Keith Hunt - The coming of Tyndale - Page Three   Restitution of All Things

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The Work of Tyndale!

The English Bible hits the market!

                        TOWARDS AN ENGLISH BIBLE #3

Continued from previous page:


gained his degree in 1524. To graduate, he was required to
deliver an oration on a religious subject, and selected for his
topic a denunciation of Melanchthon, Luther's associate. His
scathing criticisms of the German Reformation and the dexterity
and skill with which they were delivered marked him out as a man
of indisputable leadership gifts.
     Latimer's mental prowess, along with his gift as an orator,
were noticed by Thomas Bilney, who, as a Fellow of a college, was
compelled to be present at the oration. As he listened, Bilney
could visualize that gift being used in the cause of the
Reformation. But Bilney was wellknown as a heretic. How could he
get a hearing with Latimer? When the applause had ended, and the
congratulatory remarks were over, Bilney approached Latimer, and
asked if he would hear his confession. In the confessional Bilney
quoted very many passages of Scripture, and asked for his
understanding of them to be corrected. Latimer listened for two
hours, and then admitted that what Bilney had, he needed; and so
another reformer was born.
     When Latimer associated himself with the radicals who met at
the White Horse Inn, he provoked anger from the opposition. The
Bishop of Ely forbade him to preach in the region of Cambridge;
but, strangely, Cardinal Wolsey gave him freedom to preach
anywhere in all England. In December 1529, he preached his two
famous sermons entitled Sermons on Cards, in which he denounced
card playing during the Christmas celebrations and suggested
better employment with "Christ's cards," that is, His
commandments.

(We must remember it was only SOME truths that God was revealing
to these men; many other theology matters they were as blind as
bats on. But some truth to proclaim in a spiritually dark world
was still a victory for the Lord and His word. This was only the
very beginning of events and people that would in the years
before Jesus comes will be the restitution of all things - Keith
Hunt)

     The sermons caused turbulent controversy and attracted the
king's attention. Latimer was invited to preach before Henry
during Lent 1530, and that resulted in his appointment as a royal
chaplain. Unlike others who addressed the king, Latimer was
forthright. He reminded Henry that he was a mortal man, "having
in you the corrupt nature of Adam ... and no less needing the
merits of Christ's passion." He even pictured the apostle Paul
being forced to "carry faggots" to St Paul's for having declared,
"Ye are not under law, but under grace."
     John Stokesley, the Bishop of London, summoned Latimer to be
examined by a board of bishops. This resulted in his
excommunication and imprisonment. But the king intervened in
Latimer's favor. The Encyclopedia Britannica comments: "It was,
however, Latimer's preaching more than the edicts of Henry that
established the principles of the Reformation in the minds and
hearts of the people. His sermons are classics of their kind.
Vivid, racy, terse in expression; profound in religious feeling,
sagacious in their advice on human conduct. To the historical
student they are of great value as a mirror of the social and
political life of the period."
     Latimer was consecrated Bishop of Winchester in 1535. Five
years later, as bishop, he had the unpleasant task of preaching
at the burning of John Forest, who had refused to acknowledge the
king as head of the Church - this was required by the Six
Articles of 1539. Latimer himself could not do this either, and
so he resigned his bishopric, and was confined to the precincts
of the palace belonging to the Bishop of Chichester. For the
following seven years, he seems to have dropped out of sight. In
1546 he was brought before the Privy Council at Greenwich, and
was again condemned and imprisoned at the Tower of London. By
this time, Henry VIII had died, to be succeeded, as we have seen,
by his only legitimate son, the young and sickly Edward VI, who
strongly supported the Protestant faith. Latimer was released and
the House of Commons invited him to return to his see. In January
of 1548 he resumed his preaching to larger crowds than ever.
     In 1553, when Mary occupied the throne, he was summoned once
more to appear before a council at Westminster. Though he could
have escaped to the continent, he chose to attend, passing
Smithfield on the way and commenting that it "groaned" for him.
In 1554, he occupied a cell in the Tower with two good friends,
Ridley, the Bishop of London, and Cranmer, the Archbishop of
Canterbury. At their trial they were interrogated about the
elements of the Lord's Supper and the propitiatory effects of the
Mass. They were offered a final chance to recant, which neither
Ridley nor Latimer accepted. On October 16, 1555, they were taken
to the Oxford "town ditch" for execution on October 16, 1555.
After listening to a sermon preached against them, they were tied
to the stake and the faggots were lit. Latimer encouraged Ridley,
saying, "Master Ridley, play the man. We shall this day light
such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never
be put out."

