John Wycliff – Everybody Should Have a Bible

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Acts 1:8, Jan 31, 2003.

  1. Acts 1:8

    Acts 1:8
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    This was inspiring so I'm posting it.

    [​IMG]

    How many Bibles do you have? I did a quick count in my office and came up with more than thirty-five. There may not be quite that many Bibles in your home, but I suppose the average Christian household has at least half a dozen. But just six hundred years ago, you might be fortunate if you ever once saw a single Bible in English, much less own one. Who got the ball rolling from no Bibles for the people to millions? One man instrumental in getting the Bible to the common folk was named John Wycliff.

    Wycliff was born in 1329, in England. He was a man of rather humble origin, but of outstanding intellect. He attended Oxford University, and soon became a professor there. His brilliance was obvious to all, and evidenced in debate and discussion. He was beyond doubt the leading philosopher of Oxford University.

    In the course of time, Wycliff was invited to serve as a chaplain in the king’s royal court, and he soon offended the church by supporting the government’s right to seize the property of clergymen who were patently corrupt. Wycliff thought that if God had given property to the church, He had given to them to be good stewards over it. And corrupt churchmen should be relieved of their stewardship! Obviously, the Pope didn’t like this attitude at all.

    But Wycliff was an outspoken opponent of the papacy; he called the Pope "the Anti-Christ, the proud, worldly priest of Rome, and the most cursed of robbers and pick-pockets." He didn’t think there was anything magical about the Pope. He thought that if the Pope was a worldly, unspiritual man (and many of them were in those days), and that he ought to be considered a heretic and deposed. As you might guess, the Roman Pontiff could give just as good as he got. Pope Gregory said that Wycliff was "vomiting out of the filthy dungeon of his heart the most wicked and damnable heresies," and that he tried to overthrow the church. Of course, the Pope condemned his views in 1377, but influential political friends protected him from the terrors of the Inquisition.

    Just what was it that Wycliff opposed in the Roman Catholic Church? He was against many of their central doctrines. He opposed the teaching of transubstantiation. That is the claim that Jesus is physically, bodily, present in the bread and wine of communion; that Christians literally eat the body and blood of Jesus at the Lord’s table. Wycliff believed that Jesus was spiritually present in the Lord’s Supper, not physically present.

    Wycliff condemned the worship of saints, and said that every man has access to God, and doesn’t need a priest to get to God. He thought that it was more important to worship God in spirit and truth rather than with impressive traditions.

    He also held that the real Church consisted of God’s chosen people, who didn’t need a priest to mediate with God for them. In addition, Wycliff believed that the church was far too interested in worldly authority, and had forfeited its spiritual authority by its greed for political power.

    The traditions and customs of the church didn’t matter much to John Wycliff. He was a greatly educated man, but didn’t think that formal education was the most important thing for a minister. He once pointed out: "The Apostles had no college degrees!"

    But as much as anything else, Wycliff believed that the Roman Catholic Church was wrong in the way that it treated the Bible. In those days, the teaching of the church was more important than the teachings of the Bible. Wycliff didn’t agree with this at all. He earnestly taught that where the Bible and the church do not agree, it is the Bible that should be followed, not the church. That may seem obvious to you today, but it was revolutionary in the high days of the Papal throne. Wycliff thought the Bible was the ultimate authority, not any Pope or council. That’s why he thought it was so important to get the Bible into the hands of common folk.

    So, one of the charges against Wycliff was that he had made the Bible common and more open to laymen and even women! In those days, people thought it was good for the clergy to be educated and well read in the Bible, but they thought that giving the Bible to the common folk was like casting pearls before swine. Church authorities were instrumental in having the reading of Wycliff Bibles forbidden under penalty of death. Can you imagine that? The death penalty for reading the Bible! Many martyrs perished in flames for refusing to give up the book.

    More than anything, Wycliff was a man devoted to the scriptures. It had been hundreds of years since anybody was really concerned with getting the Bible into the hands of common people. He once said, "The Sacred Scriptures are the property of the people, and one which no one should be allowed to take from them . . . Christ and His apostles converted the world by making known the Scriptures to men in a way they could understand . . . and I pray with all my heart that through doing the things contained in this book we may all together come to everlasting life."

