The location and date of John Wycliffe’s birth are unknown. Scholars agree that he was born in the earlier half of the 1320s – perhaps 1324. Born into a family well-established as lord of its manor and patrons of the rectory, John was given a thorough education and was sent to Oxford in his later teen years.
Early destined for the church, John not only studied the works of the church fathers, but also drank deeply from the Gospels themselves. This devotion to the Bible, not at that time encouraged in students for the priesthood, caused him to perceive and write deploringly of the gross corruptness of the ecclesiastical system of the day.
His own love of the Scriptures combined with his increasing distrust of those in church authority caused him to regard the availability of the Word of God in the common tongue as vital. The question that drove him was this – how could the people of the Church truly be Christ’s if they did not know His teachings?
Wycliffe’s position was not a popular one – indeed, it was feared and hated by many who held high positions in the church. His love for the commoners and willingness to speak with them of the things of God caused his ideas to spread across England, creating a crisis in the church.
In 1382, Wycliffe was summoned before a synod to testify of his beliefs. Although acquitted by that body, his views were still held in suspicion and in 1415, thirty one years after his death, the Council of Constance declared Wycliffe a heretic. His writings were banned, his body was unearthed, and his remains were burned. But even these drastic actions could not halt the influence of Wycliffe, for he was indeed, the Morning Star of the Reformation.
Conclusion. Good. John Wycliffe will give your children an accurate understanding of the man and the vital battle he waged.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret