John Wycliffe and the Lollards
The Lollards were a pre Reformation group who followed John Wycliffe. John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was a theologian and early proponent of reform in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He initiated the first translation of the Bible into the English language and is considered the main precursor of the Protestant Reformation. The Lollards urged the development of Bible studies, taught reliance on the Holy Spirit as a guide, and encouraged their members to reach their own decisions on matters of faith rather than accepting ecclesiastical opinions and dogmas. Due to immense wealth and power of the Church during the Middle Ages, John Wycliffe taught that the state had the right to take the property of any clergymen who had become corrupt. He sent out followers called “poor preachers”, who went around the country spreading his views. His overall concern was to see the church imitate the life of Christ more clearly, with a life of a poverty and simplicity. Later he also taught that God’s true Church consists of God's chosen people and that there was no need of a priest for mediation between them and God. In an article that I recently read, it was noted that Wycliffe and his followers believed the Church to be the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness, including the Church triumphant in heaven and the Church militant or men on earth. The article also noted that No one who is eternally lost can have any part in the Church and that the Church, whose head is Jesus Christ (not a pope), is one universal church with no salvation outside of it. After Wycliffe’s death, the Lollards increased in number and in the 16th century they merged with the Protestants. ( www.anabaptistnetwork.com/book/export/html/28. The Lollards. Stuart MurrayWilliams.). This group rejected superstition, doctrines such as transubstantiation, (transubstantiation was regarded as a recent and perverted development...
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