    Most church leaders felt that they were wasting their time trying to teach the Bible to the common people. But Wycliff believed that people had a hard time understanding the Bible because incompetent and ignorant people were teaching it so poorly. For this reason, Wycliff put a lot of emphasis on preaching the word, and doing it well. While at Oxford, he attracted many enthusiastic supporters through his energetic preaching and teaching. While other preachers told stories about the saints and interesting fables, Wycliff taught the Word of God. His reputation for exegetical teaching - for letting the Bible speak for itself - spread across the land. His sermons were powerful. His vigorous pamphlets were widely distributed. He organized a group of priests to preach throughout the land. He thought that preaching was the most important duty of a minister, and called those pastors content to let others preach for them "murderers of Jesus."

    Before long, his followers numbered in the hundreds, and became known as "Lollards" - which may mean "mutterer" or "mumbler;" perhaps for the way the Word of God was always on their lips. By 1395, the Lollards had developed into an organized group, with their own ministers and popular support. They stressed a Bible-based religion; the availability of the Bible to the common man, and good preaching. Wycliff and the Lollards became a small reformation that began a hundred years before Martin Luther. And the Lollard’s passion for the Bible prepared the ground for Luther’s Reformation when it came to England.

    But the authorities of the church couldn’t stand to let Wycliff keep preaching the doctrines that threatened the Pope’s power. Friends in high places gradually deserted him, and church authorities eventually forced him out of his influential teaching position at Oxford.

    On a day in May of 1378, the teachings of John Wycliff were put on trial in the Blackfriar’s Monastery of London. As the judges took their seats, a sudden cry of terror erupted. The walls of the judgment-hall trembled; and earthquake shook the city of London. Some thought this was God speaking through nature, voicing His support of the accused reformer. But the trial went on.

    And in the end, Wycliff was condemned and excommunicated. He was allowed to retire to a small town, where he worked on his translation of the Bible into English. Wycliff had expected to meet with a violent death from his persecutors, but God allowed him to finish his work before he died. He lived to be 64 years old.

    In retrospect, John Wycliff has been called "the Morning Star of the Reformation" because of his insistence that the Bible was the only legitimate authority for faith and practice.

    Thirty-one years after he died, a church council formally condemned Wycliff. Twelve years later his body was dug up and removed from the "holy ground" surrounding the church. His bones were burnt and cast into a river. But somehow it was all very fitting; because the river that bore his ashes eventually emptied into the ocean, and its waters circulated all around the world. So did the passion for the word of God that so marked the life of John Wycliff. So, the next time you pick up a Bible in a language you can read, thank God for men like John Wycliff.

    From: http://calvarychapel.com/simivalley/wycliff.htm
     
  2. GraceSaves

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    Or perhaps you could read history and realize that at this time, there was still no printing press (not for almost another hundred years), so only the wealthy would have been able to afford a hand-copied Bible (have you ever tried to do that?). And, you might note that the Bible was already available in multiple vernacular langauges about this time. Again, hand-copied, because it was an ordeal to get a Bible produced.

    Of course, if you went to Mass every day, you got to hear the Word of God everyday. But instead, Wycliff wanted things his way, because, surely he knows best.

    Was John Wycliff sincere? I have no doubt about it. I think Martin Luther and John Calivn and every other reformer were sincere. But that's like the difference in precision and accuracy. These guys were precise, but they weren't accurate.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  3. 3AngelsMom

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    And that only worked if you could understand Latin.

    :rolleyes:

    John Wycliff was sent by God to get the Bible out to common lay people. It has been said that we didn't need to read it for ourselves. I find that interesting.

    God Bless.
     
  4. neal4christ

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    Just a quick count, I have 75 printed whole Bibles (could be more, some may be hiding right this second). This is not counting New Testaments, computer Bibles, or handheld Bibles. It is my hobby to collect Bibles. :rolleyes:

    Neal
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    1) Exaclty why do you need to know Latin to read Scriptures in the vernacular langauge? I fail to follow the logic there.