     Latimer was seventy when his charred body, held up by
chains, slumped over the embers. It was the "Indestructible Book"
that changed his life, comforted him in distress, and from which
he preached to others; and it changed England.

(Such were a few of the great men of faith, that for the faith
and truth revealed to them they were willing to die, and indeed
light began to be seen which was never put out. To this day more
and more light has been revealed, and so we move forward to the
restitution of all things - Keith Hunt)


The bridge builder

     It is impossible to tell the story of the "Indestructible
Book" without including the name of Thomas Cromwell. Many of his
motives are questionable, but his involvement was fundamental to
the success of reform in England. Without him, the story of the
English Bible would have been significantly different. He was the
bridge builder between the political and religious reforms.
     Thomas Cromwell was probably born in 1485. His father Walter
Cromwell, alias Smith, of Putney, was a drunken and dishonest
brewer, blacksmith and fuller. After a quarrel, Thomas fled from
his father's house, and it seems he went to Italy, where he
joined the French army.

     In December 1503, at the age of eighteen, he fought in the
battle of Garigliano. From Italy he went to Florence and all we
know is that he was befriended by a banker. When we next hear of
him it is 1510 and he is in Antwerp, where he met a small group
of Bostonians who were on their way to Rome seeking an indulgence
from the Pope to build a business guild in Boston. They hired
Thomas to be their spokesman. He agreed, but before he addressed
Pope Julius II he managed to present him with some candies from
England. Permission for the guild was granted.
     His next appearance is in London in 1512, when he married a
wellto-do lady from Putney. By the early 1520s he was on the
staff of the famous Cardinal Wolsey. By 1523 he became a Member
of Parliament, and in 1524 was admitted to Grays Inn, one of the
legal societies of London. His first speech in Parliament was on
November 2, 1529, against the bill condemning Wolsey. The bill
had already passed the House of Lords, and Wolsey was in serious
trouble, but Cromwell's brilliant defense in the Commons turned
the tide in Wolsey's favor. That speech brought Cromwell into the
national spotlight. For the next decade, Cromwell was Henry's
spokesman in Parliament, and Henry governed Parliament through
Cromwell.
     Cromwell was not the source of Henry's policy, but he was
the instrument by which it was executed. The Reformation Acts
which came between 1532 and 1539 were drafted by him. He was
privy to all the off-the-record discussions, and dutifully
reported them to the king. Cromwell's philosophy was clear. When
Parliament considered independence from Rome, it was he who
stated: "We have reflected upon the wants of the realm, and have
come to the conclusion that the nation ought to form one body;
that body can have but one head, and that head must be the king."
Forming "one body" meant that the church must be an arm of the
state, with the king as its head in place of the Pope. As we have
seen, good men on both sides of the Reformation divide suffered
martyrdom for refusing to acknowledge this edict - men such as
Sir Thomas More, and Bishop Fisher of Rochester. This Act of
Parliament had unprecedented influence on the course to be
followed by the church and the state, and Cromwell was the bridge
between them.
     In 1533 Cromwell became secretary to the king, in 1534
principal secretary and Master of the Rolls, and in 1536 keeper
of the Privy Seal. He was the administrator responsible for
effecting the king's decision to close down all monasteries in
England, with the money from their sale going to the king. It was
not the monks' immorality that drove him with such ruthless
efficiency, but their submission to a foreign potentate in Rome.
He was later rewarded by being made Earl of Essex, and his two
associates were made secretaries to the king. Cromwell also
centralized the administration of the country, so adding to his
own importance.
     But Cromwell over-played his hand, and the higher you go,
the further there is to fall. His downfall was brought about by
the changing faces of international politics. Charles V and
Francis 1, two powerful rulers in Europe, totally committed to
the Catholic faith, were planning to unite against Henry, and
Cromwell devised a scheme to gain a counteralliance with the
Schmalkaldic League of German states. Henry was, at this time,
between wives, and Princess Anne was available for marriage. She
was the daughter of the Duke of Cleves, and sister-in-law to the
Elector of Saxony. With the king's consent, Cromwell arranged the
marriage. After great public fanfare, Anne of Cleves arrived in
England, and was escorted to the king's palace at Greenwich. She
turned out to be portly, ungainly, and ugly, lacking in grace and
refinement. Henry was vastly disappointed, and although he felt
he had to go through with the wedding for reasons of state, he
never consummated the marriage.
     The Anne of Cleves fiasco enabled Cromwell's enemies to turn
Henry against Cromwell. Henry struck at Cromwell remorselessly
and suddenly, like a beast of prey. On June 10, 1540, six months
after the arranged marriage, Henry accused Cromwell of treason,
and sent him to the Tower. His ruthlessness and powerseeking had
made him unpopular and a bill to have him executed was passed in
Parliament, without a dissenting voice. He had not one friend
left in the world, except perhaps for Cranmer. He lost his head
by an axe on Tower Hill on June 20, 1540. He died attesting that
he was a loyal and faithful adherent of the Catholic religion.
It must be said to Cromwell's credit that he was the principal
instrument in making the Bible available to every Englishman,
through every parish church in England. That fact cannot be
overlooked, and will leave the church forever indebted to him. He
also imposed the keeping of a register of births, deaths and
marriages, and changed centuries of tradition by ordering certain
parts of Anglican services to be recited in English instead of
Latin.

