RRTV Reformation


1330-10-01 00:00:00

John Wycliffe “The Morning Star”

John Wycliffe is often described as a morning star of the reformation. First, the morning star is a star that shines brightly in the sky just before sunrise. Wycliffe showed us the Bible in the hands of the common people can change everything. He lived around 150 years before Martin Luther, as the first of the English reformers. He stood alone as a voice of change in his generation and in calling people back to the Bible. As an Oxford scholar, he denounced the friars' laziness, championed civil and religious liberty. John Wycliffe surprisingly was left in a relative state of peace, able to walk out his calling. He trained Laymen who would preach the Gospel all over the country. They carried their hand copied bibles in a time when owning a Bible in English was forbidden by the State Church. Wycliffe’s greatest contribution was completing the first translation of the Bible into the English language from the Latin Vulgate. It was not a perfect translation, but to a spiritually starving people, it pierced through the darkness that was covering England and Europe at the time and let beams of light begin shining into the darkness. The state church hated his powerful work so greatly, that after he died, he was dug up and burned and his ashes symbolically cast into the river. But it couldn’t stop what he began that would eventually be the reformation and that would become unstoppable. John Wycliffe chose to be the one in his generation.

1369-10-01 00:00:00

John Huss "Faithful Martyr"

When John Huss entered the priesthood in Bohemia, his intelligence was so fearsome that he was recognized and employed by the King’s court. In a few years, he had achieved recognition not only in his country but throughout Europe. Huss was the preacher of the Bethlehem Chapel and he preached the scriptures in the language of the people. Huss’ best friend Jerome had recently returned from England with the writings of John Wycliffe. The Queen of England, a former Princess of Bohemia, was a convert of John Wycliffe. Huss was encouraged by Wycliffe’s writings and as his impact grew throughout his homeland, he caught the attention of the Roman church and was summoned to trial. When asked if he wanted to recant, Huss said that “he preferred death over recantation”. Huss declared, “What errors shall I renounce? I know myself guilty of none.” Furious, the Roman church ordered Huss to be burnt at the stake. They had to light the fire three times. Meanwhile, Huss sang and prayed until his death. He stated, “Today you will roast a goose, but one hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” His legacy not only influenced Martin Luther but was the swan Huss prophesied. Over a hundred years later, the Moravians who call him their Founder became the first missionaries his legacy produced. The Moravians sparked a fire in John Wesley, who sparked then an English Awakening.

1483-10-01 00:00:00

Martin Luther “The Reformer”

There are events referred to as “turning points in history.” One turning point was a German Monk named Martin Luther. He was the right man at the right time. He was very pious and if salvation could be obtained by works, then he would have succeeded. Luther was called to the University of Wittenberg to teach and applied himself to the study scriptures in their original tongues From his studies, he taught five Solas of faith; By Grace Alone. By Faith Alone. By Scripture Alone. In Christ Alone. Glory to God Alone. Luther was an eloquent speaker and people loved to hear him preach. In 1516, Luther preached his famous sermon entitled, “the just shall live by faith.” But there was a question that the Reformation hinged on. How can a man be considered “just” in the sight of God? With God, though we often use big words and say a lot, it’s really simple -Christ justifies us. We get justification when we believe in our hearts and say Jesus is my Lord. Christ's forgiveness of our sins was his free gift to us. The state church used sin as a way to make money through something called indulgences. Luther preached a powerful sermon against Indulgences and explained the grace of God. Among notable events, on the festival of All Saints in 1517, Luther hammered his 95 theses onto the church door.

1484-10-01 00:00:00

Ulrich Zwingli “Shepherd Warrior” or “The Great Preacher”

Ulrich Zwingli was born to a herdsman high up in the Alps of Switzerland. He began his ministry as a chaplain and was wounded while fighting. As he recovered, he had a conversion experience reading the gospel in Erasmus’ Greek New Testament. He developed a reputation as a gifted preacher. People came from far away to hear him preach. Zwingli contracted the Black Death while nursing his church through the plague. When he recovered, he was a changed man. Zwingli began preaching at a cathedral in Zurich where he faithfully preached God's word, repelled the sale of indulgences, and spearheaded the Swiss Reformation in the early 16th century. The Established Church opposed his teachings and made several attempts to stop him. In 1519, Zwingli did something not done for 1000 years. He climbed the pulpit, opened the book of Mathew and preached it, verse by verse, then he continued through the New Testament preaching directly from the Greek. He authored the Zurich Bible and began several schools. He even married to show that Preachers could marry. The Roman Church raised an army to march on Zurich. Concerned their victory would stop the Reformation, Zwingli strapped on his armor, took up his sword and led the army to defend Zurich. He was captured on the battlefield and killed, then drawn and quartered, and burned as a martyr, His last words were “you can kill the body, but not the spirit”.

1489-10-01 00:00:00

Thomas Cranmer “Nation Changer”

He defined the three pillars for Protestant England; Scripture, Reason, and Tradition. Thomas Cranmer was plucked from obscurity to become one of the most powerful men in England. As he compiled arguments for King Henry the Eight’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, his discovery that the monarch not the pope should be the judge of what was or what was not God's will delighted King Henry the 8th. Like Tyndale months earlier, the newly minted Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer wanted an English Bible that replaced the flawed Latin Vulgate. With his 10 assigned bishops failing to deliver a translation, Cranmer secretly relied on Tyndale's Bible changing only a few of the most explosive passages. Three years after Tyndale’s death, this great Bible would be placed in every Anglican church. Under King Henry the 8th, pope centered ceremonies and houses of ritualized prayers were dismantled. Cranmer began creating a Book of Common Prayers and set a goal for Latin Masses to be held in English so the Bible could touch the heart of the people. To the very Catholic king Henry, this would be heresy. It took his death, and 9 year old Protestant King Edward to take power before Cranmer could push the nation Protestant. Bloody revolts and sieges followed. After young King Edward died of tuberculosis, Queen Mary Tudor reinstated Catholicism and slaughtered Protestant reformers. Cranmer was taken to the Tower of London, and executed for the dream he believed in, within a decade Tyndale’s Bible and Cranmer's Book of Prayers and Foxes Book of Martyrs would be in every Anglican church and define the soul of a nation for over 400 years.

