Lady Godiva

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The picture on the cover of The Free Church Report is a sketch by George Edmund Blair Leighton. It is a picture of the famous Lady Godiva who reportedly rode through town naked to spare the poor a tax.

The picture on the cover of The Free Church Report Godgifu means a “gift of God”. The Countess Godgifu, or Lady Godiva as we know of her today, was historically famous for a number of reasons. She is mentioned in the Stow charter, Spalding charter and the Domesday Book survey of 1085, ordered by William the Conqueror.[1]

She was one of the few Anglo-Saxons to retain land after the Norman conquest, and the only woman mentioned as a landholder. She was known as a kind and beautiful woman. As a widow, and wealthy in her own right, she became the wife of a second husband, Leofric III who was Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry.

Lady Godiva who stripped her wealth not her body to provide for the needy of society.

Leofric, Godiva’s Norman husband, was a man of authority and power. He “was regarded by contemporaries as an upright man…[and] maintained himself in power for more than twenty years without violence and aggression.”[2] “He was very wise in all matters, both religious and secular, that benefited all this nation.”[3]

Leofric had been pressed by the king to burden the people with taxation to improve the lot of the whole community. His wife, the “pious Countess Godiva”[4] continually appealed to her husband to grant a relief and free the people from these rigorous and regulatory burdens. But she did not just talk about the needs of the people, she acted upon those needs.

Leofric III who was the husband of the famous Lady Godiva and eventually matched his wife's with his own avoiding burdening the people with taxation to provide welfare for society.

She was also famous for her building projects and is still considered the patron saint of engineers. What she often built were Churches, Monasteries, and Abbeys.[5] These buildings and institutions were not just centers of religious rituals and spiritual preaching. The Church was still the center of all social welfare. Its charitable administration to those in need, its educational centers, and its records, had maintained a free society for a thousand years. The daily ministration of widows, orphans, and the needy was conducted through a system of free will offerings and the service of that Church in remembrance in charity of our religious duty to God and our fellowman.

There was a new age of change in State and Church. New taxes, new courts, and new ideas concerning the gospel. Rulers became the fountainhead of justice, replacing the more popular people’s courts. Contributions were forced from the people by these new authoritarian benefactors who considered themselves rulers over men and makers of law. These new rulers were crowned by a church that believed that these rulers were to be benefactors that should exercise authority over others through the imperium of a centralized state. They even forced contributions as a tax, to be collected and given to that church.

We are led to believe that Godiva’s husband grew weary of her entreaties for kind benevolence and caustically proclaimed that he would grant her request on one condition. His modest and saintly wife must ride naked through the streets of Coventry. The people of Coventry agreed to turn away from looking at her nakedness as she rode by out of respect for her years of generosity and charity.

Legend has it that one man named Tom was overcome by the temptation and bored a peephole in his shutters that he might gaze upon the naked Godiva. For his disregard he was forever struck blind. Her husband kept his word and abolished the onerous tax. This story of a naked rider on horseback, clothed only in her long blond hair, was published more than a century after her death. Did the saintly Lady Godiva actually ride through the streets naked? Was this a colorful legend or is the truth hidden behind the esoteric fable of an idle monk?

The Church was appointed by Christ. Those who followed His way had been around serving the people for a thousand years. But it was not alone. From the beginning there had been some who did not understand the ways of John and Christ and yet claimed to be His Church. This false church often supported men who sought to rule over their brothers and altered the message of Christ's gospel.

It has been suggested by some historians that the reference to Lady Godiva being “naked” had nothing to do with being without clothes. As a widow under Saxon law her wealth was her own. Norman’s had brought a more chauvinistic approach to a widows right to disperse and manage her first husbands or even her own wealth and property. The challenge was more likely that Lady Godiva would have to give up some of that wealth before her husband would give up his Norman right to tax the people as subjects.

Reading actual accounts of their character at the time it seems more likely that her husband was merely convicted by her charitable heart and there was no real challenge between them. Her heroism, personal piety, humility, and charity obliged the people’s love and respect, strengthening the whole community by her faithful example. The people who loved Christ had managed all social welfare for centuries with little more than free will offerings. That practice bound communities together and made them strong, secure, and self reliant. The Babylonian idea of taxing one class of society for the benefit of another had not yet become a part of modern Christian doctrine.

The story and principles of this giving widow symbolizes the nature of the true Church established by the Messiah. She became poor for the sake of others. [6] The servant Church, like the Levites of old, was a gift from God commissioned by Him to feed His sheep and keep the people from the bondage and entanglements of the world. The early Church had cared for the daily ministration of the widows, orphans and needy with free will offerings only love can provide. They had brought supplies and food in time of famine, sending Baranabas, who was the former Levite Joses,[7] to complete that mission.[8]

Unlike the authoritarian benefactors of the Gentile nations, the Church, as the government of God, was to provide their service only by the charity and free will offerings of the people. Love, humility and forgiveness are required to make such systems, operating under the perfect law of liberty, a true blessing for both rich and poor alike.

