Chapter – Later English Reformers
“The grand principle maintained by these Reformers was the infallible authority of the Holy Scriptures as a rule of faith and practice. They denied the right of popes, councils, Fathers, and kings, to control the conscience in matters of religion. The Bible was their authority, and by its teaching they tested all doctrines and all claims. Faith in God and His word sustained these holy men as they yielded up their lives at the stake.”
Lessons I’ve Learned
- As with other great Reformers, the English Reformers likewise exhibited powerful strength of character as champions of truth. They were zealous, bold, self-sacrificing, humble, faithful, untiring, and devoted to God. Love for God and the Holy Scriptures led them to speak the truth fearlessly, live the truth, and die for the truth. Their lives present a lesson of priceless worth to every Christian.
- The question men wrestled with in those dark ages is the same one many wrestle with today: “How should man be just before God?”
- God caused reform to begin within the established church rather than without. With the help of clergy, some who became zealous preachers of God’s truth opened doors for the truth to penetrate where it was greatly needed.
- Wesley declared there is perfect harmony between the law and the gospel. On the one hand, the law points us to the gospel; on the other hand, the gospel leads us to fulfill the law.
- The erroneous doctrines that attacked God’s law are the same today; teaching that there is no unchanging divine law as the standard of right, but that the standard of morality is indicated by society itself, and has been subject to change constantly.
Questions for Discussion
- Who succeeded in printing the New Testament for England? What reasons compelled him to do so? Under what obstacles was he obliged to carry out his work? Where was the New Testament printed and how did it find its way into England? How did the Bishop Durham help the cause unwittingly?
- What friends of Tyndale defended the truth? According to Latimer, who was the most diligent bishop in all of England and how did he work?
- Who was Scotland’s great leader in the Reformation? How did he witness for the truth before royalty? How effective was his leadership?
- What great doctrine did the Wesleyians struggle with in their search for the favor of God? How did the Moravians lead John Wesley to a clearer understanding of Bible faith?
- How did Wesley explain the close connection between the law and the gospel?
Family Worship Idea
Using the SDA Hymnal, find the hymns Charles and John Wesley wrote as listed in the author index. Choose some to sing. Discuss what message each song conveys. If some are unfamiliar, choose one or two to learn.
Sharon Hanlon and her husband, Steve, live in Allen, Texas. They are active in the Richardson Seventh-day Adventist English Church. Sharon has served as Adventurer Director, Master Guide Director, and instructor in the children’s Sabbath School. She was a small-schools teacher for several years in Texas and Colorado. She is a Primary Montessori teacher currently. Sharon enjoys reading, cooking, birds, and hiking. She collects pencils and bird houses.