    2) Did Wycliff invent the printing press? Because last I checked, that's what got the Bible into mass production so that the common man could own a copy.

    3) Please do not say "it has been said" if you aren't going to provide a quote. Provide me with an official quotation from the Church saying that, and I'll give you credence. Otherwise, your statement holds no weight.

    God bless,

    Grant

    P.S. How do you know that he was sent by God. Was John Calvin also sent by God? And Martin Luther? How about Joseph Smith? Were they all sent by God, even though they fundamentally disagree with one another? Or was he sent by God simply because you agree with him?

    Be honest.
     
  6. GraceSaves

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    I had the honor of being a Eucharistic Minister for the first time in my life at the 7am Mass today. I was able to share the Blood of Christ with others, which is a powerful and humbling experience.

    Oh, yeah. Wycliff was wrong. ;)
     
  7. Netcurtains3

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    VULGATE means language of the common man (I think). The Roman version of Catholicism originated in Latin speaking countries and is still strong in Latin type countries today. In the non-Latin world protestantism and Orthodoxism developed most strongly.
    It is true (as the old testament points out), language does cause divisions. The first division was between the Greeks and the Latins and then it was the Germanics and Latins.
    Christianity is tending towards reuniting as the world is getting smaller and the English tongue is getting more universally understood. It is just a tendancy - not strong as yet. There was nothing particularly wrong with Latin bibles apart from Germanic and Greek peoples, quite rightly, felt it foreign and therefore a foreign religion and therefore wrong.
     
  8. Catholic Dad

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    I don't know about that. We had a guy working here in Mississippi who was from England. I still haven't figured out half of what he said. :D

    "The Americans and the British are two people separated by a common language" Will Rogers (I think that is who said it)
     
  9. 3AngelsMom

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    I don't know about that. We had a guy working here in Mississippi who was from England. I still haven't figured out half of what he said. :D

    "The Americans and the British are two people separated by a common language" Will Rogers (I think that is who said it)
    </font>[/QUOTE]He probably says the same about you! [​IMG] I don't understand half the stuff my husband says and he is only from Louisiana. If you are from the DEEP south you probably sounded like you were speaking German to him. [​IMG]
     
  10. Netcurtains3

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    ...lol and lets not even talk about the english and the irish (or scottish or Australians for that matter).
     
  11. Carson Weber

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    Is it that time again to defuse the false propaganda bomb AdoptedByGod has planted on this forum? [​IMG]

    Myth: During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church kept the Bible in Latin so no one could understand it, and it forbid people to translate the Bible into their own language.

    Truth: Today Latin is a dead language, but that was not always true. For centuries it was the universal language of Europe. Don’t forget that during this time most people were illiterate; they couldn’t read any language at all. But whoever could read, read Latin. Thus, the Church did not propagate the Bible in Latin in order to keep people from understanding it, but quite the opposite, they wanted to make sure that any literate person, from any country, could understand it. Pope St. Gregory I, who died in 604, wrote, "The Emperor of heaven, the Lord of men and of angels, has sent you His epistles for your life’s advantage and yet you neglect to read them eagerly. Study them, I beg you, and meditate daily on the words of your Creator. Learn the heart of God in the words of God, that you may sigh more eagerly for things eternal, that your soul may be kindled with greater longings for heavenly joys." Obviously, the Catholic Church wanted the Bible to be read by anyone who could read.

    But didn’t the Church forbid translating the Bible into the vernacular? No, not at all. Contrary to the modern myth, translating the Bible into vernacular languages was not a Protestant innovation.

    For instance, between 1466 and the onset of the Protestant Reformation in 1517 at least fourteen editions of the Bible appeared in High German, and five in Low German.

    From 1450 to 1550, there were more than forty Italian editions or translations of the Bible and eighteen French editions, as well as others in Bohemian, Belgian, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, and Hungarian.

