I actually just picked up an abridged version of the famous collection of Martyrs. I would be cautious first in telling him not to read it.
Foxe, first of all, was prosecuted by the Catholic Queen in england while working on his book, so his position is obviously bias. But as far as naming martyrs is concerned, you have to look at a textbook definition of the term…
Martyr: Latin, from Greek martyr-, martys, literally, witness
1 : a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle
I believe there is little argument against a single person in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs if you apply this definition. Whether the Catholic Church agrees with the teachings of a martyr or not, if during their life they voluntarily suffered death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion or sacrificed something of great value (especially life) then they are a martyr to someone.
While it is an important protestant work, the wording of various passages are quite anti-Catholic in feel and tone. Like this one about “The Death of Queen Mary”…
*"No other king or queen of England spilled as much blood in a time of peace as Queen Mary did in four years through her hanging, beheading, burning, and imprisonment of good Christian Englishmen. When she first sought the crown and promised to retain the faith and religion of Edward, God went with her and brought her the throne through the efforts of the Protestants. But after she broke her promises to God and man, sided with Stephen Gardiner, and gave up her supremacy to the pope, God left her. nothing she did after that thrive.
Instead, she married King Philip…With Philip came the pope, and his mass, the monks, and the nuns, but still, God prevented her from having her way.
No woman was ever more disappointed than Mary when she could not have children, even with the help of the Catholic Church’s prayers. She seemed unable to win the favor of God, the hearts of her subjects, or the love of her husband.
At last, when nothing could sway her to stop the tyranny of her priests and spare her subjects who were being drawn daily as sheep to the slaughter, it pleased God to cut off her rule by death…*"
Wow! Foxe refers to the Catholic Church and the Mass as “the slaughter”. While I wouldn’t tell you to tell him not to read it, I would tell you to warn him against the bias it possesses. Get him the abridged copy and let him read that section I just showed you. It amazes me that Foxe apparently never read St. Matthew…
"Under the laws of Moses the rule was, ‘If you murder, you must die.’ But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the [divine] court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (TLB, Matthew 5:21-22)
…Because if he had, he would know that to judge in such ways was itself un-Christian.