Geschichte, the German noun, a signifier of verb geschehen, which means to go on, refers to history as an event. History is defined as an incident, an existent event or go oning in clip and infinite ensuing from human action. We frequently hear the phrase, “ history repeats itself ” . But does it truly? It would be safe to state that history in itself can non be precisely repeated but niceties, forms and analogues that seem to be the same appear in a different context and clip. A 2nd definition of history is information. Information associating to an incident normally relates to indirect information about the yesteryear in the signifier of a papers or an object related to an incident.

History, the English word, came from the Grecian word histore. Used by the Greeks, it was used to intend enquiry or probe. Used by Paul in Galatians 1:18 to depict his interview with Peter in Jerusalem lead to its 3rd significance as enquiry or research. It besides meant to happen informations or information about the yesteryear.

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Archaeological digs and geographic expeditions prove adult male ‘s wonder for our history, our yesteryear. Christians particularly have a particular involvement in history due to the fact that the very foundations of their religion are rooted in history. Christians have proclaimed through the ages that it is in Jesus Christ and for our redemption that God has entered human history in a really alone manner. In John 1:14, it was clearly stated that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. The Old Testament and New Testament books of the Bible give us a narration of God ‘s expansive design for a people to idolize Him. It shows in different signifiers of literary genres God ‘s program for adult male and His redemptional program for redemption in the individual of Jesus Christ. History is important for understanding non merely the life of Jesus Christ but besides the full scriptural message. The Bible gives us the narrative of God ‘s disclosure in the life and history of the people of God and besides the narrative of the redemptional love of God. History is more than an incident or a motion. History is the seamless cloth that binds each and every adult male ‘s life to a intent. It is absolute and nonsubjective and can merely be known straight and to the full by God. It is a history of the workss of the Holy Spirit in and through work forces and adult females who have gone earlier in their religion.

“ It is entirely singular that a Jew, who lived in an vague corner of the Roman Empire and suffered a scandalous decease on a cross, should hold inspired a motion that spread throughout the universe and transformed countless lives. ”

There will be episodes in the class of our history that we shall see the action of the Holy Spirit. We shall happen people who have non merely used the religion for addition or for personal power but there were besides those Christians who loved, studied and copied the Scriptures and therefore left us a with a bequest. These early Christians bequeathed more than text of Bible to us ; they left a bequest of lighting records of their fidelity in a God that they believed in the most diverse fortunes. In times, of persecution, some witnessed with their blood. They died for the cause of their religion. There are others who used their religion for power. There were times when it seemed that others have lost their religion in God. We are heirs to these diverse and even contradictory lives. We may happen some of their actions revolting but others we can ever happen inspiring.

By understanding our past we are able to understand who we are and how we are today. The history of adult male can non be separated from the history of his spiritual life. It is by analyzing church history that we sense the integrity in the true organic structure of Christ throughout the ages. through a uninterrupted watercourse of events within the model of infinite and clip. History and Christianity are inseparable.

One of the primary values of church history is that it links past factual information of the Christian Gospel with the future announcement and application that helps modern twenty-four hours Christians create an apprehension of our heritage. Church history shows the Spirit of God in action through the church. History provides the account of the present. We understand the present much better when we have knowledge of the yesteryear. It is, hence, in the survey of these phases of history that we will acquire a glance of the adult male who is remembered chiefly for being the accelerator in interpreting the Word of God from Latin to English. This study is intended to associate the different phases of church history to the peculiar point in clip when John Wycliffe set the phase for the early phases of reformation.

Phases of Church History

Early on and Imperial church history, ( 5B.C.-A.D. 590 ) is the environment in which Christianity emerged. The foundation of the church in Christ ‘s life, decease and Resurrection particularly it ‘s establishing with the Jews is of import to understanding the beginning of Christianity. The gradual growing of Christianity preceded the carrying of the Gospel to the Gentiles by Paul and the outgrowth of Christianity as a sect distinct from Judaism. It is characterized by the leading of the apostles in this period. In the twelvemonth 100-313, non merely did they had to cover with external factors such as continued persecution of the Roman province but they besides had to cover with the internal issues of unorthodoxy. In the old ages 313 to 590, the church had to confront jobs that arose out of its rapprochement with the province of Constantine and its brotherhood with the province at the clip of Emperor Theodosius. Since Christians did non hold the clip to work out their tenet at that place followed a period of creedal contention. It was during this period of institutional development that the office of the bishop was strengthened and the Roman Bishop grew in power. This epoch reveals the growing of the apostolic church into the Old Catholic Imperial church and the beginning of the Roman Catholic system.

