Jim and Laurie Barnes, our hosts in Prague
As we prepare to depart Prague for Berlin we want to express our appreciation to our hosts Jim and Laurie Barnes who have spent the last 15 years in this city with the Prague Christian Library. Kathy and I took them out to dinner to thank them for reserving their guest apartment for us during our stay in Prague. They told us their "story"--how the Lord brought them together and how He showed them where He wanted them to serve Him. It was an interesting one and helped us to understand more about the old saying "First you commit yourself to Him and THEN He will direct your paths." Pray for the Barneses and their 17 year old daughter Elizabeth as they continue their work among the citizens of the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia).
I mentioned in my last entry (see below) about Jan Huss, the Czech reformer of the 15th century who took up the cause of leading a reform movement within the Catholic Church of his day. This movement to cleanse the church of corruption and return it to its original dependence upon Scripture and Scripture alone as its only source of authority was met with stiff resistance from the entrenched forces within the established church. He was branded a heretic by the Catholic Church for his efforts and eventually burned at the stake. But the movement did not die. It continued to resurface not only among the Czechs but eventually spread to Germany and Switzerland and other countries. He served as an inspiration to Martin Luther who, 100 years later, took up his cause in Germany and eventually turned it into what we know today as the Protestant Reformation. Jan Huss was seen as a great hero among many Czechs, and monuments and churches still today reflect their love for their bold and courageous countryman. We saw some of the churches where the "Hussites" preached in an attempt to return their people to biblical Christianity. This was an important movement for us who consider ourselves part of a similar but later movement to restore biblical Christianity to a confused Protestantism that found itself enmeshed in traditionalism instead of relying upon the clear Word of God.
While it is thrilling to visit these great and glorious cathedrals and stand in awe of the architecture and the commitment of the people that once made them possible, we also have a great sadness that today most of them have become museums. We are saddened that in Eastern Europe (and much of Western Europe also) you have to buy a ticket just to see these "museums" and that the biggest thing that goes on in them today is the musical concerts they host on a regular basis. So they have become museums and concert halls--not what their planners and builders ever intended. But this is a reflection of the times we live in. Europe is one vast mission field. Most of these people care nothing about the church--not that they oppose it. God just doesn't matter to them at all! It will take another "reformation" to change that attitude. Pray for it!