(Even in being a Roman Catholic God obviously still used Cromwell
to bring the English Bible to the common people - the Lord can
use whom He decides for His work to do - Keith Hunt)


Father of the English Bible

     William Tyndale is in most respects "the father of the
English Bible." It is true that Wycliffe's Bible preceded
Tyndale's by 143 years, but it had never been printed. Moreover,
since it had not been translated from the original languages but
from the Latin Vulgate, it contained many errors. Erasmus' New
Testament preceded Tyndale's by nine years, but it was in Greek
and Latin, and only the academic world benefited. While Erasmus
desired, according to the preface of his New Testament, "that the
ploughman would sing a text of Scripture at his plough," he did
not make it possible, unless the ploughman was educated in Greek.
     It was Tyndale who provided the Bible in the laborer's
language.

     William Tyndale was born near the Welsh border in the early
1490s. Nothing is known about his parents, or his brothers John
and Edward. He became a student at Magdalen Hall in Oxford, and
graduated with his Master's degree in 1515. He left Oxford for
Cambridge and may have become associated with Bilney's White
Horse Inn fellowship which was to produce archbishops, bishops
and martyrs. It was here in Cambridge that Tyndale witnessed the
spellbinding and regenerating power of the Word of God.
Tyndale realized that only the barriers of culture prevented
revival spreading beyond Cambridge and decided that if the
ordinary man cannot step up to where he can understand the Bible,
then the Bible must step down. Thus he was fired with the vision
of translating the Bible into the language of the common man. It
became the task of his life and the cause of his death.
     Tyndale left Cambridge in 1521 for Little Sodbury Manor,
near the city of Bristol, where he worked for Sir John Walsh,
probably as tutor to his children. He spent his spare time
preaching in the neighborhood, and in his small attic room he
started on the work of translating the Bible. But this was a
dangerous occupation. Back in 1408 a law had been passed against
the Lollards, forbidding any use of Scripture that was not in
Latin. Just two years before Tyndale started his task, six men
and one woman had been burned to death in Coventry for teaching
their children to recite the Lord's Prayer in English. Tyndale
was endangering the lives of the Walsh family by translating the
Bible under their roof.

