Traducătorii Bibliei estimează că vor ajunge la toate popoarele până în 2025 – Wycliffe Bible Translators estimate they will finish translating the Bible in all languages by 2025

  • Africa –
  1. Totalul limbilor straine/Number of languages =  2,108
  2. Limbi fara transl. Bibliei/Lang. needing translation = 805
  • Americas –
  1. Totalul limbilor straine/Number of languages  = 943
  2. Limbi fara transl. Bibliei/Lang. needing translation = 81
  • Asia –
  1. Totalul limbilor straine/Number of languages = 2,319
  2. Limbi fara transl. Bibliei/Lang. needing translation = 879
  • Europe –
  1. Totalul limbilor straine/Number of languages = 235
  2. Limbi fara transl. Bibliei/Lang. needing translation = 73
  • Pacific –
  1. Totalul limbilor straine/Number of languages = 1,243
  2. Limbi fara transl. Bibliei/Lang. needing translation = 414

ROMANIAN

Mai sunt încă 2,252 de limbi străine in care Biblia, sau Noul Testament, nu au fost traduse încă. Translatorii Wycliffe muncesc din greu sa traducă Biblia şi în aceste limbi. In unele cazuri, translatorii trebuie sa meargă şi să locuiască între aceste popoare ca să înveţe limba (care nu este cunoscută în afara acestor triburi) şi apoi să le scrie Biblia pe limba lor.

Bob Creston, preşedintele Wycliffe Bible Translators, cea mai mare organizaţie care se ocupă traducerea Bibliei, a declarat că Sfânta Scriptură va fi tradusă în toate limbile şi dialectele planetei în următorii 12 ani, „ceea ce ne aduce mai aproape de cea de-a doua venire a lui Isus Christos”.

Creston a anunţat joi că, în prezent, numărul celor care pot citi Biblia în limba maternă a ajuns la 4,9 miliarde de persoane, ceea ce înseamnă că Biblia mai trebuie tradusă în 1.919 de limbi şi dialecte. Momentan, există 2.167 de proiecte care se ocupă de traduceri, arată Wycliffe Global Alliance.

Preşedintele a mai declarat că demersurile organizaţiei pe care o conduce sunt o împlinire a profeţiei din Matei 24:14, despre revenirea lui Iisus. „Sunt convins că Dumnezeu Îşi doreşte ca oameni din fiecare trib şi fiecare naţiune să Îl cunoască.”

Learn how the Bible transforms people’s lives when it’s written in a language they can clearly understand, and discover how many language groups are still waiting for their own translation.

ENGLISH

Read more at these links – http://www.wycliffe.org and http://www.lastlanguagescampaign.org

Estimates suggest that almost 2,100 languages still need a Bible translation program started. Some speakers of these languages are Christians, struggling to unlock the truths of the Bible in a language not their own. Others live without knowledge of Christ at all.

Each day that passes, people all around the world die without God’s message of hope in their own heart language. Because of the urgency of this situation, Wycliffe has adopted Vision 2025—an initiative to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025.

Reaching the last languages with God’s Word requires an enormous amount of resources. In response to these needs, in November 2008 Wycliffe USA launched the Last Languages Campaign—a strategic commitment to raise our share of the resources needed to accomplish Vision 2025. More than $1 billion is needed to reach these last languages with God’s Word.

Beniamin Faragau – Ce fel de oameni trebuie sa fim ca sa grabim venirea Domnului

  • Daca imi doresc ceva pentru anul in curs, cred ca acesta este unul din lucrurile care le-as lua pentru viata mea: Sa astept si sa grabesc venirea Domnului. 
  • Nu putem programa trezirile spirituale, toti ne-am dori. Stiti, in ziua de astazi, bisericile arata ca o vale de oase. Si acea suflare a Duhului e mai necesara ca oricand altadata.

2 Petru 3:10-18  Ziua Domnului însă va veni ca un hoţ. În ziua aceea, cerurile vor trece cu troznet, trupurile cereşti se vor topi de mare căldură, şi pămîntul, cu tot ce este pe el, va arde. 11 Deci, fiindcă toate aceste lucruri au să se strice, ce fel de oameni ar trebui să fiţi voi, printr’o purtare sfîntă şi evlavioasă, 12 aşteptînd şi grăbind venirea zilei lui Dumnezeu, în care cerurile aprinse vor pieri, şi trupurile cereşti se vor topi de căldura focului? 13 Dar noi, după făgăduinţa Lui, aşteptăm ceruri noi şi un pămînt nou, în care va locui neprihănirea. 

14 De aceea, prea iubiţilor, fiindcă aşteptaţi aceste lucruri, siliţi-vă să fiţi găsiţi înaintea Lui fără prihană, fără vină, şi în pace. 15 Să credeţi că îndelunga răbdare a Domnului nostru este mîntuire, cum v’a scris şi prea iubitul nostru frate Pavel, după înţelepciunea dată lui, 16 ca şi în toate epistolele lui, cînd vorbeşte despre lucrurile acestea. În ele sînt unele lucruri grele de înţeles, pe cari cei neştiutori şi nestatornici le răstîlmăcesc ca şi pe celelalte Scripturi, spre pierzarea lor. 17 Voi deci, prea iubiţilor, ştiind mai dinainte aceste lucuri, păziţi-vă ca nu cumva să vă lăsaţi tîrîţi de rătăcirea acestor nelegiuiţi, şi să vă pierdeţi tăria; 18 ci creşteţi în harul şi în cunoştinţa Domnului şi Mîntuitorului nostru Isus Hristos. A Lui să fie slava, acum şi în ziua veciniciei.  Amin

Matei 24:14 Evanghelia aceasta a Împărăţiei va fi propovăduită în toată lumea, ca să slujească de mărturie tuturor neamurilor. Atunci va veni sfîrşitul.

Beniamin Faragau (notite din predica):

Versetul 11 din 2 Petru 3 spune: Deci, fiindcă toate aceste lucruri au sa se strice- Adica, toate ceste lucruri – care ne infasoara asa de lesne, care sclipesc sub ochii nostri, dupa care alergam de dimineata pana seara, care ne istovesc spiritele de putere si ne lasa goi, dupa ce le-am adunat in mainile noastre… Si toate aceste lucruri au sa se strice…

Interesant, eram intr-un loc in care foarte aproape, vedeam muntele pe care in 1914, Ellen White cu toti adeptii ei au urcat sa astepte venirea Domnului. Si de atunci au fost profetii, dupa profetii, care false fiind dovedite, bineinteles, prin neimplinirea lor, care vorbesc despre venirea Domnului.

E foarte ciudat in textul nostru, este desi nu stim ziua, nu o putem profeti, putem sa o grabim si sa o asteptam. Si asta este elementul care as vrea sa il subliniez in text. Ce fel de oameni ar trebui sa fim noi, asteptand si grabind venirea lui Dumnezeu?

Daca imi doresc ceva pentru anul in curs, cred ca acesta este unul din lucrurile care le-as lua pentru viata mea: Sa astept si sa grabesc venirea Domnului. Nu putem programa trezirile spirituale, toti ne-am dori. Stiti, in ziua de astazi, bisericile arata ca o vale de oase. Si acea suflare a Duhului e mai necesara ca oricand altadata. Textul imi spune ce sa fac ca sa ridic panzele acelea.

Domnul Isus Hristos sesizeaza acele doua intrebari adunate laolalta si El le desface si se misca intre ele in permanenta. Si aceasta miscare a Domnului Isus, intre cele doua momente din istorie, primul urma sa vina la cativa ani dupa inaltarea Sa la cer. In anul 70 A.D. s-a implinit lucrul acesta. In anul 135 A.D., a fost arat Ierusalimul si transformat intr-o cetate pagana si Iudeii expulzati din tara. Dar, pentru ei a fost sfarsitul lor ca natiune, scoaterea lor din ispravnicie. In schimb, ziua venirii Fiului Omului este mult mai incolo. O asteptam si noi si am vrea sa o grabim, daca se poate in anul acesta.

Exista un singur verset, care se refera anume, cand se va intampla lucrul acesta. Matei 24:14 „Evanghelia aceasta a Împărăţiei va fi propovăduită în toată lumea, ca să slujească de mărturie tuturor neamurilor. Atunci va veni sfîrşitul.” Razboaiele, vestile de razboaie, toate celelalte- foamete, ciuma, este contextul in care istoria se desfasoara, din pricina pacatelor noastre. Dar, exista un „atunci” in versetul acesta. „Atunci va veni sfarsitul”. Evanghelia aceasta, a imparatiei va fi propovaduita in toata lumea, ca sa slujeasca de marturie tuturor neamurilor. M-am bucurat de Ada, ea sa hotarat sa mearga intr-un trib unde nu au Scriptura si sa incerce sa implineasca versetul acesta.

