John Wycliffe (1324-1384), also spelled Wyclif, lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the Morning star of the Reformation.

"Born in the 1300s, Wycliffe criticized abuses and false teachings in the Church. In 1382 he translated an English Bible -- the first European translation done in over 1,000 years. The Lollards, itinerant preachers he sent throughout England, inspired a spiritual revolution.

"But the Lollard movement was short-lived. The Church expelled Wycliffe from his teaching position at Oxford, and 44 years after he died, the Pope ordered his bones exhumed and burned. Intense persecution stamped out his followers and teachings. It would be nearly two-hundred years before men like Martin Luther resurrected the reforms of which Wycliffe dreamed." ^[1]^

"Those Heretics who pretend that the laity do not need to know God's law, and that the things which priests have told them is enough, do not deserve to be listened to. For the Bible is the faith of the Church, and the more widely it becomes known the better it will be. Therefore since the laity should know the faith, it should be taught in whatever language is most easily understood." - John Wycliffe ^[2]^

Notes

  1. ? John Wycliffe, A Man Ahead of His Time at Wycliffe.org.
  2. ? John Wycliffe, Speculum Secularium Dominorum, Opera Minora, ed. John Loserth (London: Wycliff Society, 1913) 74; cited in the Introduction to the Wycliffe New Testament, vii.

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