The Early Evangelical Movement in England

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The Early Evangelical Movement in England. Religion and Religious Change in England, c.1470-1558. A MARTYR CHURCH. A MARTYR CHURCH. A Martyr Church:. William Tyndale. Detail:. Myth:. HISTORIOGRAPHY:. The Long Reformation consequences not causes: 1530-1558 neglected. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


The Early Evangelical Movement in England

Religion and Religious Change in England, c.1470-1558The Early Evangelical Movement in EnglandA MARTYR CHURCH


A Martyr Church:William Tyndale



HISTORIOGRAPHY:The Long Reformation consequences not causes:1530-1558 neglected.Problematic isms:ReformersEvangelicals not Protestants.Conservatives not Catholics.Revisionism: a vibrant LMC = Reformation as an Act of State:(Rex) Friars often crucial converts.Top Down vs Bottom Up too simplistic.Easily to see as more coherent than it actually was:(Ryrie) Christian Liberty a reckless appeal unwanted followersThinking points:Early Reformation different ideas, different views and different reformers.How they interacted with one another, the wider population and the monarchy is crucial.Contradictory, complex and not easily integrated into a narrative.Reformation in Europe - OriginsLuther:Sola fideSola scripturaPriesthood of All Believers

NO PROTESTANTS UNTIL 1529 (THE DIET OF SPEYER)SIGNIFICANT GIVEN HENRYS BREAK WITH ROME IN 1533Initial Reactions to Luther in England:Vigorous declaration of orthodoxy.

Pope Leo X formally condemned Luther 1521: London, 12th May: public bonfire of Luthers booksVehement sermon by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.

Dipolmatic opportunity foreign ambassadors:Catholicism and monarchy.Cardinal Wolsey trying to become a Papal Legate.

Henry VIII 1521 book against Luther: Assertio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum.Latin and German editions Big hit, more as a result of magnitude of author than quality of its contents.Luther responded by calling Henry a pig and a drunkardFidei Defensor Defender of the Faith.No Lutherans as yet in England:Sporadic evidence of books circulating.Only real point of entry 1520s through trade routes particularly German ones:Mid 1520s, handful of accusations for heresy which seemed to smack of Lutheran ideas.WAS THIS ANY DIFFERENT TO THE REST OF EUOPE?

Robert BarnesLeader of the evangelicals in England:Augustinian Friar (like Luther).Christmas Eve, 1525: preached a sweeping indictment of the state of the Church (very anti Wolsey):Interrogated by WolseyHouse arrest two years only escaped after faking his own suicide in 1528.Became close friend of Luther in Germany.Sermon a starting point? Heroic and defiant, an English equivalent of Luther nailing 95 Thesis to church door in Wittenberg.But more typical than inspirational.Oxford/Cambridge this was, primarily, a theological issue. In that sense distinct from Germany/ Switzerland:Not tied into social and political issues from the get-go.

Thomas Bilney:Inspired by reading Erasmuss translations of the New TestamentNot be Lutheran in the fullest senseBut, crucially, begin to QUESTION

Richard Nix (1530): priests graduating Cambridge: savoureth the frying pan.

Whats in a Question?Piss & Vinegar:Zeal rocked the boat - but not yet completely incompatible with it.Robert Forman, former master of Queens College, Cambridge, became a rector in London.With his curate Thomas Garrett, network for distribution of heretical books.Customer list a whos-who of English and continental evangelicalism.

Renaissance & Humanism:Evangelism part of Englands Renaissance.Humanism a problematic term:C19th Secularist overtonesRenaissance C14th Petrarch:Rebirth/RediscoveryCivilisation in decline since the fall of Rome.Civic Humanism look to Greece/Rome for inspiration.The Power of Reading Challenging AuthoritySignificant ramifications for patterns of thought and university education:Sections of traditional scholarship which medieval universities considered to be of secondary importance poetry, oratory, rhetoric (arts of persuasion by writing).Lovers of words.Belief that more educate/learned, more human.

Words and learning could make society better, by way of truth and virtue.