In baza acestui verset s-a adunat toata societatea Wycliffe, si dorinta lor este sa vada Scripturile in mainile oamenilor, in toata lumea. Dar, nu sunt multi ca Ada, nu ne-a cuprins dorul sa lasam masa, casa si sa plecam undeva prin Etiopia, sau stiu eu unde in Africa si prin niste triburi care n-au si nu cunosc inca Evanghelia. Cu toate acestea, propovaduirea acestei Evanghelii ne-a fost incredintata fiecaruia dintre noi.  Acolo in cercul prin care ma misc eu sunt niste oameni pagani si necunoscatori de Dumnezeu. Eu cred ca Dumnezeu ne cheama, ca in pustiul acela din jurul nostru, in familia ta, in orasul tau, in casa ta, la locul tau de munca, cine va duce Evanghelia? Cine va implini acest verset? Cine va grabi venirea zilei Domnului, daca nu o fac eu si nu o faci tu? (16:10)

Cele doua texte se leaga impreuna. Nu are rost sa-mi deschid Cuvantul, daca nu am implinit deja ce a spus Petru. Daca nu sunt inaintea lui Dumnezeu fara prihana, fara vina si in neprihanire. Daca Cuvantul si Evanghelia nu a lucrat intai in viata mea, daca n-a transformat familia mea, daca nu am luat in seama provocarea vers. care spune, „Cat despre mine, eu si casa mea vom sluji Domnului”. Mai mult decat banii, mai mult decat lucrurile materiale pe care le putem aduna, care ne-au inundat si pe noi, pruncii nostri sunt singura valoare eterna. Pentru ei se merita sa luptam, sa ne rugam. Pentru ei se merita sa punem timp de o parte, sa gasim mijloace, solutii. Eu cred ca de acolo trebuie sa plece, din Ierusalimul nostru, framantarea aceasta de a implini, de a vedea  Evanghelia cuprinzand fiecare colt din postata in care Dumnezeu m-a asezat ca sa lucrez, implicandu-ma in largirea imparatiei Lui, acolo unde Dumnezeu m-a asezat.

Daca L-as lua in serios pe Dumnezeu, nu ne-a promis Dumnezeu ca ne va da painea si imbracamintea pe deasupra, daca vom cauta mai intai imparatia lui Dumnezeu? De ce ne-a cuprins inima indoiala ca vom avea ce manca si maine. Psalmistul spune, „Am fost tanar si am imbatranit, n-am vazut pe cel neprihanit parasit, nici pe copiii Lui cersindu-si painea. Nu ar trebui sa ma scol, primul rand sa spun, „Sfinteasca-se Numele Tau, vie Imparatia Ta, faca-se voia Ta, precum in cer, asa si pe pamant. Asta ar insemna, sa se petreaca in mine incetisor, tot ce am citit in Petru. In felul acesta, tu si cu mine si noi impreuna, nu doar vom astepta Imparatia, ci vom grabi venirea Imparatiei lui Dumnezeu. Si e treaba Lui sa hotareasca ziua.

Atunci cand Domnul Isus s-a inaltat la cer a dat o singura porunca ucenicilor Sai: Ramaneti in Ierusalim. Asta a fost singura porunca. Indiferent cat striga, indiferent cat ar fi strigat, indiferent cat s-ar fi rugat,  nu ar fi putut nici intarzia, nici grabi revarsarea Duhului Sfant. Asta a fost hotarata de Dumnezeu. Dar, ce au facut ei in zilele acelea si-au inaltat panzele. Si cand Duhul a inceput sa sufle, trei mii de oameni s-au convertit intr-o singura zi. N-au avut frica sa deschida usile si sa coboare in cetate si cred ca lucrurile acestea ar trebui sa le dorim in anul care sta inaintea noastra. Domnul Isus, o singura porunca a dat ucenicilor Sai. Ei au fost interesati de vremuri si soroace. El a zis, „Nu-i treaba voastra”. Toate le-a pastrat sub stapanirea Sa.

Treaba voastra este sa primiti aceasta suflare a Duhului Sfant si sa-Mi fiti martori din Ierusalim in toata ideea, in Samaria si pana la marginile pamantului.  Inainte de a porni spre cer, Domnul Isus s-a uitat in ochii ucenicilor si o singura porunca le-a dat: „Toata puterea Mi-a fost data, in cer si pe pamant, ducandu-va, faceti ucenici din toate neamurile, botezandu-i in numele Tatalui, a Fiului si a Duhului Sfant si invatati-i sa pazeasca tot ce v-am poruncit. Nu ar trebui sa ma preocupe si pe mine lucrul acesta, incepand de la pruncii si nepotii mei, inlargind cercul la prietenii… Daca preocuparea asta este pe inima mea, sigur ca este si la Dumnezeu. Si cand omul si Dumnezeu lucreaza impreuna se pot intampla minuni. (20:00)

Nici o trezire spirituala nu a venit cu tam tam. A plecat de la o femeie, a plecat de la 2 batrane, a plecat de la foarte putini, dar foarte consistent si sistematic. Tara in care m-a asezat Dumnezeu, oare sunt dispus impreuna cu Dumnezeu sa o cuceresc? Azi noapte am si avut un vis foarte ciudat. M-am si trezit la ora 4 si n-am mai putut sa dorm, ca sa nu-l pierd. Eram la alta biserica, trebuia sa predic, aveam pagini peste pagini pregatite, nu stiam ce sa spun, transpiram tot. Si inaintea mea a vorbit Don Carson. Cei care a-ti mai citit teologie a-ti auzit de numele lui, este un om ilustru. Am zis, „Wow.” Dar, eu uitasem ca a fost acolo si Duminica precedenta si acum a venit, a raspuns la doua intrebari si a plecat. Si a trebuit sa ma ridic eu. Si Duhul lui Dumnezeu mi-a dat un singur lucru, „E vreme de razboi.” Venind din California, m-am uitat la fiul meu, la Dora mea, la cei din jur, crestini de acolo, biserica de acolo. Dragii mei, este o tihna si o pace – atata tot ca se mai impusca si se mai omoara prin scoli si mai tresara America si se zbate si cauta solutia tot la alta parte. Dar, cred ca materialismul acesta care incepe sa cuprinda si inima noastra ne face sa lancezim, sa ne relaxam, sa lasam garda in jos.

Ganditi-va, daca a-ti calcat pe urmele lui Isus. Fiul lui Dumnezeu s-a aratat sa nimiceasca lucrarile diavolului. Si noi nu numai ca suntem in vremuri de razboi, baricadati ca sa ne scapam, ci trebuie sa fim la portile locuintelor mortilor. Noi suntem in atac. Domnul Isus a venit sa cucereasca planeta aceasta. Altfel se baricada in ceruri sa ne lase in pacatele noastre. Si noua ne spune ca n-avem de luptat impotriva carnii. Sunt mult mai mult decat oameni rai in jurul nostru. Domnii si stapaniri care ne inconjoara si ne incoltesc de toate partile. Sunt duhurile rautatii, care incearca sa sufle in panzele barcii noastre, sa ne impinga in directia mortii. Este vremea de razboi si intr-o vreme de razboi abia astept sa se deschida cerul, sa vad carul acela alb si pe Domnul Isus cu haina muiata in sange si ostile din cer, urmandu-L calare pe cai albi. Abia astept.

Dar, pentru asta nu uitati: Hainele trebuie pastrate curate. Si textul din Petru asta ne invata. Hainele curate sunt cea mai mare atractie a omului pacatos la Hristos. Daca am avea altceva decat au ei, ar da buluc intre noi.

(Nimic) nu ne poate impiedica sa ajungem pana la marginile pamantului. Daca tu si cu mine si fiecare dintre noi, ne luam putinul care l-a pus Dumnezeu in mana si il punem in mainile lui Isus Hristos. Nu putinul meu conteaza, ci conteaza puterea Lui de a le inmulti. Intrebarea este doar daca am timp sa ma gandesc la asa ceva. Daca in anul acesta  as putea sa las in mana Lui painea si imbracamintea si sa-mi iau in mainile mele responsabilitatea mea. Daca nimic altceva, sa trag de funii si sa ridic panzile, ca vantul Duhului sa sufle in ele. Nu stiu cat va ingadui Dumnezeu sa continue istoria. Poate vine la noapte, poate vine in 2013. dar, ceea ce stiu este ca El ne-a lasat aici cu un scop. Si scopul acesta nu-l poti impinge pe umerii altuia. Trebuie sa te incarci tu cu ele, pe umerii tai. Si pe tine si pe mine ma cheama sa-i dau putinul meu, sa-I dau in negot. Sa-i dau acel singur talant pe care-l am.

