A History of the Christian Church
compiled by Denis Jenkins
Title A History of the Christian Church
Theme Literacy and education improved in England Due to Tyndale's New Testament Translation?
This is Part 19 in the series. Parts 1 to 18 can be found by referring to the index of articles via this link --> Index to Articles
Tyndale's dynamic preaching had excited great interest in personally reading God's word. It was now possible for the English nation to read the New Testament in their mother tongue. God's word now readily available to the common people provoked a great interest in English society to read. It could be said that Tyndale's New Testament brought literacy to England due to the hunger for God's word. No longer did the common people have to depend on the conflicting views of the Doctors of religion. These so called learned men in God's word had done nothing more than confuse the people in that between one clergyman and the other they were more concerned with supporting their own prowess of learning than seeking God's will and His message of salvation.
As Tyndale's New Testament started enlightening the ordinary man and woman, the real issues surrounding the Roman church's beliefs began to emerge. One of the Roman Church's clergy was quoted as saying, "we are better to be without God's Law than the Pope's". (Anderson, Annuls of the English Bible, p 19) In this comment the Roman Church began to reveal its real intent. It demonstrated that it would dispense with God's word before the word of a pope. This revealed its nature as an anti-Christ, a religio-political machine more interested in amassing wealth through false pretences and to gain absolute power over the people by oppressing the common man. None of this organisational behaviour possessed the hallmarks of God's people in that" They love one another".
Tyndale's execution created a surge of interest in God's word in and out of the Roman Church. The church's brutality caused many pious and God fearing clergy to step out of the Roman Church to defend the word of God. Latimer was one such clergyman. Latimer heralded from the pulpit, " The author of the scripture is God Himself. The scripture portrays the might and eternity of its author. There is no emperor, magistrate and ruler…..but are bound to obey…..His Holy word. Let us not take any bye walks but let God's word direct us. Let us not walk after…..our forefathers, nor seek not what they did, but what they should have done". (Hugh Latimer, "First sermon Preached before King Edward VI)
Barnes and Frith two of Tyndale's faithful friends in his place defended the truth of God's word after Tyndale's execution. The Ridleys and Cranmer followed. These leaders in the English reformation were men of learning and integrity and most had been eminately respected as being zealous, pious and up right men in the Roman Church. These men did not allow the importance of their position or the personal professional losses they may experience to stand in the way of God's truth and defend it at all costs.
These men were unbiased genuine researchers in the universities of the day. They allowed their minds to move on beyond the biases of their generation's intellectual minds and seek the possibility of other models of thought foreign and unknown by the academics of the day. The intellectual bias in universities of that generation was influenced by the religio-political forces that warped the observations, learning and resulting teachings of such institutions. Lucifer, as the prince of this world, has always made sure that he has maintained a strangle hold on all the institutions that matter to mankind's wellbeing. He has infiltrated the places of learning to warp and bias the mind against the realities of the world as created by God; national culture, as it sets the behaviours of entire groups of people; government, as it is able to hold entire groups of people in positions against their conscience or will; medical knowledge and dietary practice has in undeveloped places of the world been placed by the evil one in the hands of astrologers, sophists, witch doctors all designed to derail the very chemistry of the human person through fear, superstition and inappropriate so called medical practices.
These faithful men of God, within their universities and seminaries, began to bring the minds of their students out of the mire of political fuzzy thinking into the sharp pure critical thought of one who is directed by the Maker and Designer who created human thought in the first place. These men were the forerunners of men and women directed by God to usher into the university framework the integrity of research and knowledge based on observation, proof and validation. This practice ushered into the places of higher learning not only led to an experimental hands-on faith in God but as foretold in scripture that in the last days God was ensuring that knowledge would be increased across all people. This was to prepare the mind of mankind to acknowledge the righteousness of God on a universal basis.
All of history can only be viewed on the basis of this controversy between good and evil or it appears as a chaotic process that has no pattern or sense. This controversy is the battle for the mind between God and the fallen angel Lucifer. While God succeeded, through the reformation, to bring thinking and validation to education and science on the basis of Godly reasoning, Satan was in the future going to direct the godly thinking in universities once again to confusion as he was going to influence the mind of Charles Darwin and others to explain the chaos in the world outside of the platform of the great controversy between God and himself. The other way Satan was going to, in the future, direct men and women's minds away from God and that was to be coming movements, future to this time in history, of separating the spiritual and the so called secular as if each of those parts of life had no relationship to each other.
It is in honesty of learning and research that knowledge was going to blossom to heights not imagined by those who had lived before this time in history. The grand principle that was being derived in education and in society generally at this time in history through Tyndale, Barnes, Frith, Ridley, Cramner and others was in order to validate any form of research one has to go back to the source and that each person should seek the source of validation in every concept.
Tyndale made this possible by going back to the source of God's word, and through the spirit the source of the manuscripts from which he was working, to translate into clear English God's message to mankind. This has enabled every man women and child to access the will of God. The reformers made this a rule of faith that all ideas pertaining to the validity of God's will must be referenced to the infallible source "The Holy Scriptures". This rule of faith had been shared by Luther, the Waldenses, Wycliffe, John Huss and others. They denied the right of popes, councils or fathers of the church and kings to be the conscience in matters of religion. The Bible was their authority and by its teaching they tested all doctrines, beliefs and claims. Faith in God and his word and being filled with God's Spirit comforted these men as many gave up their lives to burn at the stake.
"Be of good comfort", exclaimed Latimer to his fellow martyr, as the flames were about to silence their voices," we shall this day light such a candle, by God's Grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out". (Words of Hugh Latimer, Vol I , pxiii)
Other martyrs were to follow, by God's Grace, but this time in Scotland. Hamilton and Wishart gave up their lives to defend the faith in Scotland. From Wishart's smouldering remains, by God's Grace, arose a mighty reformer by the name of John Knox.
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