Volume. XXXIV, No. 26
Sunday, 29 December 2019


The story of John Wyclif is crucial to have a true understanding of British, European, and even World history.  Indeed, I would be so bold as to say that without John Wycliffe under God, there would have been no William Tyndale, John Huss or even Martin Luther, and the course of British and European history would have run a far different course.


While Wyclif was Warden of Canterbury Hall, Oxford in 1367, he had as a student a certain Geoffrey Chaucer, who following the steps of his master, reflected much upon the corruptions of the clergy in his “Canterbury Tales,” but who also portrays his master in his description of his POURE PARSON:


A good man was ther of religioun,

And was a poure Persounn of a toun,

But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.

He was also a learned man, a clerk

That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;

His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.

Beniyne he was, and wonder diligent,

And in adversity ful pacient,

And such he was ypreved ofte sithes. . . .


Wyde was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,

But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,

In sicknesse nor in meschief, to visite

The ferreste  in his parish, much and lite,

Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.

The noble  ensample to his sheep he yaf. . . .


He was a shepherde and  noght a mercenarie,

And though he hooly were and vertuous,

He was to sinful men nat despitous,

Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,

But hin is techyng discreet and benygne.

To drawen folk to hevene  by fairnesse,

By good ensample, was his bisynesse. . . .


A bettere preest  I trowe that nowthere noon ys.

He waited after no pompe and reverence,

Ne maked him a spiced conscience,

But Cristes loore, and his apostles twelve,

He taught,  and first he folwed it hymselve.[1]


John de Wyclif was born in the year 1320 just to the north of the A66 which runs west from Scotch Corner to Penrith.  A little to the east of Barnard Castle lies the little hamlet of Wycliffe on Tees, the ancestral home of John de Wyclif.   He died at Lutterworth on the 31st December 1384. 


His life was closely connected with Oxford, where he was in succession Fellow of Merton, Master of Balliol, and Warden of Canterbury Hall.  In 1372 he was presented, by the King, to the rectory of Lutterworth.


It was from Lutterworth in 1374, that he directed his “poor preachers or Lollards”.  These he often referred to as ‘poor priests’, or ‘trew men who preach’.  Wyclif believed in the primacy of preaching:


“O marvellous power of the divine seed!  It overturns strong warriors, softens hearts as hard as stone, and renews in the divine image men brutalised by sin and infinitely far from God.”2


For Wycliffe, preaching was the most important duty of the clergy.  Over 360 of his sermons survive.  Listen to the Evangelical Doctor Wyclif:


“Lift up wretches the eyes of your souls and behold Him in whom was no spot of sin, what pain he suffered, for the sin of man.  He sweat blood and water to wash thee of sin.  He was bound and beaten with scourges, the blood running down his sides, that thou shouldest keep thy body clean in His service.  He was crowned with thorns that you should think on Him and flee all cursed malice.  He was nailed to the Cross with sharp nails through hands and feet, and stung to the heart with a sharp spear, that thy five wits should be ruled by Him.”3


He instructed his “poor preachers”, to appeal to Holy Scripture in all their exhortations and instructions.  In fact, he considered it of divine and therefore of absolute authority, in all matters of faith and practice.  He had gradually come to this conclusion.


  • In his “Trialogus” he writes, “We do not sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or we should abide by the authority of His word, especially that of the evangelists. … Inasmuch as it is the will of the Holy Spirit that our attention should not be dispersed over a large number of objects, but concerned on one sufficient source of instruction, it is his pleasure that the books of the old and new law should be read and studied, and that men should not be taken up with other books, which, true as they may be, and containing Scripture truth as they may, by implication, are not to be confided in without caution or limitation”.4
  • And again, “‘it is impossible that any word or any deed of the Christian should be of equal authority with Holy Scripture’. When, therefore, the Pope asserts that his decrees in matters of faith have the same authority as the Gospel, he is, in Wyclif’s opinion, guilty of blasphemy, because he arrogates to himself the attributes and prerogatives of Deity.”5
  • Because of his view of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, he earned the name “the Evangelical” or “Gospel Doctor.” He had an amazing knowledge of Scripture. He took the different parts of Scripture in close connexion; he made it its own interpreter, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  He dug deep into the vast mine of Scriptural truth, being fully assured that, if he laboured prayerfully in this work, its treasures would be more unfolded to his astonished and delighted view.




[1] The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd Edition, OUP 1966 p.21-22.

2 ‘Wyclif’s Wicket’. Lewis Lupton, Burlington Press, 1984, p. 77

3 Lupton, p.78

4 “Trialogus,” lib. Iii, cap.xxxi, pp.239-240

5 “John Wiclif”: A.R. Pennington; SPCK, 1884 p.151


                          To be continued in the next edition…………………………………….


More Lively Hope



  • Session wishes all worshippers a Blessed New Year.
  • Christmas Greetings from Rev Sun Sokha & Krang Angkrang Faith Church (Phnom Penh).
  • Watchnight Service, this Tue, 31 Dec, 7:30 pm (be seated by 7:15 pm for an on-time start). Please prepare a testimony to share.
  • Working Bee this coming Sat, 4 Jan, 10:30 am followed by lunch. Let’s help clean the church premises & have a fellowship time.
  • A big Thank You to all who contributed dishes, drinks, deserts, etc. to the Christmas Fellowship Lunch & to those who helped set up, decorate & clean up the Hall.
  • Women of Hope Family Picnic on Sat, 18 Jan. More details to follow.
  • Daily Manna (Adult & Junior) for Jan-Mar available in the foyer. Donation $1/copy.
  • All fellowship groups are on break until February. For more details, please contact the fellowship group leaders.
  • Church theme for 2020 is “Look Unto Jesus” from Hebrews 12:2a.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: VFG. Next week: Volunteers


Looking Ahead

  • Women of Hope Family Picnic, Sat, 18 Jan 2020.
  • Easter Family Bible Camp, Fri - Mon, 10 – 13 Apr 2020.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Church visitors in the past week.
  • Christmas Day Service & Lunch.
  • Firefighters, health care workers and volunteers in the SA fires; their safety & wellbeing.
  • All who donated items & funds for the bushfire relief effort.
  • Journey mercies: Those who have travelled.



  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore);and others afflicted with sickness.
  • Comfort for families of victims & those affected by the bushfires in SA, NSW & VIC.
  • Missions – Sis Ang Liang Phoa & family & ministry; Filadelfia BP Church, orphanage & kindergarten (Batam); Air conditioners for worship area of Faith Krang Angkrang Church (PhnomPenh).
  • Batam & Phnom Penh Missions Teams in Jan/Feb 2020 – preparation, planning & fund.
  • Journey mercies: All who are travelling.





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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041