20 Ianuarie 2013 – PM – Ce fel de oameni trebuie sa fim ca sa grabim venirea Domnului -Beniamin Faragau from Biserica Baptista Iris on Vimeo.

Credincioasă până la moarte de E. Hott (carte online)

Prefaţă

Povestirea pe care o prezentăm tineretului creştin se bazează pe fapte istorice. Wykliffe, Sastre, Arundel, au avut un rol însemnat în istoria timpului lor. În ceea ce-i priveşte pe lolarzi, aceşti martori umili ai adevărului lui Dumnezeu într-un secol de întuneric şi de intoleranţă religioasă, nu s-a insistat îndeajuns asupra curajului lor, credinţei lor şi statorniciei lor în mijlocul persecuţiilor celor mai crunte.

Exemplul Margaretei,click pe More sa cititi mai departe…

Mai mult

The impact of the printing press on the Reformation, the history of the Bible and the emergence of the Puritans by Gavin Finley

Our journey of discovery to seek the roots of the Puritans begins at a time when the Holy Scriptures were coming to the common man in Europe. After a thousand years of medieval darkness the Word of God was returning. In Germany during the mid 1400’s Johannes Gutenberg had invented a printing press with movable type. This greatly increased the speed of printing books. These were difficult and dark days for Europe. The second Jihad had begun and the Turks were attacking Christendom in the east. High taxes, famine, and peasant uprisings brought their misery. But in this same time frame there was something wonderful happening as well. The Bible was being translated and distributed in large numbers. And with that the lights were going on all over Europe.

With the Bible being translated in the European languages good copies of the Holy Scriptures were soon beginning to come off the presses in Germany. Not only that, they were being printed rapidly in significant numbers and at prices people could afford. This was one of the keys to the dramatic changes seen back in the 1500’s. It has been said that Gutenberg’s printing press made the Reformation possible.

Along with the courageous stand by Martin Luther it was the Bible translators at their wonderful work who lit the candles and brought the Light of God’s Word into the medieval darkness. The translators unlocked the Bible from the Latin, the dead language of ancient Rome. The new printing presses, marvels of German engineering at the time, were sitting there waiting for the Bible translators to bring in their manuscripts. And so out came the Bibles into the hands of the European people. The illumination of the Word of God changed the hearts and minds and the motivations of the people who heard. This was a marvellous turn of events. The impact of the Bible on Western Civilization along with the good and the evil historical responses to its coming cannot be overestimated.

John Wycliffe, the ‘morning star of the Reformation’ had begun this work with a translation of the Bible into English in the 1300’s. In the 1500’s Martin Luther translated the scriptures into the German language. Luther himself was transformed in the process. The scriptures opened his eyes to what was going on around him. He was appalled to see the obvious disparities between what he saw in the Bible and what was being practiced by the Church of Rome. The selling of indulgences by the church, supposedly securing the release of loved ones from Purgatory, was the last straw for Luther. Protesting this outrage, and numerous other grievances he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral. This sparked off a religious conflagration with the Roman Church in Germany. With Duke Ferdinand of Saxony and other German princes coming to his aid Luther avoided being taken into custody by the Roman church where he most certainly would have been burned as a heretic. Indeed, during the previous century in 1415 this had happened to a faithful priest in Bohemia, John Hus. Luther’s stand at the German city of Worms was historic. It was a defining moment for the church. And it led western Christendom into the Reformation.

Also in the 1500’s Englishmen Miles Coverdale and William Tyndale were translating the Bible into English. Tyndale was in exile in Europe. He lived a life of constant danger, translating the scriptures and living as a wanted man. His evangelical friends from Cambridge, John Frith and William Tewksbury, were both captured and burned at the stake. For years Tyndale was hunted down by agents of Henry VIII and the Bishop of London. Since Gutenburg’s printing presses were now proliferating in a big way it was Germany that was at that time the place to go for good printing work to be done. The coming of the scriptures to the common man had an enormous impact on European and English history. The Reformation led to the evangelical movement. Unfortunately its politicization led to a great tragedy. The awful 30 Years War wrecked Germany. It was left in such a ruined state that it would not recover for 200 years.

The 1500’s were years of great change. The peasants revolted throughout central Europe during a conflict that would come to known as the Peasant Wars. During this period of internal strife the Turks took advantage of the situation. They attacked European Christendom from the east. The Muslim forces advanced to the point where for a while they were actually closing in on Vienna. It was an awful time to be alive in Europe. It was a time of unprecedented religious, political and social upheaval.

Out of all this turmoil came the Anabaptists. These were the ultimate Christian radicals. The war in central Europe had gone on for a whole generation. Successive Catholic and Protestant armies had pillaged the countryside taking the lives of young and old. Germany and the Swiss valleys were left in in a shambles. Many were now migrating out of central Europe to take refuge in Holland which was to take a dominant role in European history in the following century. During the 1600’s Dutch sea power and peaceful trade had made this a place of refuge for many evangelicals. During the Reformation wars in central Europe many had seen enough of Christian savagery and barbarism to last several lifetimes. For many separatist evangelical Christians it got to the point where they didn’t care which army won. From the scriptures they had come to believe that Christianity was a matter of personal faith, not national or church sponsored citizenship. Nor was it about which church or cathedral you belonged to. It was all about a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and a personal faith walked out with Him daily. Accordingly, while they paid their taxes to the governing powers the Anabaptists resolved to take no oaths of allegiance with the political or ecclesiastical princes, whoever they might be. Nor would they take up arms with or against any army coming into their valleys, whether they were Protestant or Catholic. These are the main articles of the „Schleitheim Confession”. This document was penned by one of the leading lights of the Anabaptist movement, Michael Sattler at the gathering at Schleitheim, in the mountains of Switzerland in February of 1527.

For their stand in the peace of Jesus Christ they were bitterly persecuted from both sides. Millions of Anabaptists died at the hands of Catholic and Protestant powers alike. They continued to die for over 200 years. This story has not been told. It has been cut out of the history books. From these determined Christian separatists came the peace loving Amish and Mennonites along with the Brethren and some primitive Baptists of the free church tradition. They remember this history. We don’t.

Let us make no mistake about this. These saints who had rejected the sword were still full of Christian zeal. But they had given up on a church that had corrupted itself by going to bed with the state. They would prefer to go to their secret Christian meetings, even if they were under the constant threat of being arrested. If an Anabaptist met another on the pathway they would challenge him with the scripture,
„You cannot serve two masters”.
If the other man was an Anabaptist he would smile and reply,
„You cannot serve God and mammon”.

The pathway they were now going on was a ‘highway of holiness’. ~ Isa.35:8-10. The Anabaptists resolved to keep their little church pure in devotion to Christ. They were weary of seeing the hideous mixture of the cross and the sword played out before their eyes year after weary year. The sword had been stained with Christian blood. To their mind it had become a despised and shameful thing. It no longer had the sacred power of chivalry it once held over them. They had seen its dark side. It had come to the point where they were going to turn their back on politics and make the peaceful preaching of the Gospel their prime concern come what may. At this time the first missionary outreaches were organized. The Mennonites, the Baptists, the Brethren and many other Christian groups began to send out missionaries beyond European shores. A new era in Christian missions had begun.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE ENGLISH PURITANS IN THE 1500’s.

This is where we pick up our story of the Puritans. The coming of the English Bible was giving rise to desires for full Reformation of the Church of England. There was even talk of ‘purifying’ the Church of England. It was during the latter part of the 1500’s that men like Thomas Cartwright began to argue for a purified English Christianity. They wanted to see a Church of England free of the medieval trappings and vestments of the Roman Church from which it had come. These reformist evangelicals came to be called ‘Puritans’.

These were dangerous times to express such views. During the reign of „Bloody Mary”, and throughout the 1500’s many separatist evangelicals were burned at the stake. But these persecutions, as usual, only spread the fires of devotion both inside the Church of England and outside the national church in the secret house meetings of the persecuted ‘Non-Comformists’.

