John Wycliffe Reformer

 

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)        http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/john-wycliffe.html

 

John Wycliffe The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in 1380’s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was a theologian and early proponent of reform in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He initiated the first translation of the Bible into the English language and is considered the main precursor of the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was born at Ipreswell (modern Hipswell), Yorkshire, England, between 1320 and 1330; and he died at Lutterworth (near Leicester) December 31, 1384.

His family was of early Saxon origin, long settled in Yorkshire. In his day the family was a large one, covering a considerable territory, and its principal seat was Wycliffe-on-Tees, of which Ipreswell was an outlying hamlet. 1324 is the year usually given for Wycliffe’s birth. Wycliffe probably received his early education close to home. It is not known when he first went to Oxford, with which he was so closely connected till the end of his life. He was at Oxford in about 1345, when a series of illustrious names was adding glory to the fame of the university–such as those of Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Thomas Bradwardine, William of Occam, and Richard Fitzralph.

Wycliffe owed much to Occam; he showed an interest in natural science and mathematics, but applied himself to the study of theology, ecclesiastical law, and philosophy. Even his opponents acknowledged the keenness of his dialectic. His writings prove that he was well grounded in Roman and English law, as well as in native history. A family whose seat was in the neighborhood of Wycliffe’s home– Bernard Castle– had founded Balliol College, Oxford to which Wycliffe belonged, first as scholar, then as master. He attained the headship no later than 1360.

 

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The Start of the Reformation

 

1516-17, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar and papal commissioner for indulgences, was sent to Germany by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.[32] Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man;[33] and that only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man.[34] These good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.

On 31 October, 1517, Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly “searching, rather than doctrinaire.”[35] Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which asks: “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”[35]

Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs,”[36] insisting that, since forgiveness was God’s alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

According to Philipp Melanchthon, writing in 1546, Luther nailed a copy of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that same day — church doors acting as the bulletin boards of his time — an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation,[37] and celebrated each year on 31 October as Reformation Day. Some scholars have questioned the accuracy of Melanchthon’s account, noting that no contemporaneous evidence exists for it.[38] Others have countered that no such evidence is necessary, because this was the customary way of advertising an event on a university campus in Luther’s day.[39]

The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press.[40] Within two weeks, the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.

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Proverbs 3:13-18

Proverbs 3:13-18New International Version (NIV)

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.

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The Gospel of Mark: Scripture: Mark 6:30-34

“Jesus had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”

Scripture:  Mark 6:30-34

30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Meditation: What does the image of a shepherd tell us about God’s care for us? Shepherding was one of the oldest of callings in Israel, even before farming, since the Chosen People had traveled from place to place, living in tents, and driving their flocks from one pasture to another. Looking after sheep was no easy calling.  It required great skill and courage. Herds were often quite large, thousands or even ten thousands of sheep.  The flocks spent a good part of the year in the open country.  Watching over them required a great deal of attention and care. Sheep who strayed from the flock had to be sought out and brought back by the shepherd.  Since hyenas, jackals, wolves, and even bear were common and fed on sheep, the shepherds often had to do battle with these wild and dangerous beasts.  A shepherd literally had to put his life on the line in defending his sheep. Shepherds took turns watching the sheep at night to ward off any attackers. The sheep and their shepherds continually lived together. Their life was so intimately bound together that individual sheep, even when mixed with other flocks, could recognize the voice of their own shepherd and would come immediately when called by name.

The Old Testament often spoke of God as shepherd of his people, Israel.  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1)  We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3).  The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4, John 10). When he saw the multitude of people in need of protection and care, he was moved to respond with compassionate concern. His love was a personal love for each and every person who came to him in need. Peter the apostle called Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life freely submitted to Jesus, the Good Shepherd?  In the person of the Lord  Jesus we see the unceasing vigilance and patience of God’s love. In our battle against sin and evil, Jesus is ever ready to give us help, strength, and refuge.  Do you trust in his grace and help at all times?

“Lord, you guard and protect us from all evil.  Help me to stand firm in your word and to trust in your help in all circumstances.  May I always find rest and refuge in the shelter of your presence.”

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The Gospel of Mark: Scripture: Mark 6:14-29

“Some said, ‘John  the baptizer has been raised from the dead’ “

Scripture:  Mark 6:14-29

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these  powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli’jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero’di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married  her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero’di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he  heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.  22 For when Hero’di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you  wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Meditation: Do you court favor with the rich and the famous?  Scripture warns us of such danger (see Proverbs 23:1-2).  King Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to chastise Herod for his adulterous relationship.  Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded.  Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen. When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin.  Herod was a weak man.  He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right.  Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice.  God’s grace enables us to overcome fear and weakness in the face of temptation.  Do you allow his grace to fortify you with faith and courage when you face adversity?

“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed.   Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me strength and courage to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.”

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The Gospel of Mark:Scripture: Mark 6:14-29

“Some said, ‘John  the baptizer has been raised from the dead’ “

Scripture:  Mark 6:14-29

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these  powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli’jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero’di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married  her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero’di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he  heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.  22 For when Hero’di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you  wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Meditation: Do you court favor with the rich and the famous?  Scripture warns us of such danger (see Proverbs 23:1-2).  King Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to chastise Herod for his adulterous relationship.  Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded.  Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen. When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin.  Herod was a weak man.  He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right.  Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice.  God’s grace enables us to overcome fear and weakness in the face of temptation.  Do you allow his grace to fortify you with faith and courage when you face adversity?

“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed.   Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me strength and courage to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.”

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The Gospel of Mark:Scripture: Mark 6:7-13

“They anointed with oil man that were sick and healed them”

Scripture:  Mark 6:7-13

7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

Meditation: What kind of authority and power does the Lord want us to exercise on his behalf? Jesus gave his apostles both the power and the authority to speak and to act in his name.  He commanded them to do the works which he did — to cast out evil spirits, to heal, and to speak the word of God — the good news of the gospel which they received from Jesus. When Jesus spoke of power and authority he did something unheard of.  He wedded power and authority with love and humility.  The “world” and the “flesh” seek power for selfish gain.  Jesus teaches us to use it for the good of our neighbor.  Why does Jesus tell the apostles to “travel light” with little or no provision?  “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision.  The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.  He wills to work through and in each of us for his glory.  Are you ready to handle the power and authority which God wishes you to exercise on his behalf?  The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and talents.  Are you eager to place yourself at his service, to do whatever he bids you, and to witness his truth and saving power to whomever he sends you?

“Lord, make me a channel of your grace and healing love that others may find life and freedom in you.  Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the things of heaven.  May I witness the joy of the gospel both in word and deed.”

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