(Do you see what the terrible climate was in those days - people
being burnt to death for teaching their children to recite the
Lord's Prayer in English!!!  Such was the horror of the spiritual
dark ages! It seems today impossible to imagine some nations of
that age actually went that far as to burn people to death for
learning the Bible in English. All of this history is seldom
taught anywhere today. And being so we still have over ONE
BILLION Roman Catholics on earth today - the GREATEST tool Satan
the Devil has used for centuries to bring the whole world under
the "mysteries of Babylon" and the whore drunk with the blood of
the saints, as the book of Revelation depicts this false church -
Keith Hunt)

     Tyndale knew it was within the power of the Bishop of
London, Cuthbert Tunstall, to give him a job in his household
translating the Bible, so he left Little Sodbury for London, but
it soon became clear that neither in London nor in all England
would he receive the permission he needed. Tyndale was determined
to translate the Bible into English no matter what the cost, and
he decided to exile himself from his native land. He spent six
months working for a merchant who was involved in subsidizing and
importing forbidden Protestant books, and then set sail for the
continent, never to see his homeland again.

     The translation was finished in Wittenberg, Luther's town.
Though Luther was ten years Tyndale's senior, and they did not
agree on all interpretations of Scripture, they were strongly
united by the motto "Isola scriptura" - the Scriptures alone.
While he was in Wittenberg, Tyndale enrolled at the university
under an assumed name and became friends with William Roy, a
fellow Englishman, who assisted him with the writing and promised
to help him get the manuscript published.

     The printing was the most difficult task of all. They went
to Cologne, where they found a willing printer, but English spies
broke up the operation. As the spies came in through the front
door Tyndale was escaping through the back door with whatever
copies were finished. It was a narrow escape. If he had been
found it would almost certainly have meant imprisonment and
death. The two men traveled to Worms, where they found Peter
Schoeffer, a printer who was willing to complete the task. The
Bibles were ready for shipping in December, 1525, and Tyndale and
Roy parted company, the goal of their partnership achieved.
     The Bibles reached England in the spring of 1526 and
fomented national unrest. The king condemned them to a public
burning and harassed and persecuted all found guilty of
possessing or distributing them. The story is told that Tunstall
authorized a merchant trading in Antwerp to buy every available
volume and bring them back to London for burning. What Tunstall
did not know was that the merchant was Tyndale's friend, and at
the king's expense paid Tyndale four times the cost of production
for each copy. So, for every Bible Tunstall burned, the king paid
for three more to be added to Tyndale's arsenal.

     There was now a price on Tyndale's head. Bounty hunters from
England began traveling all over the continent, wearing
disguises, paying for information and tracking down leads, but
all without success. They would bump into each other - but not
into Tyndale! Not one of them had the slightest knowledge of his
whereabouts. Tyndale moved to Marburg and, in disguise, started
to study Hebrew so that he might begin the translation of the Old
Testament. Having mastered this language, he moved to Hamburg,
and from there to Antwerp. It was at this point that he
influenced both John Frith and Miles Coverdale. Frith was to die
by burning at Smithfield, but Coverdale survived to play a major
part in the translation and publication of the Bible in English.
     For the next few years, Tyndale must have known how a fox
feels when the countryside is surrounded by hounds in the hunt.
He became a fugitive, wandering in various disguises from city to
city. What made him particularly elusive was his mastery of seven
languages, each of which he spoke like a native.

                         ........................


To be continued


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