Course: Church History (1)
Course Title: Church History and the Standard of the New Testament
Lesson Title: Pre Reformation Reformers
Reformers before the Reformation
1. John Wycliffe (c.1329-1384) - The Morning Star of the Reformation
Born in Hipswell,
Philosophy – Realist
Influenced by Augustine
Doctor of Theology
Appointed by King as Rector of Lutterworth
Preached against Pope’s secular authority
Published tracts and leaflets
Papal Bull - 3 bulls sent (May 22, 1377)
(1) King – But King Edward III had died,
(3) Bishops – only bull to be acted upon.
Tried at Lambeth Palace April 1378.
Prohibited from preaching by the Archbishop of London, Bishop Courtney
Message from Queen Mother called for no judgment to be made against Wycliffe.
Influence of John of Gaunt
Retired to rectory at Lutterworth
Wrote Trialogues – upholding the supreme authority of scripture and conscience.
Teaching of John Wycliffe
Denied papal authority (temporal and spiritual)
Upheld the authority of Scripture
Denied compulsory tithes.
´Let him that is taught in the Word minister to him that teaches in all good things`
1381 Denied the doctrine of Transubstantiation (12 propositions).
First proclaimed at 4th Lateran Council 1215 under Pope Innocent III
Wrote ´Against Simony`
Wycliffe’s itinerant preachers.
c. 1380 enlisted ’poor priests’ known as ´Lollards`
John Wycliffe translated Bible from Latin Vulgate into English. Completed 1382.
Bible had to be handwritten. Printing not yet invented in the West.
Events that increased Wyclife’s influence.
Death of Edward III
Marriage between Richard II and Anne of
Jerome of Prague came to
Embraced Wycliffe’s teaching and took it back to
John of Gaunt friend of Wycliffe.
One third of English land owned by the Church
2. Council of
John Hus and John Wycliffe (posthumously) were both condemned by the Council of Constance.
John Hus (c.1373 -1415)
Held to the authority of scripture in determining matters of faith.
Condemned as heretic at the Council of Constance
Burned at the stake 1415
1415 Council of Constance – ordered John Wycliffe’s (c.1329-1384)
books to be burned.
Wycliffe’s remains to be dug up and burned.
1428 Wycliffe’s body burned and his ashes were scattered on the River.
3. Girolamo Savonarola (1452 –1498)
Preached against moral corruption of the clergy
Opposed Pope Alexander VI (Borgia)
1497 Bonfire of vanities in the Piazza della Signoria
Executed in the Piazza della Signoria on
4. Erasmus (1466/9-1536)
Published Greek New Testament (1516)
Accompanied by a new translation in Latin.
First printed at
First published printed edition of the Greek New Testament.
The Complutensian copy which formed part of the Polyglott of Cardinal Ximenes was printed 1514 but not published until 1522.
Pope Leo X initially sent Erasmus a letter of commendation, which he printed on the front pages with a border drawn by Hans Holbein.
Three margins showed emblems of the virtues and vices of the Church.
The fourth depicted the German victory under Arminius over the Romans under Varus in AD 9.
This is a description of the fourth border (1516 edition):
On the left is seen borne the great flag of the Germans.
On the right the Roman standard SPQR
(Senatus Populus Que Romanus)
The eagle is trailed on the ground
The Roman troops are in retreat.
The legend or inscription in the corner records the words of a German who has cut out the tongue of Roman. Holding it up he says:
Tundem, vipera, sibilare, desiste. ´O viper cease to hiss`.
Florus, Hist, lib iv, c.12.