1494-10-01 00:00:00

William Tyndale “God’s Outlaw”

William Tyndale lit a match to light Revival fires. As an Oxford scholar, he wrestled with the flawed Vulgate Bible. He heard whispers about a radical German Monk named Martin Luther. Luther discovered the connection between salvation and faith by reading the Bible for himself. To prove his point he translated the Bible into German so the common people could decide for themselves. This was inspirational to Tyndale. Tyndale found his driving purpose for life: translate the Bible into English. His famous quote is “I will cause the boy who drives the plow to know more of the scripture than the clergy” Blocked by the very Catholic English King Henry the 8th, Tyndale’s passion to translate the Bible drove him to flee to Europe where he could continue his work. His enemies saw to it that Tyndale was a marked man and he spent the next 10 years on the run working 12 to 15 hours a day to complete his translation. Yet, the results were a translation of the New Testament so brilliant that it would inspire even the lowliest plowboy for the next 500 years. Thousands of copies of Tyndale's 1526 New Testament was printed along with Tyndale's words and phrases that still echo down the centuries. "in the twinkling of an eye, eat, drink, and be merry", "In the beginning, was the Word" these phrases would shape the English language. This English New Testament was hidden in ships' cargo and smuggled into England where it became an instant bestseller. This book changed England forever but it came at a terrible price. Tyndale was caught and burned at the stake. His last words were a prayer “Lord open the eyes of the king” in Three years his prayer was answered. The King decreed a Bible-based on Tyndale’s work would be placed in every church in England. This return to the Word changed the world forever.

1509-10-01 00:00:00

John Calvin “The Theologian”

John Calvin was born near Paris, in 1509. He was only eight years old when Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. One day, he witnessed the burning of a martyr. He was filled with wonder at the expression of peace that was on the man's face, so he decided to study the Bible to see if he could find that, too. As he studied the Bible, he found Jesus Christ. The French Reformation was not going well. Calvin was in law school in Paris during the infamous “Protests of the Placards” which brought ruin on the Protestant faith throughout France. Calvin and the other French Reformers had to flee to Geneva, Switzerland, where he stayed and worked for 30 years, advancing the Reformation throughout Europe. John Knox said, “Geneva is the greatest school of Christ since Jesus and the Apostles.” Geneva became the training center of all of Europe. It was the Capitol of the Reformation. Geneva not only experienced huge revivals but trained all the leaders of the Reformation. Under John Calvin, there was a rule, if you came to study you could only stay 2 years then you had to take the gospel back to your home country. He was a great Reformer who became the theologian of the Church and changed the face of Christianity.

1514-10-01 00:00:00

John Knox “Scottish Reformer”

500 years ago, a man was born who would change the face of Scotland forever. He defied the authorities, He defeated a religion, and he brought a country to its knees. His name was John Knox. Even as a Scottish minister and Presbyterian church founder, he was initially a reluctant preacher, though once he accepted the call, he moved forward with unflinching determination and undaunted courage. It was said of him that he feared not the face of men or the fires of martyrs burning all over Britain. Knox was captured and chained to a bench in a French ship where he had to row as a galley slave for two years. After his release, his zeal only intensified. When Mary Queen of Scots heard John Knox’s bold stand of faith, She said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than 10,000 men armed and ready for war.” He fled to the Protestant capital of Geneva where he studied with John Calvin and other Reformers. Finally, Knox set out for a third and final Protestant assault on Scotland. He was ready to risk everything to bring home the Reformation that saw Protestantism wrestle control of Scotland, and put the Bible into the hands of the common man. At age 59, he was one of the few Reformers who died of natural causes.

1516-10-01 00:00:00

John Foxe “Book of Martyrs”

John Foxe, an Oxford Scholar, created the Book of Martyrs. In telling the high price paid for the Word of God, it would impact the English people forever. Foxe was caught up with the ideas of the Reformation, and as Bloody Queen Mary took power, he fled to Protestant Europe. Risking his life, he worked publishing the most important books of the Reformers. He was inspired by ideas that would become the foundation for the Book of Martyrs. Foxe’s challenge was to change Protestant executions from that of "heretics" and "dissidents" to "heroes" and "martyrs for the cause". In doing so, it showed how her people now had the chance to embrace the true Reformed church. With the Protestant Queen Elizabeth taking power, Foxe returned to write the martyrs' stories in English from early Christianity to the reigns of the Tudors. His brilliant graphics ensured a largely illiterate population could understand the message they were trying to convey. In 1570, the queen’s privy council ordered copies of Foxe's book to be distributed to parish churches across the country. As the Book of Martyrs was chained to lecterns across England, it joined the English Bible and the reintroduced Book of Common Prayer that formed the backbone of the English reformation.

1517-10-01 00:00:00

95 Theses

Martin Luther (1483-1546) posts his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, in protest at the Catholic doctrine of indulgences and formally begins the Protestant Reformation.

RRTV Reformation

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