Did you know it’s been 500 years since the Protestant Reformation? For the next month or so I’m going to share some short biographies of some key reformers. Today: John Wycliffe (1320-1384):
“Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on his sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by his righteousness”
John Wycliffe is known as the first English reformer. He was a Priest in England when he began reading the Bible in Latin and saw how unbiblical Catholic doctrine had become. Meanwhile, the Pope had fled Rome for France and a rival Pope was elected – both of whom demanded the loyalty of all Christendom. Wycliffe refused, and encouraged others to do the same. Wycliffe recognised that the most effective way to oppose error was with the Scriptures, so he began the first ever English translation of the Bible. For this, he was declared a heretic by the Popes and placed under house arrest. There he died, but not before his translation had sowed the seeds of truth that would impact England for generations. Forty years after his death, the Church ordered his body exhumed and burned, then had his ashes dumped in the Swift River. But rather than stopping the Reformation, the truths that Wycliffe translated spread from England, across the sea, and into Europe, eventually resulting in what we call now the Protestant Reformation.