When Reading Was a Crime

Strength for the Quest
ANNE ASKEW KNEW when they handed her the book she was committing a criminal act simply by holding it. 

I wonder if she hesitated before lifting the cover. I wonder if she began at the beginning, or turned to a particular page, and if so, which one? I wonder what emotions she felt as she read for the first time the words of God from an English Bible. 

I wonder if she knew at that moment that the simple act of reading a book would lead to her death? 

Events unfolded quickly— 

She was arrested for “gospelizing” — telling other people what she read. 

She was questioned several times by state and church authorities who challenged her to recant when her teaching did not conform to the traditional doctrines of the church. She answered their questions with quotes from the Bible.

She was taken to the Tower of London and tortured on the rack to force her to reveal the identities of the persons who gave her the Bible. She didn’t. Twice she fainted. Twice she was revived. (Anne is the only woman on record who was tortured in the Tower of London.) 

She was taken to her execution in a chair because she couldn’t walk, chained to a pole to hold her up. She was presented with a pardon. All she had to do was admit she’d committed heresy. She refused it. 

On July 16, 1545 Anne Akskew was burned at the stake. As one man described her death, “She went to heaven in a chariot of fire”

She was 25-years-old. 

So inspired were people by her courageous stand, ballads were sung of her. The Bleets company in London produced an Anne Askew doll complete with rack and stake.

So inspired was I by this young woman’s dedication to God and the Bible, I wrote two novels portraying the dangers faced by men and women like her to read and distribute the Bible in English — Glimpses of Truth and Beyond the Sacred Page

I dedicated Glimpses of Truth to Anne Askew. 

You can read more about these novels, click here

One last thing — I found an inspiring video on YouTube depicting Anne’s courageous stand and wanted to share it with you. To watch it, click here.

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


Glimpses of Truth ebook debuts!

Glimpses of Truth Ebook Cover

Dedicated to the men and women
who loved the Bible more than their lives.

An extraordinary intellect, the love of a beautiful woman, and a remarkable mission—life holds great promise for Thomas Torr. Chosen by John Wycliffe to assist in translating the Latin Vulgate into English, the young peasant senses God calling him to an incredible, but dangerous, destiny. Thus begins a thrilling adventure, leading from the catacombs of Rome to the hinterlands of Britain. Here are characters to fall in love with, exotic settings, drama, intrigue . . . and an ending that will stir anew your desire to fulfill God’s call on your life.

Buy Kindle ebookclick here

Buy Nook ebook – click here

CLICK HERE to read about Anne Askew, the martyr who inspired this book


Tebow and Tebowing

Washington Tebow

This post appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed page, Sunday Jan. 1, 2012. 

A man on his knees in prayer is a powerful image

SO WHEN FOUR STUDENTS at Riverhead High School in Long Island, N.Y. were suspended after Tebowing in the hallway — striking a pose for which Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is known — their suspension gained national attention.

What are we to make of Tim Tebow and the young men who are emulating him?

If you were a friend or parent of one of the four suspended students, what would you say to him?

Photos of Tim Tebow bowing in the end zone have sparked a nationwide debate. Let’s put it in perspective. Reporters, analysts, commentators, sports figures, educators, and apparently young men in high school, are not talking about last Sunday’s sermon. They’re talking about what Tebow did in the end zone. It’s the picture is worth a thousand words proverb come to life.

Personally, I don’t care much for end zone celebrations. I like what former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz used to tell his boys about end zone behavior — act like you’ve been there before.

But Tebow has chosen the end zone as a place to project an image of his faith and I respect his choice. It’s a powerful image.

Images shape our identity

When I was growing up, Norman Rockwell’s paintings graced the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. Month after month his paintings stamped on my mind images of everyday public displays of personal courage and acts of piety. Norman Rockwell’s America became my America.


At Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, there hangs an iconic image that is sacred to many Americans. The Prayer At Valley Forge by Arnold Frieberg is viewed by millions of Americans every year. It was recently appraised for $12 million.

In the painting, General Washington is down on one knee, similar to the pose Tebow assumes in the end zone. There is one striking difference between them. Washington is alone. Tebow is in a stadium surrounded by thousands of people. Which begs the question—

Should a person’s personal beliefs be kept private?

Washington didn’t think so. His presidential speeches make unapologetic references to our nation’s dependence on God for our existence. And when he took the oath of office, he struck a pose with his hand on the Bible, a pose emulated by most presidents after him.

What Washington did after he took the oath is not as well known.

He kissed the Bible.

Now there’s an image that would make the front pages today.

While I’m not suggesting that we equate the accomplishments of a rookie NFL quarterback with those of a founding father, Washington and Tebow have this in common — they are both men with deep personal convictions.

And I would add this: Tim Tebow’s actions off the field have demonstrated that his end zone behavior means more to him than six points in a game.

What would I say to the four suspended high school students?

I would impress upon them that assuming a public posture of prayer is a powerful statement of faith, and that what they do after they get up is equally important. People will be watching to see if the man matches the image.

According to the Old Testament, while living in exile Daniel was widely known as a man who bowed his knees in prayer three times a day. The biblical account also states, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” (Daniel 6:3, KJV)

What would I tell the suspended students and others who would follow their example? I’d tell them when it comes to bowing in prayer, “If you’re not doing it in private, don’t do it in public.”