History is replete with stories of Godly individuals who, despite their flaws, lived boldly for the Lord. John Wycliffe, affectionately denominated by historians as “the Morning Star of the Reformation,” was one such individual. Born in England around 1324, Wycliffe became disenchanted with the blatant hypocrisy and abuse of the Church at large. He proceeded to vehemently preach against such corruption carried out in Christ’s name. His adherence to the truth and unashamed declarations against corruption won him much persecution at the hands of religious leaders.
As Wycliffe matured to understand the great spiritual poverty of the people of his homeland, he endeavored to translate the Bible into English. Before publishing his work, he published a tract which proclaimed the great importance of people possessing the Word of God. Many religious leaders feverishly opposed the printing of the Scriptures. This opposition only served to create greater curiosity among many of the commoners. Eventually it became common practice that the persecutors would place the portions of Scripture found in the “heretic’s” possession as the owner of the Scripture was led to execution.
Wycliffe died in peace, but the hatred of Wycliffe’s proclamation of the Word of God and truth remained among many. Forty-one years after his death his body was exhumed, burned, and scattered into the river. However, despite the extinguishing of Wycliffe’s earthly flame, the persecutors were unable to squelch the message of the Gospel. For generations to come God used Wycliffe in a mighty way to point people to Christ. May God likewise give us the courage to stand for Him in a crooked and perverse age!
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Biographical information from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs