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Scripture for Ploughboys
Volume 75, Program 26
6/25/2007
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The First Amendment recognizes the right to the free exercise of religion—but our Founders didn’t come up with that idea on their own. Today on Home School Heartbeat, Michael Farris reads an excerpt from his new book, From Tyndale to Madison, that traces the history of religious freedom.

Mike Farris:
There are times when profound ideas are most clearly articulated in the heat of debate. A simple statement changes the course of lives—and sometimes of civilization.

In the western shire of Gloucester there stands yet today a grand stone house, Little Sodbury Manor. In 1522, an Oxford scholar named William Tyndale secured a position in this home as the tutor for the children of the lord of the manor, Sir John Walsh, and his wife, Lady Anne.

Tyndale, like the Walshes, came to have strong Protestant leanings in an age where religious conformity was expected and violently enforced. While living at Little Sodbury, Tyndale had an argumentative encounter with a traveling “learned man.” A theological debate erupted between them, in which Tyndale demonstrated that the cleric’s position was contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

To this the learned man replied, “We were better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s!”

Tyndale swiftly declared, “I defy the Pope and all his laws.” Tyndale went on to assert that “if God spared him life, ’ere many years, he would cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than he did.”

With these few words, Tyndale not only declared the central purpose of his own life, but also unknowingly set into motion a long chain of events that would ultimately lead to the religious liberty of the American people.

I’m Mike Farris.


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From Tyndale to Madison

by
Michael Farris

From the remarkable translation work of William Tyndale to the court intrigues of Henry VIII and Thomas More, the battle for the English Bible culminates in the venerable King James Version. Also detailed is the spread of the Reformation through the eyes of Martin Luther, John Knox, and John Calvin—in their own, often surprising words. Read their incredible story.

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