The Bible Convictions of John Wycliffe – Steven J. Lawson

Steven J. Lawson, The Bible Convictions of John Wycliffe (Sanford: Ligonier Ministries, 2021), 212 pp.

The Council of Constance condemned him as a heretic on May 4, 1415. His writings were banned and he was condemned on 260 different counts and posthumously excommunicated. That is, he was banished from the church after his death. Pope Martin V decreed that his body should be exhumed from the ground and burned. The pope also decreed that his writings were to go up in flames. The exhumation and cremation of his corpse were carried out in 1428, his ashes cast into the River Swift which flows through Lutterworth, England.

Who was this man who drew the ire of the most influential leaders in the Roman Catholic Church which included the Pope himself? This man produced more than 200 written works in his lifetime and his beliefs reverberated throughout England and spread from there. His name — is John Wycliffe. He is the subject of Steven J. Lawson’s most recent book, The Bible Convictions of John Wycliffe.

Lawson’s work is also the latest installment in the outstanding series, A Long Line of Godly Men. The thirteen books that appear in this series unveil a host of godly men who have left their mark on both the church and the world. This series is noteworthy as it educates, inspires, and challenges the current day reader. It is impossible to walk through these volumes without being convicted and encouraged. I commend each book without reservation.

The Bible Convictions of John Wycliffe show the inner working of the man and the historical context that he served. The Roman Catholic Church was Wycliffe’s most fierce opponent as he labored to teach, preach, and translate the Word of God into English.

Wycliffe was a formidable theologian, who was deeply committed to the truth of Scripture. He was a staunch defender of the Bible and the Christian faith and refused to back down, even in the face of persecution. Dr. Lawson says this about John Wycliffe:

He was a man who was willing to pay any price to bring the Word of God to the people of his country. He was willing to risk his personal livelihood and reputation to place into the hands of his fellow Englishmen a Bible they could read and understand. The sacrifices that Wycliffe made were enormous, as he died in the midst of producing an English Bible.

The Morningstar of the Reformation helped “set the table” for men like Jan Hus and Martin Luther. These bold and courageous men put the Bible front and center out of a sense of duty as well as delight. Our challenge is to learn these great lessons well and allow the truth of God’s Word to shape us and mold us and transform us into the kind of people that God wants us to be!

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