Medieval church History which spans 590-1517 depicts a displacement from Southern Europe to Northern and Western Europe. Emphasis will be given to the Medieval Church History period as such since it is in this epoch that we see the rise of the pontificate which brought about the call for Reform. The autumn of the Western Roman Empire ushered in a new epoch of independent lands. In add-on to the challenges presented by these migrations, the Western besides had to take on the undertaking of evangelising the hosts of Teutonic folks to Christianity and besides to incorporate Classical civilization and Christianity with Teutonic establishment. The church was faced with non merely the challenge of change overing those who accepted Arian Christianity but besides the winning of the heathens and the challenge of the rival faith of Islam. Gradually, confederations between the Catholic Pope and the Tetons took topographic point. It was the Pontificate of Gregory that marked visibly the passage from antediluvian to mediaeval History. He became the symbol of the new mediaeval universe in which civilization was institutionalized within the church that was dominated by the Bishop of Rome. It was besides during this period that the split within the church occurred. The first great split in Christianity broke the integrity of the church. the Roman Catholic Church and the Grecian /Orthodox Church went their separate ways.

Through the leading of Gregory VII and Innocent III the mediaeval Roman Catholic Church reached the extremum of its power. It successfully enforced its claims to supremacy over the province. The pontificate exercised great temporal power between 1054 and 1305. Between Hildebrand and Innocent II, they were able to humble the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, force swayers of lifting states to make their will. It was during this extremum that the pontificate inspired the early campaigns. Through the rise of universities and Scholasticism the rational foundation of the apostolic power was strengthened. Through cloistered reform, the Catholic Pope was able to raise many avid monastics who were his obedient retainers. By the stopping point of the thirteenth century all constructions were in topographic point that would qualify the Roman Catholic Church. In the fall of the in-between ages, the Catholic Popes replaced the emperors as leaders of Christendom.

The diminution in the pontificate happened chiefly between 1309-1439. There were several factors that contributed to the diminution. First, The failure of the clergy to populate up to the outlook of the temporalty. There was a diminution in clerical ethical motives, the churchmans paid more attending to their secular duties more than to their religious duties. Feudalism became a job because of the double commitment to the Catholic Pope and the feudal Godhead.

Second, the Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism. The Babylonian imprisonment ( 1309-77 ) was a period were Clement V, chosen as the Catholic Pope was under the influence of the Gallic King, therefore moved to France in 1305. The apostolic abode was maintained at Avignon until 1377 therefore stoping the Babylonian Captivity. The great Schism occurred when Clement VII moved the capital once more to Avignon for the 2nd clip. These two events increased the blare among the learned for reform within the Roman Catholic Church.

Another ground for the diminution of the pontificate was the pattern of apostolic revenue enhancement. The people of Europe were taxed to back up two apostolic tribunals. The powerful swayers of national provinces and the strong in-between category resented the drain of wealth signifier the national exchequers to the apostolic exchequer which were made up of income coming from apostolic estates, tithes, annates, Peter ‘s pence and so forth.

The rise of National provinces opposed the thought of cosmopolitan sovereignty inherent in the constructs of the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church. The male monarch and the in-between category people formed an confederation that benefited each other. The male monarch with his national ground forces gave the in-between category people the security they needed so they can transport on their concern safely ; the in-between category in bend gave money so that the male monarch could run the province efficaciously. This created a strong, centralised nation-state strong plenty to withstand the Pope.

The return of mysticism played a really important turning point in the diminution of the pontificate. Mysticism is based on the belief that the mystical experience is a cardinal facet of spiritual life. The mystic ‘s chief aim is to hold immediate apprehensiveness of God in the excess rational manner. The development of Christian mysticism was influenced by Gnosticism. From at that place, it inherited the tradition of ascetism and monasticism. It was during the period of the Babylonian imprisonment, when the Catholic Pope was abode in Avignon that mystics more interested in an effort to return to the ideal of the church as presented in the New Testament that such reformists as John Wycliffe and John Hus were able to capitalise on chauvinistic antipapal sentiment. It was in this epoch of ecclesiasticism that John Wycliffe appeared.

