Mister Richardson’s
Church History Class

Chapter 20

A. The Waldenses
1. The Cluny Reforms had been mildly successful, but the western church still had many problems.
2. Greed and worldliness still ruled in many places in the church.
3. In France, in the late 1100's, the followers of Peter Waldo (the Waldenses) looked to the Bible as their only rule of faith and life.
4. They fasted regularly and practiced lay preaching.
5. The Roman Catholic Church organized the preaching friars mainly to oppose the Waldenses, because the Waldenses were considered heretics.
6. The Inquisition was established to root out heresy and many of the Waldenses were persecuted or executed.

B. John Wycliffe
1. John Wycliffe was born in England in 1320.
2. He became a professor at Oxford around 1345.
3. Later, Wycliffe began to teach that the church had been corrupted by power and money and he even referred to the pope as Antichrist.
4. He also believed that the Bible, instead of the Church, should be the only rule for faith and life.
5. He translated the Latin Vulgate into English, but the Church denounced it as an unauthorized translation.
6. The Church tried to silence Wycliffe by having him kicked out of Oxford.
7. But he continued preaching at his church in Lutterworth.
8. Wycliffe established traveling preachers and his followers were known as Lollards.
9. Wycliffe died of natural causes in 1384.
10. He was declared a heretic in 1415.
11. His body was dug up and burned in 1427.

John Wycliffe's pulpit

C. John Hus
1. John Hus was born in Bohemia in 1369 and became a priest.
2. He later became head of the University of Prague.
3. Hus read the writings of Wycliffe and began to preach against the corruption of the clergy.
4. He taught that Christ was the head of the Church and that popes and cardinals were unnecessary.
5. He also preached against indulgences.
6. Hus was excommunicated by Pope John XXIII, but he appealed to the Council meeting at Constance.
7. Emperor Sigismund gave Hus a guarantee of safe-conduct.
8. However, heretics had no rights, so Hus spent eight months in prison.
9. In July, 1415, he was burned at the stake.
10. Because of this action, war followed in Bohemia.

D. The Brethren of the Common Life
1. This movement was started around 1350 by Gerhard Groote in Germany.
2. The Brethren were strong believers in education.
3. They believed that schools could help promote better Christian living.
4. Their schools greatly influenced Wessel Gansfort, Erasmus, and Thomas a Kempis.
5. Wessel Gansfort was a theologian and teacher who wrote against some of various practices of the Church. He is thought of as a "reformer before the Reformation."
6. Erasmus wrote about the many abuses of the church.
7. He also compiled the Greek New Testament, which greatly influenced the Reformation.
8. Thomas a Kempis influenced Christians through his book, The Imitation of Christ.
9. Another important influence was John of Wessel.
10. He was a professor at the University of Erfurt and attacked indulgences and transubstantiation and believed in justification by faith.
11. He was tried for heresy, recanted, and died in prison in 1481.