Bearded Gospel Men: John Wycliffe

The gospel alone is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere…
any additional rules made to govern men’s conduct added nothing to the perfection 
already found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe (1328-1384) was a gospel man who shined brightly in an age where the gospel was almost eclipsed by heresy and a corrupt church. Most people point to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517 as the start of the Protestant Reformation, but well over 100 years earlier we see John Wycliffe preaching the same gospel, calling for the same reformation, and being mightily used of God. This is why Wycliffe is called “the morning star of the reformation.”

Wycliffe is best known for overseeing the the translation of the Latin Bible into English. Completed in the 1380′s this was the first full Bible available in the English language. As huge of an undertaking it was, our man wasn’t content to only see the word of God exist in the language of the people. He also trained and sent men into the world to preach the word of God to all who would listen.

Wycliffe is a beautiful example of all things missional, providing the word of God in the language of the people, and sending his “poor priests” into the cities who could identify with the people while preaching the gospel.

His zeal for Jesus, his love for the lost, and his denunciation of the corruption prevalent in the church resulted in Wycliffe being either hated or loved– even after his death! Decades after he died Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic, and in 1428 Pope Martin V ordered his body to be exhumed, burned, and the ashes thrown into the River Swift.

Let us learn from our man Wycliffe. Put down that razor, pick up the word, and take it to the world.


John Wyclif: Myth and RealityG. R. Evans (WTSBooks)
Wycliffe: The Morning Star of the Reformation (online article)
John Wycliffe (Wikipedia)

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