John Wycliff

( 1324-1384 )

John Wycliffe is remembered as “ The Morning Star of the reformation ” , the first visible radiation and one of Oxford University ‘s last great mediaeval Schoolmen. He was recognized as the greatest philosopher of the fourteenth century. It was assumed that the reformation started with Martin Luther but such was non the instance. John Wycliffe was an English Statesman every bit good as a theologian. In 1374, on a committee from the English authorities, he was sent to Brugess to discourse with the representatives of Gregory XI a figure of points in difference between the male monarch and the Catholic Pope. Through this he established a political connexion with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, which subsequently became one of his devouring protagonists.

John Wycliffe was likely born between 1320-1324. There is uncertainness about the exact day of the month of his birth but it is really clear that he was native of Yorkshire. He was a maestro of scholastic doctrine and divinity. In a clip, when nominalism was deriving land, Wycliffe was the realist. He was influenced by Augustinian positions and through him, Plato. It was his attitude in the practical and political inquiries of Evangelical poorness and Church authorities which gave him influence. Wycliffe spent the major portion of his calling as pupil and instructor, chiefly within the confines of Oxford. He was involved in the arguments among the school work forces, held assorted ecclesiastical assignments outside of the university which was his agencies of support. Through this he was able to prosecute his university surveies. He presided over a rural parish in Leicestershire, England nearer to libraries and his bookmans.

Wycliffe wanted to reform the Roman church by the riddance of immoral reverends and depriving it of belongings which he felt was the footing of corruptness in the Roman Catholic Church. John Wycliffe asserted that ecclesiastical leading should be based on morality that God gave the usage and ownership of belongings, non ownership to church leaders as a trust to be used for God ‘s glorification. He besides took on the position that if the clerics failed to carry through their maps, so the civil governments has sufficient grounds to take the belongings off from them and give it to person who would function God dutifully. He claimed that all rule comes every bit form God and should be truly exercised in obeisance to God. He responded that the Word of God, the religious authorization from which he acts shows no footing for the church to possess utmost stuff wealth.

Wycliffe besides claimed that formal rank in an ecclesiastical organic structure does non vouch redemption. He taught that the church is the religious company of trusters with Jesus Christ at its caput. That redemption is between the person and Jesus Christ and that the Catholic Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is merely the temporal caput of the church. He asserted that the Bible alternatively of the church was the exclusive authorization of the trusters and that the church should pattern itself after the form of the New Testament churches. ( Robert G Clouse 2002 ) He challenged a figure of Roman Catholic philosophies with statements that would put the foundation for the Protestant reformation 100 old ages subsequently. John spoke against the cloistered system, the sale of indulgences for the forgiveness of wickednesss, the philosophies of baptismal regeneration.

Through his instructions, John Wycliffe incurred the wrath of the powerful Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Their attempts in 1378 to halt him were thwarted when the Princess of Wales and the London crowd interceded in his favour In Oxford in the latter old ages of his life, Wycliffe ‘s positions became more and more extremist. He started non merely oppugning but started assailing the philosophy of Transubstantiation of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church ‘s instruction is that in the Eucharist, the staff of life and vino really go the organic structure and blood of Jesus Christ. This philosophy is so basic to the Catholic Church that an onslaught on it is an onslaught on the Mass which is the centre of Roman Catholic worship. He referred to the “ Host ” as “ simply a mark ” . John Wycliffe claimed that Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church and non the philosophies set by the Roman Catholic Church.

This unfastened denial of a philosophy that was so cardinal to every Roman Catholic led to Wycliffe ‘s loss of popularity. He lost the support of his friend, John of Gaunt and other noteworthy protagonists. As John Wycliffe ‘s universe crumbled, the church hierarchy saw in him a menace to the authorization of the Catholic Pope. Shortly after, the provincial ‘s rebellions occurred and Wycliffe was blamed for the happening because of his blazing support and fondness to the hapless. Bishop Courtney assumed the place of Archbishop when the Archbishop was killed by the provincials. He did n’t blow any clip in seting force per unit area on Wycliffe. He instituted several authorizations that forced Oxford university governments to take actions against Wycliffe. The program was to cutoff John Wycliffe from Oxford, Wycliffe base of analyzing, prophesying and learning. To cut him off signifier everything that he stood for. He lost autonomy to prophesy and learn within the walls of the university.