In 1603 Protestant King James I came to the throne. By this time the Puritans were poised to move their agenda forward. These were turbulent times. Political extremists were abroad along with religious separatists. To the King and his bishops these people were all the same. As they saw it all these unregulated people were equally dangerous. Whether they be political dissidents or religious dissidents they all disturbed the peace with their tiresome petitions for reform. They interrupted the quiet life of the people which the leaders had worked so hard to maintain. In 1605, a Catholic zealot named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. He and his anarchist friends wanted to kill the king and as many Puritan parliamentarians as possible. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was executed.

1611 was a banner year for evangelicals in England. The King James Bible went out to the people. With the more ready access to the scriptures the Puritans continued to gain in numbers. King James was forced to put more restrictions on these movers and shakers. This in turn caused them to to push even harder for reform in the Church of England.

Evangelicals in England during those times had two choices. They could separate from the Church of England and became Non-Conformists or Pilgrim style Separatists. Or they could join the Puritans and stay in the system hoping to reform it from within. Both streams of evangelical Christianity were persecuted but the separatists had it far worse. King James had commissioned the printing of the Holy Scriptures which sets men free. But under his reign religious freedom was still not realized. Englishmen were still forbidden to worship outside the Church of England. Many Bible believing Christians, under persecution by the king’s bishops, were forced to flee the country. A Puritan community from the town of Scrooby left for Holland in 1608.

During this time the expanding Dutch sea trade to India had made Holland extremely wealthy. The infusion of new and vital people from the Reformation Wars in central Europe had enriched Holland in many ways. It was the place to be for people like godless rationalists and Godly evangelicals, both groups considering themselves enlightened. In the 1600’s Holland was the trade center of Europe. It was also the place where new ideas, the Renaissance arts, (which had originated in Italy), and ideas could be expressed in peace without church or governmental interference. This was good for evangelical Christians. It was also good for humanists, rationalists and freethinkers like Erasmus. Dutch trade and sea power had made the Netherlands the dominant power in Europe during that time. Here people of faith could gather and worship without fear of persecution. Here too they could educate their children into a biblical world view with their own Christian schools. But for the Pilgrims and Puritans from Scrooby, (and others), Holland was a temporary haven. But it was not their destiny. The Puritan fellowship from Scrooby would only stay there in Holland 12 years. Then they would set forth towards the next stop on their epic journey. The Pilgrims and Puritans were bound for the New World. During the fall of 1620 they set sail aboard the Mayflower.

Meanwhile, back in England, the Puritans fumed and fretted and chafed under the constraints under which their new biblical faith was forced to operate. The difficult Pilgrim path of living as „non conformists” and walking a separated life to Christ was open to them of course. But the Puritans were committed to the continuation of a church-state union. So they remained within the Church of England trying to move the huge medieval colossus with all its „Romish” trappings forward inch by inch into biblical Christianity. Being people who believed in ‘the system’ the Puritans were determined to change the national church from within. But they were having a very very frustrating time. Since they were forbidden to worship outside the Church of England they were stuck. The church that they believed in just didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

The Church of England did provide wonderful opportunity for English Christians since it cut them off from Roman Catholicism. But its birth was not a spiritual birth so much as a political one. Henry VIII had broken the English church free of its moorings with the Church of Rome. Now the scriptures were shining a lamp onto the pathway ahead. Many Englishmen were coming into a personal faith in Christ. The Puritans were keen to move on out of the medieval darkness. Yet the bishops, under the kings thumb, were holding back the very church reforms that these new Bible reading Christians considered necessary.

All this was making things very difficult for the emerging Puritans. They did not want to take the road of ‘separation of church and state’ as the Pilgrim separatists were doing. They were not going to worship secretly. Nor did they want to gather in little fellowships. They were Englishmen! And they would worship God as Englishmen. If the system was not with them then their future course was clear. They would change the system! If the king wanted them in a single national church that was fine. But by God’s help they were bound and determined to move the Church of England forward into an enlightened Biblical Christianity.

The proliferation of Bibles in the 1500’s made these times of great religious discovery. The Puritan corporate conscience began to burn within them. They prayed and they agonized a s they sought to bring political and social substance to their dreams of a ‘nation under God’. They knew what could and should be done. And by God’s help they were going to make it happen!

In the early 1600’s this Puritan zeal was building up enormous political pressure within English society. The history that followed was quite predictable.

Church History -Jan Hus (1369-1415) – predecessor to the Protestant movement of the 16th century (video)

(from Below – a 55 minute movie based on the life of Jan Hus, immediately followed by a 30 minute documentary (from the Christian History Institute) on the life of Jan Hus.

Jan Hus (1369-1415)

was a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague.

He is famed for having been burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church, including those on ecclesiology (the branch of theology concerned with the nature, constitution and functions of a church), the Eucharist (the Christian sacrament commemorating the Last Supper by consecrating bread and wine), and other theological topics. Hus was a key predecessor to the Protestant movement of the 16th century, and his teachings had a strong influence on the states of Europe, most immediately in the approval for the existence of a reformist Bohemian religious denomination, and, more than a century later, on Martin Luther himself.

Between 1420 and 1431, the Hussite forces defeated five consecutive papal crusades against followers of Hus. Their defense and rebellion against Roman Catholics became known as the Hussite Wars.

The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Jan Hus a famous Medieval character of the Middle Ages:

  • Nationality: Czechoslovakian
  • Also Known as: Johann or John Hussinetz, Johannes de Hussinetz or Huss
  • Lifespan: 1370 – 1415
  • Time Reference: Lived during the reigns of the English Kings – King Richard II, King Henry IV and King Henry V
  • Date of Birth: He was born in 1390 in was born at Hussinetz in Southern Bohemia
  • Early Life and Education: He studied at Prague and was an early follower of Stanislaus of Znaim
  • Career Timeline of Jan Hus:
    • In 1400 he was ordained priest
    • In 1401 he became a Dean
    • In 1402 Jan Hus became a rector and preacher of the Bethlehem Church in Prague
    • 1402 – Jan Hus was influenced by the theological writings and ideas of John Wycliffe
    • Hus began to attack the views of clerics
    • Jan Hus became the rector of Prague University and was received at court
    • In 1410 the Pope issued a decree against the ideas of John Wycliffe which were banned
    • Jan Hus continued to preach about the new ideas – his followers were called the Hussites, but was forced to leave Prague
    • 1414 – Three Bishops were appointed to investigate Jan Hus
    • He was imprisoned by Archbishop of Constance at his castle on the Rhine
    • 1415 Jan Hus was sent to trial and convicted as a heretic
    • He was sentence to burning at the stake
    • Jan Hus refused to recant and the terrible sentence was carried out
  • Date of Death: Jan Hus died on July 6, 1415
  • Accomplishments or why Jan Hus was famous: A cleric and religious reformer in Czechoslovakia who attracted followers called the Hussites. He was a follower of the English reformer John Wycliffe
  • Prophecy and Jan Hus Quote: “In 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.”
    • Nearly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention on to the church door at Wittenberg

John Wycliffe – o scurta biografie

Biografia lui John Wycliffe de la ViataVesnica.Ro:
John Wycliffe, care a trăit în timpul domniei regelui Edward III, în 1372, a fost profesor la Universitatea din Oxford. Într-o vreme în care doar puţini oameni s-au bucurat de educaţie, Wycliffe a fost cunoscut pentru erudiţia sa în filozofie şi religie.În această perioadă creştinismul era într-o situaţie tristă. Deşi toată lumea cunoştea numele Cristos, putini îi înţelegeu învăţătura. Credinţa, mângâierea, folosul Legii,lucrările lui Cristos, slăbiciunea omenească, Duhul Sfânt, puterea păcatului, lucrările harului, mântuirea prin credinţă si libertatea creştinului nu au fost pomenite niciodată în Biserică. În schimb, Biserica era preocupată doar de ceremoniile vizibile şi tradiţiile omeneşti. Oamenii îşi petreceau toată viaţa îngrămădind ceremonie după ceremonie în dorinţa de a căpăta mântuirea, fără să ştie că o puteau primi doar cerând-o. Oamenii simplii, needucaţi, care nu cunoşteau Scriptura, se mulţumeau să cunoască ce le spuneau pastorii, iar aceştia erau preocupaţi să îi înveţe doar lucrurile venite de la Roma, majoritatea învăţăturilor fiind date spre folosul propriului lor ordin şi nu pentru slava lui Cristos.Văzând că Evanghelia lui Cristos este pângărită de greşeli şi invenţii ale acestor episcopi şi călugări, s-a hotărât să facă tot ce-i stă în putere ca să schimbe situaţia şi să-i înveţe pe oameni adevărul. S-a luptat mult ca să declare în mod public faptul că intenţia sa era doar să scape Biserica de idolatrie, mai ales în ceea ce priveşte sacrementele şi împărtăşania.

