Tuesday, October 6, 2020

William Tyndale on the Need for Reformation

On this day (October 6) in 1536, William Tyndale, Bible translator and Protestant reformer, was burned at the stake for heresy. His desire and goal can be seen in the following salutation and prayer from the preface to his book, "An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue" (1531). 

“The grace of our Lord, the light of his Spirit to see and judge, true repentance towards God’s law, a fast faith in the merciful promises that are in our Saviour Christ, fervent love toward thy neighbour after the ensample of Christ and his saints, be with thee, O reader, and with all that love the truth, and long for the redemption of God’s elect. Amen.” 

And the beginning of the book, he described the need for reform in the church in this way, 

"This word church hath divers significations. First it signifieth a place or house; whither christian people were wont in the old time to resort at times convenient, for to hear the word of doctrine, the law of God, and the faith of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and how and what to pray, and whence to ask power and strength to live godly. For the officer, thereto appointed, preached the pure word of God church only, and prayed in a tongue that all men understood: and the people hearkened unto his prayers, and said thereto Amen; and prayed with him in their hearts, and of him learned to pray at home and everywhere, and to instruct every man his household.

"Where now we hear but voices without significations, and buzzings, howlings, and cryings, as it were the hallooing of foxes, or baitings of bears; and wonder at disguisings and toys, whereof we know no meaning. By reason whereof we be fallen into such ignorance, that we know of the mercy and promises, which are in Christ, nothing at all. And of the law of God we think as do the Turks, and as did the old heathen people; how that it is a thing which every man may do of his own power, and in doing thereof becometh good, and waxeth righteous, and deserveth heaven; yea, and are yet more mad than that: for we imagine the same of fantasies, and vain ceremonies of our own making; neither needful unto the taming of our own flesh, neither profitable unto our neighbour, neither honour unto God. And of prayer we think, that no man can pray but at church; and that it a nothing else but to say Pater noster unto a post: wherewith yet, and with other observances of our own imagining, we believe we deserve to be sped of all that our blind hearts desire."


No comments: