Reformation Heroes In 200 words: John Huss (1369-1415)

Did you know it’s been 500 years since the Protestant Reformation? For the last couple of weeks at church we’ve been sharing some short biographies of some key reformers.

Today’s hero: John Huss (1369-1415):

“Huss” means goose in Czech, and John Huss is known as the “goose that become a swan”. The story goes that before being burned at the stake for teaching that salvation is by faith not works, he declared that while his particular goose may be cooked, a swan would rise from his ashes 100 years later to confront the Catholic Church. Huss was born in poverty, but became a priest so that he could have an income. Later he found Wycliffe’s writings and through them was converted to Christ. He began preaching the gospel and soon became the most popular priest in Bohemia. The Catholic Church hated his popularity as much as they hated the gospel which he preached. A Church Council had been called to settle the papal schism – three (!) different Popes had been duly elected, each anathematized the others – and the Council of Constance was supposed to undo this. Instead they condemned Huss for preaching the gospel. Before burning him, they dressed him in his priestly robes, then stripped him naked, and placed a paper crown with mock flames and demons on his head. They burned him to death as he recited Psalm 51. One hundred years later, Luther would nail the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, and the Reformation would officially begin.

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