Image via Wikipedia

Acest lucru a înfuriat desigur pe călugări, ale căror ordine au devenit avute în urma câştigurilor intrate din oficierea cereminiilor şi plata serviciilor lor. În curând preoţii şi episcopii s-au alăturat nemulţumiţilor, urmaţi de arhiepiscopul Simon Sudbury, care a întrerupt salarizarea lui Wycliffe şi i-a poruncit să nu mai predice împotriva Bisericii. Când nici măcar acest lucru nu s-a dovedit eficient, arhiepiscopul a apelat la Papă. Însa Wycliffe a continuat să-şi expună gândurile în predicile adresate poporului; regele Edwar purta simpatie faţă de predicile sale dar s-a putut bucura şi de spijinil unor nobili ca John de Gaunt, Ducele de Lancaster, fiul regelui şi Lordul Henry Percy.

Învaţăturile lui Wycliffe pot fi sumarizate în următoarele puncte, preluate din predicile sale:

– Sfânta euharistie, după rugăciunea de consacrare, nu este chiar trupul lui Cristos;

– Biserica Romei nu este mai importantă decât orice altă Biserică, şi lui Petru nu i-a fost dată mai multă putere de către Cristos decât altor apostoli;

– Papa nu are mai multă putere decât orice alt preot;

– Evanghelia este suficientă fiecărui om, fără alte reguli adăugate de oameni şi fără adăugiri la Evanghelie;

– Nici Papa şi nici o altă faţă bisericească nu are puterea sau dreptul de a pedepsi pe păcătoşi.

În 1377 i s-a ordonat lui Wycliffe să apară în faţa episcopilor săi şi să răspundă acuzaţiilor aduse de aceştia, din moment ce el a continuat să predice despre aceste lucruri deşi i se interzisese. Wycliffe s-a înfăţişat înaintea lor în ziua de joi, 19 februarie 1377, însoţit de patru călugări învăţaţi, Ducele de Lancaster şi Lordul Henry Percy, care era Lord Mareşalul Angliei.

Catedrala Sf.Pavel a fost înconjurată de o mare mulţime care s-a adunat ca să ajungă la Capela Doamnei Noastre, unde autorităţile bisericeşti erau în aşteptare. După câteva minute, Ducele de Lencaster şi lordul Percy s-au implicat într-o discuţie fierbinte cu episcopul, cu privire la Wycliffe, dacă el ar trebui să stea în picioare sau să şadă în timpul audierilor. În curând cearta a lăsat loc ameninţărilor, toţi cei prezenţi s-au alăturat grupurilor antagoniste şi conciliul a trebuit să fie dizolvet încă înainte e ora 9. Wycliffe a scăpat astfel de pedeapsa pentru cazurile sale. În curând a murit regele Edward III şi tronul a fost ocupat de nepotul său, Richard al II-lea. Ducele de Lancaster şi Lordul Percy au renunţat la slujbele lor guvernamentale şi s-au retras din viaţa publică, dar Wycliffe încă se putea bucura de sprijinul multor nobili. În 1377 Papa Grigorie a trimis un mesaj la Universitatea din Oxford, în care o mustra pentru că a lăsat ca învăţăturile lui Wycliffe să prindă rădăcină şi cerea ca Wycliffe să fie redus la tăcere. Acest lucru l-a încurajat pe arhiepiscopul de Canterbury şi pe elţi episcopi, care s-au hotărât să se întâlnească şi să cadă de acord asupra modului în care va fi pedepsit Wycliffe.

În ziua în care acesta urma să fie audiat, un bărbat pe nume Lewis Clifford, care era un membru al Curţii, fără însă a avea prea multă putere, s-a dus la episcopi şi i-a avertizat foarte serios să nu îl condamne sub nici o formă pe Wycliffe. Episcopii au fost atât de uluiţi de această cerere încât nu au luat nici o atitudine împotriva lui Wycliffe în acea zi.

Secta lui (oamenii neaprobati de regele Angliei si episcopii Bisericii Anglicane) a început să creasca în ciuda opoziţiei Bisericii. Unele persoane autoritare de le Oxford au încercat să îl facă să tacă, alţii l-au sprijinit cât au putut, iar Biserica [Catolica] l-a declarat eretic şi i-a ameninţat pe partizanii lui cu excomunicarea. O perioadă de timp Wycliffe ori a stat exilat, ori a stat ascuns, dar s-a întors în parohia sa înainte de a muri in 1384.

În 1415 Sinodul de la Constanz l-a declarat eretic notoriu pe Wycliffe, care a murit în erezia sa [anti Catolica] şi s-a dispus mutarea oaselor sale din pamântul sfinţit. În 1425 ramaşiţele sale au fost deshumate, oasele i-au fost arse si aruncate în râu, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu şi adevărul învăţăturii lui John Wycliffe nu vor fii nimicite niciodată.

Deşi regele Richard s-a lăsat influenţat de Papa Urban şi Papa Bonifaciu IX si a publicat câteva decrete împotriva doctrinelor protestante, nu exista nici o mărturie ca cineva să fi fost condamnat la moarte pentru doctrine în timpul domniei sale.

Church History – John Wycliffe (1320-1384) translated the first English language Bible

John Wycliffe Bible

What is the John Wycliffe Bible?

The very first translation of the scriptures into the English language. It is a beautiful hand-written manuscript. John Wycliffe is called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”. He was the first person to translate the Bible into the English language. Because he lived nearly a century before Gutenberg invented the printing press, his New Testaments and Bibles were of course, hand-written manuscripts. Wycliffe is also credited with being the inventor of bifocal eyeglasses (necessity being the mother of invention).

John Wycliffe Library

John Wycliffe History

The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in 1380’s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was a theologian and early proponent of reform in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He initiated the first translation of the Bible into the English language and is considered the main precursor of the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was born at Ipreswell (modern Hipswell), Yorkshire, England, between 1320 and 1330; and he died at Lutterworth (near Leicester) December 31, 1384.

John Wycliffe
The Early Life of John Wycliffe

His family was of early Saxon origin, long settled in Yorkshire. In his day the family was a large one, covering a considerable territory, and its principal seat was Wycliffe-on-Tees, of which Ipreswell was an outlying hamlet. 1324 is the year usually given for Wycliffe’s birth. Wycliffe probably received his early education close to home. It is not known when he first went to Oxford, with which he was so closely connected till the end of his life. He was at Oxford in about 1345, when a series of illustrious names was adding glory to the fame of the university–such as those of Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Thomas Bradwardine, William of Occam, and Richard Fitzralph.

Wycliffe owed much to Occam; he showed an interest in natural science and mathematics, but applied himself to the study of theology, ecclesiastical law, and philosophy. Even his opponents acknowledged the keenness of his dialectic. His writings prove that he was well grounded in Roman and English law, as well as in native history. A family whose seat was in the neighborhood of Wycliffe’s home– Bernard Castle– had founded Balliol College, Oxford to which Wycliffe belonged, first as scholar, then as master. He attained the headship no later than 1360.

The Early Career of John Wycliffe

When he was presented by the college (1361) with the parish of Fylingham in Lincolnshire, he had to give up the leadership of Balliol, though he could continue to live at Oxford. His university career followed the usual course. While as baccalaureate he busied himself with natural science and mathematics, as master he had the right to read in philosophy. More significant was his interest in Bible study, which he pursued after becoming bachelor in theology. His performance led Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, to place him at the head of Canterbury Hall in 1365.

Between 1366 and 1372 he became a doctor of theology; as such he had the right to lecture upon systematic divinity, which he did. In 1368 he gave up his living at Fylingham and took over the rectory of Ludgershall in Buckinghamshire, not far from Oxford, which enabled him to retain his connection with the university.

Roots of Wycliffe’s Reformation Activities

It was not as a teacher or preacher that Wycliffe gained his position in history; this came from his activities in ecclesiastical politics, in which he engaged about the mid-1370s, when his reformatory work also began. In 1374 he was among the English delegates at a peace congress at Bruges. He may have been given this position because of the spirited and patriotic behavior with which in the year 1366 he sought the interests of his country against the demands of the papacy. It seems he had a reputation as a patriot and reformer; this suggests the answer to the question how he came to his reformatory ideas. Even if older evangelical parties did not exist in England before Wycliffe, he might easily have been influenced by continental evangelicals who abounded. It is highly probable that the older type of doctrine and practice represented by the Iro-Scottish Christians of the pre-Roman time persisted till the time of Wycliffe and reappeared in Lollardism.

