Often our closest connection with history is a book or an archaeological dig, but in Jan Milic Lochman we found one of Jan Hus's living heirs. Born in the Czech Republic to Protestant parents who named him after Hus's reforming predecessor, Dr. Lochman has preached in Bethlehem Chapel and lectured at Charles University. He would even call himself a Hussite, except that the term fails to encompass the whole Czech reform tradition stretching before and after Hus.

Dr. Lochman, now professor emeritus of systematic theology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, not only connects with the distant past—he has witnessed his home country's twentieth-century upheavals as well. Christian History asked him what Hus means today to the church and the people of the Czech Republic.

What aspects of today's Czech society are in some way Hus's legacy?

I could not speak of a strong, inspiring presence of the Hussite legacy in Czech society today. Certainly Hus enjoys a high status in Czech history, and a considerable majority of people consider him one of the most famous Czechs. That's true. But this is very often a vague attitude. The specific Hussite legacy, Hus's important contribution to Czech culture and spirituality, is less known.

However, even people who don't know the content of Hus's message appreciate his high authority as a witness to the dignity of human conscience, because he was one who refused to recant. And he remained faithful to what he preached under pressures and even unto death.

Did you ever experience that kind of pressure?

For the major part of history, Czech Protestants have been persecuted. But there was no persecution in my childhood—just a very deep sense of being a minority within the nation and within the world.

But ...

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