Words that inspired such thought in ancient texts.Great treasure hunt of archives to interpret and learn from old sourcesPlato rediscoveredCaballaIslamic medicineObsession with texts.Way in which Latin written changed pages are physically different. Rejuvenation in classical architecture and sculpture matched by a transformation in arts of writing and learning.Authenticity key:Historical study of texts became more important.Idea of source criticism had its origins here.Challenge to authenticity of pillars of power bases.Donation of Constantine.Claim that on his conversion to Christianity in the C4th Emperor Constantine had given the Papacy powers over all the known earth.Significant foundation of Papal supremacy.Document on which based shown to be an C8th fraud by Lorenzo Valla in 1440Juan Luis Vives later tutor to Mary I disproved much of the material in collections of saints lives.


Most significant challenge:Erasmuss New Testament (1516).Vulgate bible shown to be full of errors.Most comical - Exodus 34: Hebrew describes Mosess face as shining as he came from Mount Sinai with the 10 CommandmentsLatin Vulgate as horny.Artistic depictions with horns.Shock of hearing Christs words in a new voice and with new meanings was seismic. Whole authority of Western Church for 1000 years now challenged.

Purifying the Bible:

No intention here of overthrowing. Rather, of enthusing with truth and piety.Schism was unthinkable.Many humanists pivotal in the Church.C15th Pope Pius II (Silvio dePiccolomini)Bishops and Cardinals patrons of humanists.England universities benefitted:Bishop Fox of Winchester founded Corpus Christi, Oxford.Wolsey founded Christ Church.Cambridge Christs and Jesus benefitted from similar patronage.

Directed into the Church, not against it.

Breakdown not Inevitable:Thomas MoreGreat defender of Church from early Reformers but cut from the same cloth as them:Would have been a cleric if not so much pressure from family to become a lawyer.Household full of humanist learning:Patron of artsA great witPatron of a republic of lettersPart of a European-wide circle of learning Erasmus considered a friend.John Colet (Dean of St. Pauls), Thomas Linacre, William Lily:Men keen to revitalize theology through their study of Greek language and classic culture.Key: devotional practices/piety in the world:Previously been the ideal of monks cloistered away from it.Utopia, satirizes European society for lacking Christian piety and charity.Authored works of lay piety/ verse/ translations of famous spiritual works/ Augustines letters.More demanding levels of self-examination than previously expected.

Urge to reform present here to rejuvenate a Church which devoted to.Involvement with Carthusians in London.Devotional circles, circulation of spiritual works.

That zeal seen in writings against Luther during 1520s:

Defend Henry VIII from Luthers attackResponsio ad Lutheran (1523)Issue - sola scriptura: Denied the validity of Catholic tradition, and undermined the sacramental system of the church. More's defence relied on the Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit preserved and guided the church both through scripture and through traditionAs a visible institution containing all Christians, the church operated by Spirit-guided consensus, not individual persuasion.Essentially: the Church was Christs Body, and His spirit must therefore be present in it.

That fundamental and impassioned belief in the Truth of the Church as an historical institution would be point of disputation with another man equally devoted to Erasmus, to classical learning and to the revitalisation of Christendom:


William Tyndale:Priest from Gloucesteshire - studied at Oxford.

Attracted to Erasmuss piety & began to translate his works into English during the mid-1520s.Popular scripture gripped him idea of piety through reading.1523 - translating New Testament into English (illegal)

Nave times changing: Asked Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London, for supportTunstall a friend of Erasmus.Denied fact allowed to stay London a sign that Tyndale not understood to be a heretic at this point.Tyndale left for the continent dodging attempts to catch him on Colonge to finally publish his English New Testament at Worms in 1526.Translated from Greek, following the practice of Erasmus.Basis for almost all versions which follow in English up to 1611 King James Bible.

Small size, easy to smuggle, for Word to be disseminated in England: Reading not necessarily = Protestant, But certainly seen as heretical - Tunstall seized and burnt in London.Impact: read Scripture hear the Word of God first time in native tongue:Very sensual accounts, drama of that impact for some.New criteria simple but powerful:Did the practices of the Church find their sanction in that Word? Empowering, because it gave people admittedly small numbers at this stage ability to question.

Labelling Tyndale:Problem of definition: was he a Lutheran or a Protestant?Where do you draw the line?Or is there scope for movement and discussion around a body of key issues which makes boundaries porous and fluid?Tyndale: heavily indebted to Luthers theology; but also an advocate of Erasmarian piety which is often in tension with it.1520s, works in favour of:Justification By Faith AloneAgainst English clergyNascent political theory of continental evangelicals.