The root of the Wycliffe’s reformation movement must be traced to his Bible study and to the ecclesiastical-political lawmaking of his times. He was well acquainted with the tendencies of the ecclesiastical politics to which England owed its position. He had studied the proceedings of King Edward I of England, and had attributed to them the basis of parliamentary opposition to papal usurpations. He found them a model for methods of procedure in matters connected with the questions of worldly possessions and the Church. Many sentences in his book on the Church recall the institution of the commission of 1274, which caused problems for the English clergy. He considered that the example of Edward I should be borne in mind by the government of his time; but that the aim should be a reformation of the entire ecclesiastical establishment. Similar was his position on the enactments induced by the ecclesiastical politics of Edward III, with which he was well acquainted, which are fully reflected in his political tracts.

Political Career of John Wycliffe

The Reformer’s entrance upon the stage of ecclesiastical politics is usually related to the question of feudal tribute to which England had been rendered liable by King John, which had remained unpaid for thirty-three years until Pope Urban V in 1365 demanded it. Parliament declared that neither John nor any other had the right to subject England to any foreign power. Should the pope attempt to enforce his claim by arms, he would be met with united resistance. Urban apparently recognized his mistake and dropped his claim. But there was no talk of a patriotic uprising. The tone of the pope was, in fact, not threatening, and he did not wish to draw England into the maelstrom of politics of western and southern Europe. Sharp words were bound to be heard in England, because of the close relations of the papacy with France. It is said that on this occasion Wycliffe served as theological counsel to the government, composed a polemical tract dealing with the tribute, and defended an unnamed monk over against the conduct of the government and parliament. This would place the entrance of Wycliffe into politics about 1365-66. But Wycliffe’s more important participation began with the Peace Congress at Bruges. There in 1374 negotiations were carried on between France and England, while at the same time commissioners from England dealt with papal delegates respecting the removal of ecclesiastical annoyances. Wycliffe was among these, under a decree dated July 26, 1374. The choice of a harsh opponent of the Avignon system would have broken up rather than furthered the peace negotiations. It seems he was designated purely as a theologian, and so considered himself, since a noted Scripture scholar was required alongside of those learned in civil and canon law. There was no need for a man of renown, or a pure advocate of state interests. His predecessor in a like case was John Owtred, a monk who formulated the statement that St. Peter had united in his hands spiritual and temporal power–the opposite of what Wycliffe taught. In the days of the mission to Bruges Owtred still belonged in Wycliffe’s circle of friends.

Wycliffe was still regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as trustworthy; his opposition to the ruling conduct of the Church may have escaped notice. It was difficult to recognize him as a heretic. The controversies in which men engaged at Oxford were philosophical rather than purely theological or ecclesiastical-political, and the method of discussion was academic and scholastic. The kind of men with whom Wycliffe dealt included the Carmelite monk John Kyningham over theological questions (utrum Christus esset humanitas), or ecclesiastical-political ones (De dominatione civili; De dotatione ecclesiae).Wycliffe regarded it as a sin to incite the pope to excommunicate laymen who had deprived wicked clergy of their temporalities, his dictum being that a man in a state of sin had no claim upon government.

1380 – 1410 Wycliffe Manuscript

Wycliffe blamed the Benedictine and professor of theology at Oxford, William Wynham of St. Albans (where the anti-Wycliffe trend was considerable) for making public controversies which had previously been confined to the academic arena. Wycliffe himself tells (Sermones, iii. 199) how he concluded that there was a great contrast between what the Church was and what it ought to be, and saw the necessity for reform. His ideas stress the perniciousness of the temporal rule of the clergy and its incompatibility with the teaching of Christ and the apostles, and make note of the tendencies which were evident in the measures of the „Good Parliament”.

Wycliffe’s Public Declaration of his Ideas

Wycliffe was among those to whom the thought of the secularization of ecclesiastical properties in England was welcome. His patron was John of Gaunt. He was no longer satisfied with his chair as the means of propagating his ideas, and soon after his return from Bruges he began to express them in tracts and longer works–his great work, the Summa theologiae, was written in support of them. In the first book, concerned with the government of God and the ten commandments, he attacked the temporal rule of the clergy–in temporal things the king is above the pope, and the collection of annates and indulgences is simony. But he entered the politics of the day with his great work De civili dominio. Here he introduced those ideas by which the good parliament was governed– which involved the renunciation by the Church of temporal dominion. The items of the „long bill” appear to have been derived from his work. In this book are the strongest outcries against the Avignon system with its commissions, exactions, squandering of charities by unfit priests, and the like. To change this is the business of the State. If the clergy misuses ecclesiastical property, it must be taken away; if the king does not do this, he is remiss. The work contains 18 strongly stated theses, opposing the governing methods of the rule of the Church and the straightening out of its temporal possessions. Wycliffe had set these ideas before his students at Oxford in 1376, after becoming involved in controversy with William Wadeford and others. Rather than restricting these matters to the classroom, he wanted them proclaimed more widely and wanted temporal and spiritual lords to take note. While the latter attacked him and sought ecclesiastical censure, he recommended himself to the former by his criticism of the worldly possessions of the clergy.

Wycliffe’s Conflict with the Church

Wycliffe wanted to see his ideas actualized–his fundamental belief was that the Church should be poor, as in the days of the apostles. He had not yet broken with the mendicant friars, and from these John of Gaunt chose Wycliffe’s defenders. While the Reformer later claimed that it was not his purpose to incite temporal lords to confiscation of the property of the Church, the real tendencies of the propositions remained unconcealed. The result of the same doctrines in Bohemia–that land which was richest in ecclesiastical foundations–was that in a short time the entire church estate was taken over and a revolution brought about in the relations of temporal holdings. It was in keeping with the plans of Gaunt to have a personality like Wycliffe on his side. Especially in London the Reformer’s views won support; partisans of the nobility attached themselves to him, and the lower orders gladly heard his sermons. He preached in city churches, and London rang with his praises.

The first to oppose his theses were monks of those orders which held possessions, to whom his theories were dangerous. Oxford and the episcopate were later blamed by the Curia, which charged them with so neglecting their duty that the breaking of the evil fiend into the English sheepfold could be noticed in Rome before it was in England. Wycliffe was summoned before William Courtenay, bishop of London, on Feb. 19, 1377, in order „to explain the wonderful things which had streamed forth from his mouth.” The exact charges are not known, as the matter did not get as far as a definite examination. Gaunt, the earl marshal Henry Percy, and a number of other friends accompanied Wycliffe, and four begging friars were his advocates. A crowd gathered at the church, and at the entrance of the party animosities began to show, especially in an angry exchange between the bishop and the Reformer’s protectors. Gaunt declared that he would humble the pride of the English clergy and their partisans, hinting at the intent to secularize the possessions of the Church.

Most of the English clergy were irritated by this encounter, and attacks upon Wycliffe began, finding their response in the second and third books of his work dealing with civil government. These books carry a sharp polemic, hardly surprising when it is recalled that his opponents charged Wycliffe with blasphemy and scandal, pride and heresy. He appeared to have openly advised the secularization of English church property, and the dominant parties shared his conviction that the monks could better be controlled if they were relieved from the care of secular affairs.

The bitterness occasioned by this advice will be better understood when it is remembered that at that time the papacy was at war with the Florentines and was in dire straits. The demand of the Minorites that the Church should live in poverty as it did in the days of the apostles was not pleasing in such a crisis. It was under these conditions that Pope Gregory XI, who in January, 1377, had gone from Avignon to Rome, sent, on May 22 five copies of his bull against Wycliffe, despatching one to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the others to the bishop of London, Edward III, the chancellor, and the university; among the enclosures were 18 theses of his, which were denounced as erroneous and dangerous to Church and State.

The reformatory activities of Wycliffe effectively began here: all the great works, especially his Summa theologiae, are closely connected with the condemnation of his 18 theses, while the entire literary energies of his later years rest upon this foundation. The next aim of his opponents–to make him out a revolutionary in politics–failed. The situation in England resulted in damage to them; on June 21, 1377, Edward III died. His successor was Richard II, a boy, who was under the influence of John of Gaunt, his uncle. So it resulted that the bull against Wycliffe did not become public till Dec. 18. Parliament, which met in October, came into sharp conflict with the Curia. Among the propositions which Wycliffe, at the direction of the government, worked out for parliament was one which speaks out distinctly against the exhaustion of England by the Curia.