Confronting such a crisis, John Wycliffe turned to God. There comes a clip in person ‘s life that a great loss, in Wycliffe ‘s instance, the loss of his instruction and acquisition privileges that God provides a great chance for person to reevaluate one ‘s life and detect new way. It was turning point in his calling and life.

In 1381, an Oxford council of physicians condemned his instructions on the Blessed Eucharist. In such fortunes, Wycliffe retired to Lutterworth. In obeisance to what he felt was God ‘s way, Wycliffe set about the undertaking of interpreting all the Holy Scriptures into the linguistic communication of the people, English. Wycliffe felt that the church ‘s authorization has eroded due to adult male ‘s ignorance and corruptness. He besides claimed that how can the clergy preach and learn the Word of God when they do n’t even cognize and understand their Latin. Towards the terminal of his life, Wycliffe organized the Order of the Poor Priests ” or sermonizers. John Wycliffe started to direct his set of “ hapless priests ” , who were normally laypersons whose exclusive intent was to take the Bible to the hapless provincials in the countryside. This motion was called “ Lollards ” They traveled about in long red-brown gowns. As a consequence of their work, many became trusters. The church condemned John Wycliffe and all his itinerant priests. They were hunted down, suppressed, persecuted, and imprisoned.

The greatest of all of Wycliffe ‘s work was his attempts to interpret the Bible into English. Wycliffe believed that all his people must be able to read or listen to the word of God in their native lingua so they could larn the truth of God. Thus, Wycliffe and his close associates started the monumental undertaking of interpreting the full Bible into English for the first clip. They translated from Jerome ‘s Vulgate, the important Latin interlingual rendition of the bible dating back to the fourth century. John Wycliffe voiced the sentiment that with the interlingual rendition of the Word of God into English, it can be abused, misused or misinterpreted. He felt though that nil should stand in the manner of giving the Word of God as the spirit directs to his people. It will take and necessitate apprehension by the reader but he believed it must be done.

The Bible was in the slang of Latin as translated by Jerome called the Vulgate. The Roman Catholic Church used the Latin Bible merely but refused to hold it translated in the linguistic communication of the people. Wycliffe did non cognize Hebrew or Greek therefore had to do his interlingual rendition signifier Latin. All Scripture had to be written by manus for there were no publishing imperativeness at the clip. It was the hapless sermonizers that took parts of the translated Bible in their travels and read them to work forces and adult females who were willing to listen.

Three old ages after John Wycliffe came to Lutterworth, John Wycliffe died of a shot in New Years Eve 1384. Although, irregular and even unorganized in their ways, the Lollards carried on progressive the traditions of Wycliffe ‘s instructions. It was in his religious heir John Hus of Bohemia that John Wycliffe paved the manner for the reformation of the church.

In was nevertheless, in the fifteenth century, 31 old ages after John Wycliffe decease in Constance, Germany that the taking spiritual and political leaders came to discourse at least in portion the influence of John Wycliffe. Therefore in 1415, 31 old ages after his decease the council condemned all of John Wycliffe ‘s instructions and ordered that his castanetss be dugout, burned and spreads, They ended up dispersing his ashes into the river Swift.It was their though that by firing his castanetss, they can eliminate the memories of John Wycliffe.

There is much argument as to what function, Wycliffe played in the interlingual rendition that now bears his name. No 1 uncertainty, nevertheless, that John Wycliffe was the taking motion which started the interlingual rendition of the bible which led to the widespread version of an English Bible. The English Bible was produced between 1380 and 1384 and was a really actual and word for word interlingual rendition of the text used by the church throughout Europe at that clip. Wycliffe believed that everyone cry be able to read God ‘s jurisprudence in his native English. He urged every adult male to be acquainted with God ‘s jurisprudence by reading the Bible.

After Wycliffe ‘s decease a 2nd version of his Bible was completed by John Purvey tardily in the fourteenth Century. This version was much easier to read which greatly increased its demand.


