Seaman's Log

Big Ideas & Deep Thoughts

Previous More Next

John Wycliffe

I have always been fascinated by the stories of the radical movements throughout history, that brought us the modern bible that we read today. Many of these men were martyred as heretics for their opposition to the established authority.

One of my favorite characters is John Wycliffe. Born in the 1320s Wycliffe survived the Black Death and faced a society that was dominated by an evil church structure. The Dark Ages were ruled by a string of bad popes from 767-1534. These men committed every atrocity forbidden by the 10 Commandments. In 1378 there were two popes ruling simultaneously and a third was added in 1409.

John Wycliffe was a priest in England that opposed the corruption of the ruling leaders and the church of the time. He became increasingly vocal about the excesses of clergy and and the godlessness of the church. He began translating the scripture into English from Latin so that the common people could read it.

A council was convened in 1414 to select a single Pope. They also declared John Wycliffe and his follower Jan Hus in Prague heretics. Wycliffe had already died but his body was exhumed and burned. Jan Hus was burned alive. All of their followers were hunted and persecuted and many executed by being burned alive. Wycliffe's writings fueled the Reformation movement almost 100 years later.


Read More