Wycliffe tried to gain public favour by laying his theses before parliament, and then made them public in a tract, accompanied by explanations, limitations, and interpretations. After the session of parliament was over, he was called upon to answer, and in March, 1378, he appeared at the episcopal palace at Lambeth to defend himself. The preliminaries were not yet finished when a noisy mob gathered with the purpose of saving him; the king’s mother, Joan of Kent, also took up his cause. The bishops, who were divided, satisfied themselves with forbidding him to speak further on the controversy. At Oxford the vice chancellor, following papal directions, confined the Reformer for some time in Black Hall, from which Wycliffe was released on threats from his friends; the vice-chancellor was himself confined in the same place because of his treatment of Wycliffe. The latter then took up the usage according to which one who remained for 44 days under excommunication came under the penalties executed by the State, and wrote his De incarcerandis fedelibus, in which he demanded that it should be legal for the excommunicated to appeal to the king and his council against the excommunication; in this writing he laid open the entire case and in such a way that it was understood by the laity. He wrote his 33 conclusions, in Latin and English. The masses, some of the nobility, and his former protector, John of Gaunt, rallied to him.

Before any further steps could be taken at Rome, Gregory XI died (1378). But Wycliffe was already engaged in one of his most important works, that dealing with the truth of Holy Scripture. The sharper the strife became, the more Wycliffe had recourse to Scripture as the basis of all Christian doctrinal opinion, and expressly proved this to be the only norm for Christian faith. In order to refute his opponents, he wrote the book in which he showed that Holy Scripture contains all truth and, being from God, is the only authority. He referred to the conditions under which the condemnation of his 18 theses was brought about; and the same may be said of his books dealing with the Church, the office of king, and the power of the pope–all completed within the space of two years (1378-79).

Wycliffe wrote, “The Church is the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. It includes the Church triumphant in heaven… and the Church militant or men on earth. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation. Its head is Christ. No pope may say that he is the head, for he can not say that he is elect or even a member of the Church.”

Statement Regarding Royal Power

It would be a mistake to assume that Wycliffe’s doctrine of the Church–which made so great an impression upon John Hus, who adopted it literally and fully–was occasioned by the great schism (1378-1429). The principles of the doctrine were already embodied in his De civili dominio. The contents of the book dealing with the Church are closely connected with the decision respecting the 18 theses. The attacks on Pope Gregory XI grow ever more extreme. Wycliffe’s stand with respect to the ideal of poverty became continually firmer, as well as his position with regard to the temporal rule of the clergy. Closely related to this attitude was his book De officio regis, the content of which was foreshadowed in his 33 conclusions: One should be instructed with reference to the obligations which lie in regard to the kingdom in order to see how the two powers, royal and ecclesiastical, may support each other in harmony in the body corporate of the Church.

The royal power, Wycliffe taught, is consecrated through the testimony of Holy Scripture and the Fathers. Christ and the apostles rendered tribute to the emperor. It is a sin to oppose the power of the king, which is derived immediately from God. Subjects, above all the clergy, should pay him dutiful tribute. The honours which attach to temporal power hark back to the king; those which belong to precedence in the priestly office, to the priest. The king must apply his power with wisdom, his laws are to be in unison with those of God. From God laws derive their authority, including those which royalty has over against the clergy. If one of the clergy neglects his office, he is a traitor to the king who calls him to answer for it. It follows from this that the king has an „evangelical” control. Those in the service of the Church must have regard for the laws of the State. In confirmation of this fundamental principle the archbishops in England make sworn submission to the king and receive their temporalities. The king is to protect his vassals against damage to their possessions; in case the clergy through their misuse of the temporalities cause injury, the king must offer protection. When the king turns over temporalities to the clergy, he places them under his jurisdiction, from which later pronouncements of the popes can not release them. If the clergy relies on papal pronouncements, it must be subjected to obedience to the king.

This book, like those that preceded and followed, had to do with the reform of the Church, in which the temporal arm was to have an influential part. Especially interesting is the teaching which Wycliffe addressed to the king on the protection of his theologians. This did not mean theology in its modern sense, but knowledge of the Bible. Since the law must be in agreement with Scripture, knowledge of theology is necessary to the strengthening of the kingdom; therefore the king has theologians in his entourage to stand at his side as he exercises power. It is their duty to explain Scripture according to the rule of reason and in conformity with the witness of the saints; also to proclaim the law of the king and to protect his welfare and that of his kingdom.

Wycliffe and the Pope

The books and tracts of Wycliffe’s last six years include continual attacks upon the papacy and the entire hierarchy of his times. Each year they focus more and more, and at the last pope and Antichrist seem to him practically equivalent concepts. Yet there are passages which are moderate in tone; Lechler identifies three stages in Wycliffe’s relations with the papacy. The first step, which carried him to the outbreak of the schism, involves moderate recognition of the papal primacy; the second, which carried him to 1381, is marked by an estrangement from the papacy; and the third shows him in sharp contest. However, Wycliffe reached no valuation of the papacy before the outbreak of the schism different from his later appraisal. If in his last years he identified the papacy with antichristianity, the dispensability of this papacy was strong in his mind before the schism.

Wycliffe’s influence was never greater than at the moment when pope and antipope sent their ambassadors to England in order to gain recognition for themselves. In the ambassadors’ presence, he delivered an opinion before parliament that showed, in an important ecclesiastical political question (the matter of the right of asylum in Westminster Abbey), a position that was to the liking of the State. How Wycliffe came to be active in the interest of Urban is seen in passages in his latest writings, in which he expressed himself in regard to the papacy in a favorable sense. On the other hand he states that “it is not necessary to go either to Rome or to Avignon in order to seek a decision from the pope, since the triune God is everywhere. Our pope is Christ.” It seems clear that Wycliffe was an opponent of that papacy which had developed since Constantine. He taught that the Church can continue to exist even though it have no visible leader; but there can be no damage when the Church possesses a leader of the right kind. To distinguish between what the pope should be, if one is necessary, and the pope as he appeared in Wycliffe’s day was the purpose of his book on the power of the pope. The Church militant, Wycliffe taught, needs a head–but one whom God gives the Church. The elector [cardinal] can only make someone a pope if the choice relates to one who is elect [of God]. But that is not always the case. It may be that the elector is himself not predestined and chooses one who is in the same case–a veritable Antichrist. One must regard as a true pope one who in teaching and life most nearly follows Jesus Christ and Saint Peter.

Wycliffe distinguished the true from the false papacy. Since all signs indicated that Urban VI was a reforming and consequently a „true” pope, the enthusiasm which Wycliffe manifested for him is easily understood. These views concerning the Church and church government are those which are brought forward in the last books of his Summa, „De simonia, de apostasia, de blasphemia.” The battle which over the theses was less significant than the one he waged against the monastic orders when he saw the hopes quenched which had gathered around the „reform pope;” and when he was withdrawn from the scene as an ecclesiastical politician and occupied himself exclusively with the question of the reform of the Church.

Wycliffe’s Relation to the English Bible

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The Bible ought to be the common possession of all Christians, and needed to be made available for common use in the language of the people. National honour seemed to require this, since members of the nobility possessed the Bible in French. Wycliffe set himself to the task. While it is not possible exactly to define his part in the translation–which was based on the Vulgate–there is no doubt that it was his initiative, and that the success of the project was due to his leadership. From him comes the translation of the New Testament, which was smoother, clearer, and more readable than the rendering of the Old Testament by his friend Nicholas of Hereford. The whole was revised by Wycliffe’s younger contemporary John Purvey in 1388. Thus the mass of the people came into possession of the Bible; even as the misguided cry of Wycliffe’s opponents stated: „The jewel of the clergy has become the toy of the laity.”

In spite of the zeal with which the hierarchy sought to destroy it, there still exist about 150 manuscripts, complete or partial, containing the translation in its revised form. From this one may easily infer how widely diffused it was in the fifteenth century. For this reason the Wycliffeites in England were often designated by their opponents as „Bible men.” Just as Luther’s version had great influence upon the German language, so Wycliffe’s, by reason of its clarity, beauty, and strength, influenced English.

