Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

18 June 1528 AD. Arrest & Burn Em! Thomas Wolsey, Anglo-Italian Cardinal, Puts Hit-order on William Tyndale

18 June 1528 AD. Thomas Wolsey, Anglo-Italian Cardinal, puts out the hit-order on William Tyndale.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.  Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. Available at:

Cardinal Wolsey ordered the English ambassador to the Low Countries to demand of the Inquisitors for the Low Country to arrest and extradite William Tyndale.

William Tyndale was born in 1498.  He was educated at Oxford and ordination to the Church of England followed shortly thereafter. He went to Cambridge. Finally, he became a tutor to a wealthy family.

He grew in his conviction that “it is impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scriptures were laid before the eyes in their mother tongue.”

Tyndale’s conviction was the same at Luke the Evangelist and Historian and like Paul the Apostle.  We bring two biblical texts followed by the wrap-up on Tyndale and the Anglo-Italian Cardinal.

Luke believed his Gospel was sufficient for establishment in strong and assured faith. Meanwhile, the Anglican-Italians in England had been obscuring the Bible since 1401 (we’ve covered that elsewhere).  Here’s Luke:

Luke 1:1-4

1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to Luke

(Introductory notes: 1 Luke: Preface 5 Zacharias and Elizabeth. 15 What an one John should be. 20 Zacharias stricken dumb, for his incredulity. 26 The Angel saluteth Mary, and foretelleth Christ’s nativity. 39 Mary visited Elizabeth. 46 Mary’s song. 68 The song of Zacharias, showing that the promised Christ is come. 76 The office of John.)

Forasmuch as [a]many have [b]taken in hand to set forth the story of those things, whereof we are fully persuaded,

2 [c]As they have delivered them unto us, which from the beginning saw them themselves, and were ministers of the word,

It seemed good also to me ([d]most noble Theophilus) as soon as I had searched out perfectly all things [e]from the beginning, to write unto thee thereof from point to point,

That thou mightest [f]acknowledge the certainty of those things whereof thou hast been instructed.


  1. Luke 1:1 Luke commendeth the witnesses that saw this history.
  2. Luke 1:1 Many took it in hand, but did not perform: Luke wrote his Gospel before Matthew and Mark.
  3. Luke 1:2 Luke was not an eyewitness, and therefore it was not he to whom the Lord appeared when Cleopas saw him: and he was taught not only by Paul, but by others of the Apostles also.
  4. Luke 1:3 It is most mighty, and therefore Theophilus was a very honorable man, and in place of great dignity.
  5. Luke 1:3 Luke began his Gospel a great deal farther off, than the others did.
  6. Luke 1:4 Have fuller knowledge of those things, which before thou knewest but meanly.

Now, for a note from Paul.

2 Timothy 3:15-17

1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

15 And that thou hast known the holy Scriptures of a child, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 [a]For the whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable to teach, to convince, to correct, and to instruct in righteousness,

17 That the [b]man of God may be absolute, being made perfect unto all good works.


  1. 2 Timothy 3:16 The eighth admonition, which is most precious: A Pastor must be wise by the word of God only: wherein we have perfectly delivered unto us, whatsoever pertaineth either to discern, know and establish true opinions, and to confute false, and furthermore, to correct evil manners, and to frame good.
  2. 2 Timothy 3:17 The Prophets and expounders of God’s will, are properly and peculiarly called, Men of God.
    We return to the Tyndale-story.
    Tyndale went to the Bishop, the “Lord,” of London seeking assistance for the translation of the Bible into England.  He got no support there.
    Tyndale left England never to return. He settled in Antwerp.  Sympathetic English merchants afforded him protection.
    He translated the Greek NT and portions of the OT into English.  We’ve told the larger story elsewhere.  But, the NT was first published in Germany in 1525.  It was smuggled into England, but the Anglo-Italian Lords favored burning them.  That happened in London by order of the Lord-Bishop. Anti-Christ was energizing Canterbury and London against the Bible in the vernacular and they both began fiercely attacking Tyndale.
    On 18 June 1528, Wolsey’s order was issued to nab Tyndale.
    It took 7 years to track him down.  He was arrested near Brussels and imprisoned at Vilvoorde, Belgium.  He was tossed into a cold prison before he was murdered with malice aforethought, formation of the intent to murder, premeditation and the actual taking of his life.
    He had been charged with heresy: believing in justification by faith alone in Christ alone as well as the sufficiency and divine order of the Bible.
    Tyndale was in his 40s when Anti-Christ’s agents arrested him.  Condemned, he died as a heretic.  At the stake, he cried out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”
    About 2 years later, the fat, 400-lb Imperialist Henry VIII ordered English Bibles into the 9000 churches of England.  Little did the malicious Imperialist realize that most of the work was done by Tyndale. 
    Tyndale’s prayer was answered.  God can manage Balaam’s asses as well as pagan kings when needed.
    Tyndale’s legacy still lives.  90% of the KJV was vintage Tyndale. 75% of the 1952 RSV was and is Tyndalian.  One died as a hero while the other lived like a beast, an adulterer, and murderer.

Psalm 22:2-5

1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

O my God, I cry by day, but thou hearest not: and by night, but [a]have no audience.

But thou art holy, and dost inhabit the [b]praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

They called upon thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.


  1. Psalm 22:2 Or, I cease not.
  2. Psalm 22:3 He meaneth the place of praising, even the Tabernacle: or else it is so called, because he gave the people continually occasion to praise him.
    “Did You Know?” CH. 16:4.
    Duffield, G.E. “Tyndale, William.” NIDCC. 990
Edwards, Brian H. God’s Outlaw. Darlington: Evangelical, 1976.

No comments: