Perspective on the Teachings of Jan Hus

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Jan Hus
From “The Church”

Jan Hus was a Czech Roman Catholic preacher and writer in Prague. His teachings were influenced by the English theologian Wyclif. Wyclif was one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing political power; he started anticlerical and biblically centered reforms known as the Lollard Movement. The Lollard Movement was a precursor to the protestant reformation. Likewise, Hus called for radical reforms in the church. Of primary concern to Hus was the designation of the Pontiff, or Pope, within the church. Based on his radical views and strong opposition to the church’s foundational belief that the pope is the head of the church, Jan Hus was accused of heresy and was condemned. Hus recorded his perspective and teachings in monographs which were used by his accusers to build a case against him. Of the thirty-nine sentences read to him at his trial, twenty-six of them were based on his work “The Church.” Because Hus refused to renounce his beliefs he was burned at the stake, becoming a national martyr against the Catholic Church.

The excerpts from his work “The Church” express Hus’s opinions on the papacy. He begins by characterizing the role of Christ within the church. Hus uses scriptures from Matthew, I Peter, Hebrews, Luke, John, Philippians, and revelations to support his argument, that Jesus is the only true roman pontiff, or bishop, of the Roman Catholic Church. Hus interprets these scriptures as describing three major themes of Christ: 1) Jesus is at the right hand of god, and no one can be saved without him, 2) Jesus is omnipresent and all knowing, and that 3) Jesus is god. Jon Hus uses these scriptures to contend that Jesus is the only true bishop because he baptizes and takes away the sins of the world, holds supreme guardianship over man, and that he is the pope, or father of the future age. Hus concludes that everyone is subject to the pontiff, Jesus, for salvation, and that there is no other pontiff except for...
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