Wycliffe’s Activity as a Preacher

Wycliffe aimed to do away with the existing hierarchy and replace it with the „poor priests” who lived in poverty, were bound by no vows, had received no formal consecration, and preached the Gospel to the people. These itinerant preachers spread the teachings of Wycliffe. Two by two they went, barefoot, wearing long dark-red robes and carrying a staff in the hand, the latter having symbolic reference to their pastoral calling, and passed from place to place preaching the sovereignty of God. The bull of Gregory XI. impressed upon them the name of Lollards, intended as an opprobrious epithet, but it became a name of honour. Even in Wycliffe’s time the „Lollards” had reached wide circles in England and preached „God’s law, without which no one could be justified.”

The Anti-Wycliffe Movement

In the summer of 1381 Wycliffe formulated his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper in twelve short sentences,and made it a duty to advocate it everywhere. Then the English hierarchy proceeded against him. The chancellor of the University of Oxford had some of the declarations pronounced heretical. When this fact was announced to Wycliffe, he declared that no one could change his convictions. He then appealed–not to the pope nor to the ecclesiastical authorities of the land, but to the king. He published his great confession upon the subject and also a second writing in English intended for the common people. His pronouncements were no longer limited to the classroom, they spread to the masses. The followers of John Wycliffe, the Lollards, grew greatly in number throughout the land.

„Every second man that you meet,” writes a contemporary, „is a Lollard!” In the midst of this commotion came the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Although Wycliffe disapproved of the revolt, he was blamed. Yet his friend and protector John of Gaunt was the most hated by the rebels, and where Wycliffe’s influence was greatest the uprising found the least support. While in general the aim of the revolt was against the spiritual nobility, this came about because they were nobles, not because they were churchmen. Wycliffe’s old enemy, Courtenay, now Archbishop of Canterbury, called (1382) an ecclesiastical assembly of notables at London. During the consultations an earthquake occurred (May 21); the participants were terrified and wished to break up the assembly, but Courtenay declared the earthquake a favorable sign which meant the purification of the earth from erroneous doctrine.

Of the 24 propositions attributed to Wycliffe without mentioning his name, ten were declared heretical and fourteen erroneous. The former had reference to the transformation in the sacrament, the latter to matters of church order and institutions. It was forbidden from that time to hold these opinions or to advance them in sermons or in academic discussions. All persons disregarding this order were to be subject to prosecution. To accomplish this the help of the State was necessary; but the commons rejected the bill. The king, however, had a decree issued which permitted the arrest of those in error. The citadel of the reformatory movement was Oxford, where Wycliffe’s most active helpers were; these were laid under the ban and summoned to recant, and Nicholas of Hereford went to Rome to appeal. In similar fashion the poor priests were hindered in their work.

On Nov. 18, 1382, Wycliffe was summoned before a synod at Oxford; he appeared, though apparently broken in body in consequence of a stroke, but nevertheless determined. He still commanded the favour of the court and of parliament, to which he addressed a memorial. He was neither excommunicated then, nor deprived of his position.

Last Days of John Wycliffe

Wycliffe returned to Lutterworth, and sent out tracts against the monks and Urban VI, since the latter, contrary to the hopes of Wycliffe, had not turned out to be a reforming or „true” pope, but had involved in mischievous conflicts. The crusade in Flanders aroused the Reformer’s biting scorn, while his sermons became fuller-voiced and dealt with the imperfections of the Church. The literary achievements of Wycliffe’s last days, such as the Trialogus, stand at the peak of the knowledge of his day. His last work, the Opus evangelicum, the last part of which he named in characteristic fashion „Of Antichrist,” remained uncompleted.

While Wycliffe was in the parish church on Holy Innocents’ Day, Dec. 28, 1384, he again suffered a stroke, and was carried out the side-door of his church, in his chair. John Wycliffe died on the last day of the year, three days later. The Council of Constance declared Wycliffe (on May 4, 1415) a stiff-necked heretic and under the ban of the Church. It was decreed that his books be burned and his remains be exhumed. This last did not happen till twelve more years later, when at the command of Pope Martin V they were dug up, burned, and the ashes cast into the river Swift which flows through Lutterworth.

None of Wycliffe’s contemporaries left a complete picture of his person, his life, and his activities. The pictures representing him are from a later period. One must be content with certain scattered expressions found in the history of the trial by William Thorpe (1407). It appears that Wycliffe was spare of body, indeed of wasted appearance, and not strong physically. He was of unblemished walk in life, says Thorpe, and was regarded affectionately by people of rank, who often consorted with him, took down his sayings, and clung to him. Thorpe continued, „I indeed clove to none closer than to him, the wisest and most blessed of all men whom I have ever found. From him one could learn in truth what the Church of Christ is and how it should be ruled and led.” John Hus wished that his soul might be wherever that of Wycliffe was found.

One may not say that Wycliffe was a comfortable opponent to meet. Thomas Netter of Walden highly esteemed the old Carmelite monk John Kynyngham in that he „so bravely offered himself to the biting speech of the heretic and to words that stung as being without the religion of Christ.” But this example of Netter is not well chosen, since the tone of Wycliffe toward Kynyngham is that of a junior toward an elder whom one respects, and he handled other opponentsin similar fashion. But when he turned upon them his roughest side, as for example in his sermons, polemical writings and tracts, he met the attacks with a tone that could not be styled friendly.

Wycliffe’s Doctrines

Wycliffe’s first encounter with the official Church of his time was prompted by his zeal in the interests of the State, his first tracts and greater works of ecclesiastical-political content defended the privileges of the State, and from these sources developed a strife out of which the next phases could hardly be determined. One who studies these books in the order of their production with reference to their inner content finds a direct development with a strong reformatory tendency. This was not originally doctrinal; when it later took up matters of dogma, as in the teaching concerning transubstantiation, the purpose was the return to original simplicity in the government of the Church. But it would have been against the diplomatic practice of the time to have sent to the peace congress at Bruges, in which the Curia had an essential part, a participant who had become known at home by heretical teaching.

Wycliffe earned his great repute as a philosopher at an early date. Henry Knighton says that in philosophy, Wycliffe was second to none, and in scholastic discipline incomparable. If this pronouncement seems hard to justify, now that Wycliffe’s writings are in print, it must be borne in mind that not all his philosophical works are extant. If Wycliffe was in philosophy the superior of his contemporaries and had no equal in scholastic discipline, he belongs with the series of great scholastic philosophers and theologians in which England in the Middle Ages was so rich–with Alexander of Hales, Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus, Occam and Bradwardine. There was a period in his life when he devoted himself exclusively to scholastic philosophy: „when I was still a logician,” he used later to say. The first „heresy” which „he cast forth into the world” rests as much upon philosophical as upon theological grounds.

Wycliffe on Philosophy

Wycliffe’s fundamental principle of the preexistence in thought of all reality involves the most serious obstacle to freedom of the will; the philosopher could assist himself only by the formula that the free will of man was something predetermined of God. He demanded strict dialectical training as the means of distinguishing the true from the false, and asserted that logic (or the syllogism)furthered the knowledge of catholic verities; ignorance of logic was the reason why men misunderstood Scripture, since men overlooked the connection–the distinction between idea and appearance. Wycliffe was not merely conscious of the distinction between theology and philosophy, but his sense of reality led him to pass by scholastic questions. He left aside philosophical discussions which seemed to have no significance for the religious consciousness and those which pertained purely to scholasticism: „we concern ourselves with the verities that are, and leave asidethe errors which arise from speculation on matters which are not.”

Wycliffe on Scripture

The Bible alone was authoritative and, according to his own conviction and that of his disciples, was fully sufficient for the government of this world (De sufficientia legis Christi). Out of it he drew his comprehensive statements in support of his reformatory views–after intense study and many spiritual conflicts. He tells that as a beginner he was desperate to comprehend the passages dealing with the activities of the divine Word, until by the grace of God he was able to gather the right sense of Scripture, which he then understood. But that was not a light task. Without knowledge of the Bible there can be no peace in the life of the Church or of society, and outside of it there is no real and abiding good; it is the one authority for the faith.

These teachings Wycliffe promulgated in his great work on the truth of Scripture, and in other greater and lesser writings. For him the Bible was the fundamental source of Christianity which is binding on all men. From this one can easily see how the next step came about: the furnishing of the Bible to the people in their mother tongue. Wycliffe was called „Doctor evangelicus” by his English and Bohemian followers. Of all the reformers who preceded Martin Luther, Wycliffe put most emphasis on Scripture: „Even though there were a hundred popes and though every mendicant monk were a cardinal, they would be entitled to confidence only in so far as they accorded with the Bible.” Therefore in this early period it was Wycliffe who recognized and formulated the formal principle of the Reformation– the unique authority of the Bible for the belief and life of the Christian.

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