    Spain published editions starting in 1478. A total of 626 editions appeared, of which 198 were in the vernacular languages, with the permission of the Catholic Church, before any Protestant version saw the light of day.

    In the preface to the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, the translators (though they blasted the Catholic Church) acknowledged that translating the Bible into the common language was no new invention, but had been the common practice for centuries before the Reformation:

    To have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up . . . but hath been . . . put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any nation.

    The truth is, during the Dark Ages the only thing that kept the Bible from disappearing along with the rest of Western civilization was the faithful Catholic monks who tirelessly copied the Scriptures by hand. If the Catholic Church had not diligently and reverently preserved the Bible, you would not have it today. Even Martin Luther grudgingly conceded as much when he wrote, "We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the word of God, that we received it from them, and that without them we would have no knowledge of it whatsoever.” If the Catholic Church wanted to suppress the Bible, why did it single-handedly preserve it during the Dark Ages? Why not just let it disappear?

    Gary Hoge
    Former Atheist
    Former Baptist
    Current Catholic

    taken from http://www.catholicoutlook.com/objbible4.html
     
  12. CatholicConvert

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    MOre of the same horsebiddlydung....

    Don't you guys EVER git tired of puttin' out this nonsense?

    Most church leaders felt that they were wasting their time trying to teach the Bible to the common people. But Wycliff believed that people had a hard time understanding the Bible because incompetent and ignorant people were teaching it so poorly.

    Maybe so. But eternal life is found in the eating Flesh and Blood of Christ (John 6: 53 -54) NOT in understanding every nuance of the Scriptures. To have eteranal life, all you must do is acknowledge your sinfulness, confess your sins (repent) and recieve the Eucharist for cleansing. Being university degreed is not necessary.

    For this reason, Wycliff put a lot of emphasis on preaching the word, and doing it well.

    Maybe. And maybe it was pride and the works of the flesh. YOU don't know. Neither do I, for that matter. But let's stop making a hero out of a rebel. People like him are the reason we are so splintered and schizmated today.

    While at Oxford, he attracted many enthusiastic supporters through his energetic preaching and teaching. While other preachers told stories about the saints and interesting fables, Wycliff taught the Word of God.

    So speaking of the saints and their lives lived in holiness for Christ is wrong? How is that any different than the fables you are telling about your hero, Mr. Wycliff?

    His reputation for exegetical teaching - for letting the Bible speak for itself - spread across the land.

    I imagine much the same was said about Jim Jones or a more modern day "prophet" Harold Camping (who seems to have lost his mind recently).

    His sermons were powerful.

    Eloquence is not necesarily holiness.

    His vigorous pamphlets were widely distributed. He organized a group of priests to preach throughout the land.

    PRIESTS? OH, he must have been an Anglican then, right? One of the members of the Church of Henry's Hormones. Splendid foundation upon which to base a "church" -- a fornicating and lying king. Nice.

    Yeah, and I also note that he took issue with the teachings of the Early Fathers, particularly on the Eucharist.

    Well, everyone has their heroes. If this is yours, good for you. Just don't expect a standing "O" from me.

    Brother Ed
     
  13. BobRyan

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    Fact: The catholic church engaged in burning many thousands of Bibles that were in the "hands of the people" and "in the language of the people".

    Fact: With Luther's German translation - the multi-varied dialects of German in Germany FINALLY began to "standardize" on the set we see today - DIRECTLY as a result of the Bible - ONE version being made available to the people for the first time.

    (But HOW could that be if nobody could read???! [​IMG] !) and yet.. it is so.

    The "other German" translations that the RCC DID allow in Germany - were NOT available to the common people. IN FACT one of the KEY arguments AGAINST Luther's translation was that the PEOPLE were too ignorant to be trusted with direct access to scripture. That they would fail to interpret it correctly without careful molding by the RC higher schools of education. That only the priests were capable - competent for the job. And how often do you hear the SAME complaint today when arguing AGAINST The Bible and the Bible alone as the SOLE judge of all faith and practice?

    IN Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. Australian Baptist Student

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    Hi there, I picked this up of another website. I do not know if it is accurate or not, maybe Carson or someone could look at the details and respond?

