Are you looking for a way to make history lessons come alive? Join Michael Farris, Chairman of HSLDA's board of directors, as he explores this topic today on Home School Heartbeat.
Psalm 33:11 says, "The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation." Nothing brings this truth home more than the study of history.
Recently, I really enjoyed reading Wide as the Waters by Benson Bobrick, which traces the history of the English Bible and the resulting political change that accompanied its widespread distribution.
Bobrick first looks at John Wycliffe, the well-known Bible translator. He was trained at Oxford, and indeed Wycliffe was a fine scholar who lived his faith. He believed biblical truth was supreme, and he wanted all men to be able to read the Bible for themselves.
The clergy feared his populist approach. In fact, Pope Gregory XI tried to arrest Wycliffe for heresy, but his Oxford friends protected him. In 1380 he oversaw the translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible into English. Church leaders reacted like the Pharisees of Jesus' day to Wycliffe's work. They were not about to let his ideas and his translation of the Bible undermine their power and their authority.
Forty-four years after Wycliffe's death, church authorities exhumed and burned his body, charging him after the fact—years after the fact—with heresy. A poem was written about this incredible event and predicted that the English Bible, like Wycliffe's dust, would spread as "Wide as the waters be." Indeed it has. I'm Mike Farris.
Dear HSLDA members and friends:
Nothing in my brief remarks on radio should be understood to disparage the Roman Catholic Church of today. HSLDA takes no position on such issues and my comments were not intended otherwise.
That does not mean that I agree with the actions of the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England or any other officially established church during the era of Wycliffe, et al.
I think that an objective reading of history will demonstrate the prime importance of getting the Bible into the hands of ordinary people. Without the popular distribution of the Bible, we would not have American self-government and the free world would not exist.
I do not understand current Catholic teaching to say anything contrary to these views concerning the importance of the Bible.
Friends will never agree over all details of history. What is important is whether we agree on what should be done today.
The point I was trying to make on Home School Heartbeat was to highlight the importance of the Bible and its influence in our society. No criticisms of any current person or church were intended.
Next to the Bible itself, the English Bible was--and is- the most influential book every published. The most famous of all English Bibles, the King James Version, was the culmination centuries of work by various translators, from John Wycliffe the fourteenth-century catalyst of English Bible translation, to the committee of scholars who collaborated on the King James translation.
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