John Wycliffe, The Morning Star of the Reformation

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One of the most influential people of his time, John Wycliffe, was born into a large family of Saxon origin that spread out over the areas, now known as, Wycliffe-on-Tees. He was born in Ipreswell, Yorkshire, England, around 1324; he died on December 31, 1384, in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England. As a child, his education was close to home; eventually he attended Oxford and became an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer, and professor at Oxford University. Known for being opinionated, Wycliffe had many doctrines and theologies which were shaped around the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Bradwardine’s book, “On a Cause of God against the Pelagians”. He was born in an era where religion went hand-in-hand with most aspects of life, so we can only assume that he was born into a Christian family. Wycliffe was willing to die for what he believed in, and although he was not excommunicated, after his death he was declared a heretic by the Council of Constance, and his body was exhumed from consecrated ground, burned into ashes, and cast into River Swift, by orders of Pope Martin V, in 1428. Some people now refer to John Wycliffe as the “Morning star of the Reformation”. This is due to the fact that John Hus, who was influenced by Wycliffe’s teachings, greatly impacted Martin Luther, who was the cause of the Reformation centuries later. Unfortunately, John Hus was burned at the stake, along with many of Wycliffe’s other followers known as “Lollards”, after being declared a heretic. The name “Lollards” was given to followers of Wycliffe as an offensive nickname by Pope Gregory XI; eventually, the Lollards became quite fond of their nickname. Wycliffe studied at Oxford around 1345, where he too... ... middle of paper ... ...l. Wycliffe was right in another one of his teachings, the Church can survive without a visual Pope, many Christians do not seek advice from the Pope, instead they ask advice from God, who, as Wycliffe said, is our Spiritual and true Pope. Without Wycliffe’s teachings and his conscientious effort into translating the Bible, many Christians would still have to rely on the message of the Pope, which as we now know, is not always a good thing. Today, the Wyclif Foundation, which is named in John Wycliffe’s honour, is a foundation committed to translating the Bible into languages spoken everywhere in the world. He has given us the freedom to know God personally, and shaped the beliefs of many reformers after him, Martin Luther included. Just as his ashes continue to spread throughout the waters, his teachings and ideas continue to spread all throughout the world today.

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