    The Bible was placed on Rome's Index of Forbidden Books list by the Council of Toulouse/Toledo in the year 1229. It remained there until the index was discontinued at Vatican Council II. Anyone reading or owning a 'forbidden' book was anathematized, or cursed and remanded to hell for doing so.

    Cannon 14 from the Council of Toulouse says that the Roman Catholic Church:

    "Forbids the laity to have in their possession any copy of the books of the Old and New Testament.... and most strictly forbids these works in the vulgar tongue."

    Roman Catholic apologist Karl Keating confirms this fact when he writes that, "the bishops at Toulouse restricted the use of the Bible until the [Albigensian] heresy was ended." (Page 45, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating). The peculiar thing is that the Bible remained on the Index of Forbidden Books for another 730 years! In his dance with truth, Mr. Keating takes care to omit this little fact.

    Still More Evidence. This teaching was confirmed at the Council of Trent (Session IV, April 8, 1546 Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures). The Council of Trent went further, stating that anyone who dared study Scriptures on their own must "be punished with the penalties by law established." With incredible audacity, the Council of Trent went so far as to forbid even the printing of and sale of the Bible! Anyone daring to violate this decree was anathematized, or cursed and damned to Hell for it. (Dogmatic Cannons and Decrees of the Council of Trent..., pages 11-13; Copyright 1977, 1912, with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. Tan Books and Publishers, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105)

    Still More Evidence Liguori, the most respected of Cannon Lawyers in the Roman Catholic Church, wrote that, "The Scriptures and books of Controversy may not be permitted in the vulgar tongue, as also they cannot be read without permission."

    And Yet Even More Evidence Pope Clement XI (1713), in his bull Unigenitus, wrote that "We strictly forbid them [the laity] to have the books of the Old and New Testament in the vulgar tongue."

    FACT 2: Since Vatican Council II (1965) The Roman Catholic Church now permits her people to read the Bible, and even offers an 'indulgence' of three hundred days off of Purgatory time for doing, if they read in for at least fifteen minutes at one sitting. (The Holy Bible, Douay-Confraternity version Title Page overleaf.)
    FACT 3: Vatican Council II confirmed all pronouncements of the Council of Trent, which, as we see above, forbade the Bible to the people.
     
  15. 3AngelsMom

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    If the Bible's were free for the reading, why were they chained to the Monastery walls?

    :rolleyes:
     
  16. 3AngelsMom

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    Australian Baptist Student:

    I have seen all of that before too, only not in that order. What happened to fact #1?

    We see facts 2 and 3, but 1 is awol!

    There are plenty of interesting 'records' of the things that Papal Rome did during the dark ages and early years. I have a collection of them myself.

    Seriously, was there a fact #1?
     
  17. GraceSaves

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    Because if somebody just decided to pick up the Bible up and run off with it under their coat, there would likely not be another Bible to replace it. Printing press...wasn't around....hello?

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  18. Born Again Catholic

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    Before the printing press a Bible printed by hand was worth about three years worth of wages. If the Bible your Church used was worth $150,000 and it was very difficult to replace this Bible with another(pretend Amazon.com didn't exist) would your Church take reasonable measures to protect it?

    Regarding burning Bibles. If I see a jehovah's witness Bible in a used book store I would have no problem buying it and then burning it so its distortion of the Word did not reach others. While I respect the KJV and the RSV there other protestant Bible translations which I would forbid my family to read and maybe they should be burned.

    Also of historical interest is Calvin he didn't care for the Sevetus Bible so he would burn them on a regular basis. he didn't stop there when he found Sevetus, Calvin decided to burn Sevetus at the stake.
     
  19. Bro. Curtis

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    So do you advocate the government censoring our reading materials, and other medias ?
     
  20. Born Again Catholic

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    Certainly somethings (ie child porn etc), religous books no.

    But I would have no problem encouraging men to turn over all their pornagraphic material and burning it up in some big voluntary communal bonfire if they wanted to add all their new age material and distortions of the Bible i would not have a problem.
     

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