal friend and guest of Luther. The year he was martyred, Luther published Barnes' confessional work Sententiae, with a preface written for it, as Bekenntnis des Glaubens.