The Levites were also naked of any exercising authority. They could not go up by steps lest they reveal that nakedness. The people were told to make underwear, a covering, for them.[9] Giving them a covering and being naked has nothing to do with the clothes they wear. It is about coverture and the power or authority to act and lead by serving. The Levites had no inheritance, no personal estate, nor any exercising authority. They were a government.

Their success depended upon the good will of the people who freely gave them their covering by tithing to them according to their service.

Charity is marked by Paul as the greatest of gifts and that personal sacrifice not only saves those who fall on hard times but also frees and matures the grantors of charity in the practice of the virtues, sacrifices and ways of Christ. Those called out ministers of Christ’s were appointed a kingdom at hand. They were restricted by several of Christ’s proclaimed conditions.

They were not to exercise authority in the management and service to the people seeking the kingdom but they were to be benefactors of the people.[10] They were to willing become new members of His Family, a brotherhood belonging to God.[11] They were to give up their personal estate and like the Levites before them they became the Poor Preachers of His Kingdom. Christ was specific in His requirements for the ministry of His Holy Church.[12] Modern ministers often object to the mention of Christ’s clear doctrine.[13]

The faithful Ministers of His Church, like the Levites before them, are the ordained ministers of His form of government owning all things in common, with no personal estate. They are without authority, naked before the people. They are His ordained bondservants [14] as the public servants of His Kingdom under the perfect law of liberty.

“For whether [is] greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? [is] not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” Luke 22:27

As each man is an altar of “adamic clay”, so are the ministers of His Holy Church the living stones of God’s holy altar. He has a practical purpose. We are to preach the kingdom in service with charity, hope and faith so that all men might be free souls under God.

“But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:16

The Free Church Report offered as revealing guide for those seeking the ways of His Kingdom, the purpose of His altars, the status of His Ministers, and the ways of His Holy Church in the world, but not of it. Understanding and applying these precepts upon precepts has liberated people and formed free nations generation upon generation, age upon age, by Abraham, Moses and Christ. His righteousness shall set the captive free and return every man to his family and to his possessions.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Seeking to understand the Christian conflict with the Imperial Cult of Rome and what the Ministers of Christ had in common with the ancient faith of the Levites may bring us face to face with our own Faith.
Studying the purpose of those ancient Priestsand what or who the Stones of their Altars were and how they served society is essential for understanding the difference between the modern Church, the early Church and the Church in the Wilderness. Honestly searching an answer to some of the age old questions of society and our relationship to it will give us an answer to the question of Why Minister?

Can you handle the answer to


Some Questions

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To find the answers, we must seek and strive to do what Jesus said the way He said to do it... Including attending to the Weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith which include caring for the needs of our neighbors and the widows and orphans of our society through Pure Religion in matters of health, education, and welfare. We are NOT to provide for the needy of society through the Covetous Practices and the men who call themselves benefactorsbut who exercise authority one over the other like the socialists do.

The Way of Christ was like neither the way of the world of Rome nor the governments of the gentiles who depend on those fathers of the earth through force, fear and fealty who deliver the people back in bondage again like they were in Egypt. Christ's ministers and true Christians do not depend upon systems of social welfare that force the contributions of the people like the corban of the Pharisees which made the word of God to none effect. Many people have been deceived to go the way of Balaam and the Nicolaitan and out of The Way of Christ and have become workers of iniquity.

The Christian conflict with Rome in the first century Church appointed by Christ was because they would not apply to the fathers of the earth for their free bread but instead relied upon a voluntary network providing a daily ministration to the needy of society through Faith, Hope, and Charity by way of freewill offerings of the people, for the people, and by the people through the perfect law of liberty in Free Assemblies according to the ancient pattern of Tuns or Tens as He commanded.

The modern Christians are in need of repentance.

"Follow me!" —Jesus the Christ.


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Footnotes ==
  1. a.k.a. William of Normandy and William the Bastard. He was the illegitimate son of Robert the Magnificent who claimed to be the Duke of Normandy and Herleva the daughter of a tanner.
  2. Sir Frank Stenton, Anglo Saxon England published by Oxford 1971.
  3. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, translation edited by Dorothy Whitelock, David C. Douglas and Susie I Tucker, Eyre and Spottiswode 1965, revised.
  4. Quoted from the chronicle about Prior Æfic of Evesham who knew Lady Godiva.
  5. The monasteries at Stow, Lincolnshire, Coventry, Spalding, Leominster, Wenlock in Shropshire, Worcester, Evesham ...
  6. 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
  7. Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,)a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
  8. Acts 11:29 “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”
  9. Exodus 28:42 “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:”
  10. Luke 22:25 “And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”
  11. Luke 14:26 “If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
  12. Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
  13. The word hath in Luke 14:33 is also translated: hast in Matthew 19:21, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.”
    substance in Luke 8:3, “And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”
    Have in Luke 12:33, “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”
    goods in Luke 19:8, “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold.” And, 1 Corinthians 13:3
    And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
    possessed in Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”
  14. Numbers 8:14 “Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.”
  15. Matthew 20:25-26 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
    Mark 10:42-43 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
    Luke 22:25-26 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
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