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Belief and Sacrifice

The new Nike advertisement has certainly created a buzz.

Former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the new face of Nike and social justice “hero”, is at the center of the controversy.

If you remember, Kaepernick brought upon the NFL a firestorm of attention when he defiantly “took a knee” during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and inequality.

In Nike’s new ad, Kaepernick looks expressively bold as the caption reads “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”.

But what exactly did he lose? A mediocre football career?

What Kaepernick lost, he has gained it back ten-fold in public notoriety and the media sensation that surrounds him is paying him dividends.

My point: He didn’t lose anything.

Sitting on my desk is a book called Foxe’s Christian Martyrs. I pick it up from time to time to be reminded of what real sacrifice looks like.

Recently, I was prompted to read the story of John Rogers—a man who believed in something and it really did cost him everything.

The year was 1553, Mary, daughter of Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England. Mary, unlike her father, was a fervent Roman Catholic and made it a goal to bring Roman Catholicism back to superiority in England.

In previous years, the Protestant doctrines that denounced the Roman papacy and dogmas had taken root within England and have now swelled to be the dominant expression of faith.

Mary hated it all and would quench this Protestantism at all costs.

John Rogers, theologian and pastor, was inflamed with the spirit of Reformation. In his pulpit, he would preach and teach from the Scriptures alone and courageously condemned the “pestilent popery, idolatry and superstition” that was indicative of Roman Catholicism.

Needless to say, Queen Mary was not very fond of Pastor Rogers’ sermons.

In a sweeping move by the Monarchy, Queen Mary instituted the Heresy Acts which severely punished any dissenter who dared to challenge Rome.

John Rogers along with many others remained undeterred to contend openly and publicly for the gospel of Jesus Christ until he was placed under house arrest and then later thrown in Newgate prison waiting for the day of his execution.

On the day he was to be burned at the stake, he was offered one last chance to recant of his theological convictions and bow the knee to Roman Catholicism.

John Rogers replied, “That which I have preached I will seal with my own blood.”

Immediately after, John Rogers was bound and paraded through the street as a condemned heretic.

As Rogers passed by the crowd, many of whom Rogers had given his life to minister to, it was said that he quoted verse after verse of the promise of eternal life and the glories that await those who die in the name of Lord.

His wife and children were also in attendance, urging their father and husband to remain steadfast to the end.

On February 4, 1555, John Rogers was burned at the stake.

He would be the first of over 280 people publicly executed for their convictions under the reign of “bloody” Queen Mary.

Those who witnessed John Rogers’ execution, most notably the French ambassador Antoine De Noailles reported that Rogers approached his death as a man approaches his wedding day—with joy.

John Rogers believed in the gospel and he sacrificed his very own life for that belief.

That is heroism and sacrifice.

Taking a knee on a well-maintained lawn while receiving a multimillion-dollar salary and shoe deal is not.

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