Wycliffe presented a life of submission and humbleness in Christ. God had appointed Wycliffe to make His work. It is a work of evangelism rooted in the interlingual rendition of the Bible to the common linguistic communication. He non merely translated the bible but he besides created missional enterprises. I would state that the motion of his itinerant priests is a signifier of missional work. He laid the great work of the Reformation. The foundation he laid was deep and so brad that it did n’t necessitate any more Reconstruction. The great motion which Wycliffe inaugurated liberated the scruples and the mind and as such set states free. This is the beginning of the watercourse of approvals. Today there are 1000s and 1000s of people that have been impacted by the interlingual rendition that he so devoutly pursued. He had a missional bosom. He accepted the Scriptures with inexplicit religion as the divine disclosure of God ‘s will. He taught that the Bible is the perfect disclosure of God ‘s will and that the Holy Spirit gives us the godly disclosure of God ‘s will and aim for each and every one of his kids. There were none before him from whose work he could determine his system of reform. It came from within him. He was like John the Baptist, the predecessor to carry through a particular mission. Whereas John the Baptist heralded the reaching of Jesus the Messiah, John Wycliffe heralded a new epoch. He was by no means the perfect adult male, but he lived his life in complete fidelity to the Word of God. He stood boldly in the defence of truth. In all simpleness, Wycliffe thought to give the Word of God to his ain clip and people but in fact laid the foundation for the permanency and excellence of the English linguistic communication. ) ( Condit n.d. )

The character of Wycliffe is a testimony to the educating, transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is in the Bible that we are who we are. In Genesis 1:26, God said “ allow us make adult male in our image, in our image allow us make adult male ” We are created in God ‘s image. An image of pureness and love. It is through the survey of the Bible we get to cognize the head of God and the head of Christ. We receive God ‘s cognition. We eat the words that we read and put it in our Black Marias. The survey of the bible ennobles our every idea, our feelings and aspirations as no other survey can. It gives us stableness, intent, forbearance, bravery and fortitude. It is through the survey of the Holy Scriptures that the head of the pupil through the head ‘s oculus comes in direct contact with the infinite head. Psalm 119:130 reads ” The entryway of Thy Word gives visible radiation ; it gives understanding. ” Jesus, the God became flesh is that visible radiation. The Word of God refines our character and sanctifies our psyche. This is the bequest of John Wycliffe.

Today, Scripture exists in over 2500 of the 6860 linguistic communications used in Earth ( Wycliffe Bible Society, 2010 ) . Harmonizing to the Wycliffe Bible Society there are about 4.7 billion people who have Bible in their first linguistic communication, 542 million people have at least the New Testament and some parts of the Old Testament. Bible exists in over 2500 of the 6860 linguistic communications used on Earth.

Wycliffe International, a planetary confederation of organisations in over 50 states is one of the cardinal international organisations involved with Scripture interlingual rendition into linguistic communications where it has non been antecedently available. Although work has begun for many of the people groups who still do non hold God ‘s Word in their linguistic communication and farther work is still needed. Current estimations suggest around 340. Bible interlingual rendition is merely one aspect of the overarching mission of God. Wycliffe International ‘s desire is that all peoples have entree to, understand and use God ‘s Word so God may be glorified in every linguistic communication of the universe.

Since Wycliffe ‘s beginnings in 1942, Wycliffe forces have been involved in the interlingual rendition of 745 complete New Testaments and 27 complete Bibles, potentially impacting around 114 million people talking 704 languagesWycliffe forces have besides worked with others in the production of Faith Comes By Hearing audio Bibles in 211 linguistic communications, The JESUS Film in 225 linguistic communications, some or all of the Luke picture in 237 linguistic communications and some or all of the Genesis picture in 86 linguistic communications. Wycliffe forces have besides helped bring forth 1000s of resources for literacy, instruction, wellness and other development-related ends. There at of last count, 45 Wycliffe organisations responsible for about 6500 attached staff working aboard many spouse organisations, persons from local communities and national organisations working in linguistic communications from 98 countries.A . ( Wycliffe bible Society, 2010 )

In 1999, when Wycliffe and spouses adopted Vision 2025, we reported our engagement in about 1100 of the 1500 interlingual rendition plans known to be in advancement. Between 1999 and 2010 Wycliffe forces have helped in the interlingual rendition of more than 200 New Testaments and begun new work in more than 670 linguistic communications. Wycliffe staff are presently involved in 1525 active linguistic communication plans stand foring 2.6 billion people. Extra work is being undertaken by other organisations in a farther 500 linguistic communications.

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