Guido de Brès (1522 – May 31, 1567) was a French-speaking Walloon minister of the gospel, who studied under both John Calvin and Theodore Beza. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was converted to Christ before the age of 20. He would spend most of the rest of his life on the run for his faith. Most famous for his authorship of the Belgic Confession (1561), one of the Three Forms of Unity of the Reformed Churches (he also wrote another confession as well). It is an eloquent and profoundly spiritual milestone in the history of Reformed confessions and creeds, and it is the only Reformation creed written by a martyr. He also wrote Le Baston del la Foy (The Staff of Faith, Able to Shut the Mouths of Faith’s Enemies) (1562) and La Racine, Source et Fondement des Anabaptistes (The Root, the Origins, and the Foundation of the Anabaptists or Rebaptizers of Our Time) (1565), responses to both Roman Catholic and Anabaptists, the two greatest threats to the Reformed Faith at that time. Arrested in 1565, he was tried by the Spanish Inquisition, and ultimately hanged at Valenciennes, France on the last day of May, 1567, 450 years ago today. Before he was executed, he wrote a letter to his wife expressing his faith in Christ and encouraging her in the same, a letter which stands in the annals of church history’s most inspirational writings.
For more on his life, writings and significance, please consult Trust God, Keep the Faith: The Story of Guido de Bres by Bartha Hill-de Bres; Three Men Came to Heidelberg and Glorious Heretic: The Story of Guido de Bres by Thea B. Van Halsema; The Belgic Confession: Its History and Sources by Nicolaas H. Gootjes; The Church Says Amen: An Exposition of the Belgic Confession by J. Van Bruggen; Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, Vol. 2 by James T. Dennison, Jr., ed.; For the Cause of the Son of God: The Missiological Implications of the Belgic Confession of Faith by Wes Bredenhof; With Heart and Mouth: An Exposition of the Belgic Confession by Daniel Hyde; and many other works could be named.
(The Countess de Reux Visiting De Bray and Le Grange in Prison,
Illustration from James Wylie's History of Protestantism)