Key Works:The Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1528)Exposition on Luke 16 heavily inspired by Luther.Good works are an important part of a Christians life, but no efficacy in salvation.Rather, the product of saving grace imputed to the believer through Faith Alone.Obedience of A Christian Man (1528)Two key principles: 1) supreme authority of scripture in the Church undercut papacy; 2) supreme authority of the king in the state.See how 2 would conflict as King took charge of Church in 1530s.Practice of Prelates (1530)Church was a conspiracy to maintain papal power, suffocating rights of Kings in their own realms.

AT THIS POINT THERE IS NOT A PARTY LINE BUT PASSIONATE DISCUSSION AROUND CORE ISSUES.Other Early Thinkers:- John Frith executed for heresy in 1533:Texts against purgatoryPosition on the Eucharist further than Luther towards a position more akin with the Swiss Reformed in which Christ not present in the Bread & the Wine at all.Miles Coverdale:Finished Tyndales work by producing an English translation of the Old TestamentLess fiery, but nevertheless a considerable body of work challenging the religious status quo.Robert Barnes closest to Luther of all English writers.

3 periods:1) 1521-25 internationalist period.2) 1525-28 Renaissance phase.3) 1528-33 shock & awe.


Tunstall (Bishop of London), Wolsey, William Warham (Archbishop of Canterbury):Reluctant persecutors because had much in common with the regime. Scholars with a humanist education and keen to reform the Church.Perennial stage in Church reform, discussion, or of zeal misplaced.

Christian Charity:To convert, correct or dissuade from error.Tunstall much speaking/effort. Try to restore to orthodoxy.Even bent the legal procedure in Bilneys trial to try to resolve2) 1525-28 Renaissance phase:

BATTLE LINES PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC NOT YET DRAWNRigour and rule of the law to avoid equivocations and half measures:13 people burned 1530-33:Small by European standards, but about impact.100s arrested and investigated.Lists of prohibited books produced.Public recantations long, humiliating demonstrations of the states power and the severity of the crime.More produced forensic rebuttals of major works by Frith, Barnes, and Tyndale:European-wide campaign to catch Tyndale executed Antwerp, 1536.

Change late 1520s with discovery of some men deemed to be Lollards.

More vigorous pursuit: Cruel? Or rational?

Gods wrath.

Mens souls

Key figures:Thomas More, Lord Chancellor from 1529.John Stokesley the new Bishop of London.

3) 1528-33 shock & awe.

(Un)doubting Thomas:Thomas More, Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529):Tyndale's offence has been1) To give the people Paul in English2) And to translate key words in their Greek meanings as senior, congregation, love, and repent, instead of the church's priest, church, charity, and do penance.

Confutation 2000 pages of dispute with Tyndales work.Tyndale/Luther denied various beliefs/practices (purgatory and the veneration of saints) on the basis of insufficient scriptural attestation. More argued forcefully for Churchs authority as the bearer and interpreter of scripture (rather than individuals).Championed the visible/institutional Church, presided over by the Pope but stretching back through history to the first gatherings around Christ. The consensus fidelium, guided by the Spirit, shaped and perpetuated the church and accounted for its unity and independence from secular controlA far more comprehensive view of the community of the faithful than Tyndale allowed.


Final Assessment:Small, but vigorous. Intense and intimate networks of scholars making an impact disproportionate to their numbers.Body of materials which subsequent generations build on Tyndales New Testament.Henry would draw on much of the expertise in justifying the break from Rome.Numerically, not vast certainly a long way from continental models.Why? Printing:English print industry a centre behind German/Dutch models; only one centre (London) which made fairly easy to censor.Long way from millions of religious tracts disseminated in 1520s Germany.Certainly not an extensive public movement initially (1520s, early 1530s).

English Exceptionalism?Scotland, Netherlands, France and Italy also Catholic states facing a nascent heresy:Protestant views also aired through more acceptable humanist dress.France courtly and artistic circle (Francis I).Italy spirituali clerical movement.Netherlands unique urbanised; trade routes, melting pot for ideas and materials.German and Swiss models are the exceptions in the Reformation (a fact often forgotten when its history is written).

Concluding thoughts:Role of politics crucial in shaping fortunes seen by vigour of the English states response in the 1520s.Next week, see what happens when that context changes: Royal Supremacy.Challenge to the absolute power of the Papacy and the Catholic Churchs universality as significant in European history as Luthers doctrinal assaults.