John Wycliffe Research Paper

1745 Words Feb 26th, 2012 7 Pages
The Morning Star of Inspiration
John Wycliffe was a 14th-century English philosopher, theologian, and religious reformer, whose egalitarian ideas and beliefs laid the foundation for the Protestant Reformation. As Peter W. Williams notes in the World Book Advanced, Wycliffe was born sometime between 1320 and 1330 A.D. in Yorkshire, England, and was educated at Balliol College, University of Oxford (Williams). According to Alessandro Conti in his entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, John Wycliffe was trained in the “scholasticism of the medieval Roman Catholic Church,” and became disillusioned with ecclesiastical abuses (Conti). He challenged the Church’s spiritual authority and sponsored the translation of the Christian
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In addition, LaTourette notes that Wycliffe said any leader who was found to be faithless could legitimately loose his office as well as his privileges (663). In his essays On Divine Dominion and On Civil Dominion, Wycliffe wrote the following: “Men hold whatever they had received from God as stewards, and if found faithless, could justly be deprived of it;” and “If through transgression a man forfeited his divine privileges, then of necessity his temporal possessions were also lost.” Wycliffe also maintained that sinful preachers and bishops could be outside of God’s law, and believed that “There was a chance that Popes might err” and that popes were not a necessary element for the administration of the Church (LaTourette 663). Malcolm D. Lambert, writer of Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation, states that John Wycliffe claimed, “a worldly Pope was to be proclaimed a heretic” and should be removed from office (7). Wycliffe did not state explicitly that he considered the English church to be sinful and worldly, but his implication was clear, and on May 22, 1377, Pope Gregory XI issued several bills accusing Wycliffe of heresy (Williams). In autumn of the same year, however, Parliament requested Wycliffe’s opinion on the legality of forbidding the English church to ship its riches abroad at the Pope's command (Smyth). Wycliffe upheld the lawfulness of such a prohibition, and in early 1378, he was

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