Bloody Trail of Christianity! Bloody Trail of Christianity!!


Brief history of the English bible

Brief history of the English bible

At a particular period, the language of the Church’s worship was Latin. It was heresy to attempt to translate the bible into any other language other than Latin. Even worshippers in England had to comply with that order from the Vatican. There was no English bible. The earliest beginnings of an English bible was in form of manuscripts in the seventh century by Father Bede. All he did was to render certain biblical subjects into the Anglo-Saxon tongue, beginning with the creation story.

Another zealous monk, Aldheim, was the first known translator of the Psalms into Anglo -Saxon English.

Any hope of progress in this direction was put paid to by Pope Innocent III in 1199.
He declared the following:

” The secret mysteries of the faith ought not to be explained to all men in all places, since they cannot be everywhere understood by all men”.

Also Pope Gregory VII stated:
” Not without reason has it pleased Almighty God that Holy Scripture should be a secret in certain places, lest, it were plainly apparent to all men. Perchance it would be little esteemed and be subject to disrespect; or it might be falsely understood by those of mediocre learning and lead to error”

But despite these declarations, translations of the scriptures could not be stopped, but not without bloody cost. Many desired to drink of the fountains of knowledge that had been hidden from them by those in authority.

JOHN WYCLIFFE: Often referred to as the morning star of reformation, was a Catholic priest and a professor of theology at Oxford, England. Well aware of the abuses in the church, he wrote and preached against such matters as corruption in the monadic orders, papal taxation, the doctrine of transubstantiation (the claim that the bread and wine used in mass literally change into the body of Jesus Christ), the confession and church involvement in temporal affairs. Wycliffe, in his last years, undertook the task of translating the Latin bible into English. His writings gained popularity and wide distribution in England. This did not go unnoticed by the church!

Because of his prominence among the ruling and scholarly class, he was allowed to die in peace. His followers were less fortunate. During the reign of Henry IV, they were branded heretics and many of them were imprisoned, tortured or burned to death.

Archbishop Arundel, when writing the pope concerning Wycliffe said, ‘ that wretched and pestilent fellow of damnable memory, the very herald and child of anti-Christ, who crowned his wickedness by translating the scriptures into the mother tongue’.

Subsequently a ban on any other printing or distribution of any book or booklet or treatise pertaining to the scriptures was banned on the promise of death to any offenders.
But Alas! The ball had been set rolling and there was no stopping the change.

Wycliffe influenced the Czech, Jan Hus, also a priest. He preached against the church and with even the threat of excommunication, he went ahead and wrote the most stinging indictments against the practices of the church. He was excommunicated. That did not stop his criticism of the pope. For this, he was tried at the council of Constance and was condemned as heretic. Declaring that it was better to die than to live ill, he refused to recant and was burned to death at the stake in 1415. The same council also ordered that bones of Wycliffe be dug up and burned even though he had been dead and buried for over 30 years!

Then there was Girolamo Savonarola of Florence, Italy. Swept along by the spirit of the renaissance, Savonarola spoke out against the corruption in both church and state. In 1497, the pope excommunicated him; he was arrested, tortured and hanged. His last words were ‘ my lord died for my sins; shall not I gladly give this poor life for him’. His body was burned and the ashes thrown into the river Arno.

Just a few years later, the reformation burst into full force.

Reformation finally shattered the domination of the Roman Catholic Church. It now became a house divided. Southern Europe-Italy, Spain, Austria and parts of France remained mostly Catholic. The rest fell mostly into three divisions: Lutheran in Germany and Scandinavia, Calvinist in Switzerland, Netherlands, Scotland and parts of France and Anglican in England. Through the years, these main divisions further fragmented into hundreds of denominations of today. Example; Presbyterian, episcopal, Methodist, Congregational, Jehovah’s witnesses, Pentecostal etc.

Briefly, on some key players:

Martin Luther, German; formed the Lutheran church. He broke way from Roman Catholicism chiefly because he deplored the sale of indulgences. The pope, to frustrate him issued an edict forbidding him to preach and ordered that his books be burned. In defiance, Luther burned the papal edict in public. The pope then excommunicated him. He was tried and asked to recant, he refused and was declared an outlaw. However the ruler of his own German State came to his aid and offered him shelter in his castle. The Lutheran Church had been born!

John Calvin (Jean Cauvin) came in with protestant teachings during his student days in France. He left Paris because of religious persecution and settled in Basel, Switzerland. His work came to be regarded as the doctrinal foundation for all the reformed churches established later in Europe and America.

The reformation continued in England, after John Wycliffe, through people like William Tyndale, who had to flee England, produced his New Testament in 1526. He was later betrayed in Antwerp and strangled at the stake, and his body was burned.

Miles Coverdale completed Tyndale’s work of translation and the entire bible appeared in the 16th century and the publication of the bible in the language of the people was no doubt the single most powerful factor that contributed to the reformation in England.

The King James Bible had it origins from the work of Coverdale, Tyndale and John Rogers, martyred under the name of Thomas Matthew. It is amazing how a fiend like king James could have had a bible named after him. He was a known homosexual, murdered his young lovers and victimized countless heretics and women. His cruelty was justified by his ‘divine rights’ of Kings. He commissioned 47 scholars to rework ‘ the great bible’.

The formal break from Roman Catholicism took place when Henry VIII, named defender of the faith by the pope, declared the Act of Supremacy in 1534, setting himself up as the head of the Church of England. Henry’s action was more political than religious. He wanted independence from papal authority, especially over his marital affairs. Religiously he remained Catholic in every way but name.

Not even this development could quell the indecent spirit of people still dissatisfied with the half spirited measures of the Church of England. The Puritans, Separatists and Independents demanded more thorough reform and in the end many dissidents fled to Netherlands or to North America, where they further developed their Congregational, Methodist and Baptist churches.

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