John Wycliffe

The Morning Star of the Reformation

John Wycliffe was a Saxon, born in Hipswell, England. He earned degrees at Oxford University and became a doctor of theology in 1372. After serving as an envoy to France, representing England in a dispute with the Pope, he returned to England and published writings against the secular power of the Papacy.        

In spite of attempts by the Church to have Wycliffe arrested and assassinated, he continued to write and to preach. He maintained that no Pope nor council was infallible, and if their views contradicted the Bible, those views were wrong. He taught that the clergy should not rule as princes of the church, but should help the people and lead them to Christ.        

Finally prohibited by the Bishop of London from preaching, Wycliffe confined himself to writing and translating the Bible from Latin to English. Thirty-one years after his death, the Church ordered all his books burned, his bones dug up and burned, and his ashes scattered on the Thames River.


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