FRIDAY CHURCH NEWS NOTES
April 8, 2011 Volume 12, Issue 14
What the reporter forgot to mention was Rome’s most significant role in that project, which was burning that “Catholic priest” in a public spectacle in Vilvoorde, Belgium. The “priest” in question was William Tyndale, who published the first printed English Bible and the first English Bible translated directly from Greek and Hebrew. Though he was an ordained Catholic priest, he renounced the Roman Catholic Church and its heresies and called the pope the Antichrist.
In The Practice of Prelates, Tyndale likened the pope to an ivy which climbs up a tree and gradually saps the strength of the host and kills it, emphasizing that this is what the pope had done to England and every other nation under the papal thumb. Tyndale called Roman Catholicism “a nest for unclean birds.” Tyndale also brazenly disobeyed Rome’s law that forbade the translation of the Bible into the common languages of the people without ecclesiastical permission.
When the Tyndale New Testament was smuggled into England (because the Roman Catholic authorities there forbade its distribution) large quantities were confiscated and burned, beginning in 1526. By 1528, the prisons were filled with those who had committed the “crime” of reading the New Testament in English, and in 1529 Thomas Hitton became the first in a long line of believers who were burned at the stake for possessing the Tyndale Bible. (Others had previously been burned for possessing the Wycliffe Bible.)
In May 1535, Tyndale was arrested for his “heresies” and for his audacity at thumbing his nose at papal laws. After being imprisoned for nearly a year and a half in a cold, dreary dungeon in the castle at Vilvoorde, William Tyndale was taken out to the public square, strangled, and his body burned. Roman Catholic authorities also burned John Rogers, the translator of the Matthew’s Bible, another Bible in the lineage of the 1611 King James. Further, the Geneva Bible, which was the most popular English Bible before the KJV, was produced in Geneva, Switzerland, instead of England for the simple reason that the Roman Catholic Queen Mary was pouring out such vicious persecution upon Bible believers that many fled to Geneva for safety.
And going back before Tyndale to the first English Bible, let’s not forget that the Roman Catholic Church condemned John Wycliffe of “heresy” for translating the English Bible and so hated his memory that they dug up his bones and burned them nearly 44 years after his death. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church did have a major role in the English Bibles preceding the King James, and let’s not forget it!