Saturday, March 25, 2017

REFORMATION 500 WEEK 13 WILLIAM TYNDALE PART 2

Reformation 500 WEEK 13    William Tyndale Part 2


     While Tyndale was in hiding trying to finish his English translation of the Bible, the king of England, Henry VIII, was trying to divorce Catherine of Aragon (daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain; and niece of Emperor Charles V), the first of his six wives ("divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived"), because she had provided him with no male heir. Henry appealed to the pope for annulment, arguing that he had violated Leviticus 20:21, “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing…. They shall die childless.” What Henry really wanted was to marry Anne Boleyn, with whom he had been having an affair.

     The question of the legality of Henry’s marriage was considered by the universities; and scholars decided that the king was justified in pursuing divorce. But the pope (for political reasons) refused to give in; and threatened excommunication.

     After reading a copy of Tyndale’s Obedience of the Christian Man, given to him by Anne Boleyn, Henry decided he needed a “scholar like Tyndale to advance his cause of gaining a divorce from his first wife, and establishing himself as a higher authority in England than the pope, so he sent agents after Tyndale to offer him a salary and safe passage back to England. Tyndale respectfully refused this offer, saying he would return to England only if the king granted approval and made arrangements for the Bible to be translated into the English language” (Christian History #16).

     On Jan. 25, 1533, Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn. In May, Thomas Cranmer, the newly installed Archbishop of Canterbury, pronounced the king’s marriage to Catherine null and void. On June 1, 1533, Cranmer crowned Anne as queen (shortly thereafter she gave birth to Elizabeth). In 1534, Henry had Parliament pass the Law of Supremacy, which decreed that the king, not the pope, “justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme Head of the Church of England.”

     In 1535, while Tyndale was living in Antwerp, Belgium, “he was betrayed into the hands of local authorities and agents of Charles V by Henry Phillips, a down-and-out student who professed to be sympathetic to Tyndale’s work” (DeMar, 220).

     Tyndale was imprisoned for more than a year at Vilvorde Castle near Brussels. At his trial, acting as his own lawyer, Tyndale maintained that faith alone justifies before God. He was condemned as a heretic to be strangled and then burned. On October 6, 1536, when the executioner was attaching the wire around his throat, Tyndale’s last words were, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”
     Less than two years later, King Henry “decreed that a copy of the English Bible be placed in every church in the kingdom…. Not long after Tyndale’s death, an English bishop declared to a gathering of churchmen, ‘The common people now know the Holy Scripture better than most of us’.” (Trial and Triumph, 130).

     “Tyndale’s English translation took the English language and turned it into beautiful prose. He coined new terms like ‘scapegoat,’ ‘longsuffering,’ and ‘peacemaker’.” (DeMar, 218). It is estimated “that ninety percent of Tyndale is reproduced in the King James Version of the New Testament” (Our English Bible, 26).


Also during 1534-1536, John Calvin was converted and published the first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. To Calvin we turn next.

NOTE: These Posts were written and  designed as bulletin inserts by Pastor David Fagrey of the Grace Reformed Church of Rapid City, SD .  

Link to this blog entry as a bulletin insert:  Reformation500 William Tyndale Pt 2

For a double-sided PDF for easy printing: Reformation 500 Week 13


Official Seal of  the RCUS
This is the seal of the Reformed Church of the United States (RCUS).  As you can see its history goes back to 1748, when the RCUS began.  We celebrate with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we praise God for what is probably the most amazing spiritual revival in the history of the world.

Page on Omaha Reformed Church's Website: Links to all Bulletin Inserts.

REFORMATION 500 WEEK 13: HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, QUESTION 33-34

Reformation 500 WEEK 13: Heidelberg Catechism, QUESTION 33-34

Question 33: Why is He called God’s only begotten Son, since we also are the children of God? Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God, but we are children of God by adoption, through grace, for His sake.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Sons begotten [brought into existence by the process of reproduction] from parents “are properly called natural sons, to whom the essence and nature of their parents is communicated [not wholly but in part]” (Ursinus, 181). But the Son of God is eternal, as we have already proven in Question 25: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one, true, eternal God. Thus, the Son of God, even before He became a man, has always been God’s only-begotten Son (John 17:5). In a manner that is altogether beyond our comprehension, the Father communicates the whole divine essence to the Son: “as the Father has life in Himself, so He has given the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26). “The Father has, therefore, communicated to Him the life by which He Himself lives by Himself, …which life is that one and eternal Deity” (Ursinus, 181); “since the divine essence is infinite, indivisible, and not communicated in part…the Son has the whole essence communicated to Him, [and] He is, for this reason, equal with the Father, and consequently, true God” (Ursinus, 193). Jesus Christ is according to His eternal divine nature the natural and only Son of God.

The only way for sinners to become children of God is by adoption. God sent His Son into the world to die for our sins, so that God might, for His Son’s sake, confer upon us the right and title of the sons of God, which we forfeited in Adam (John 1:12; Luke 3:38). Before the foundation of the world, God “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5). “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:4-6).

Question 34: Why do you call Him our Lord? Because not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood He has redeemed and purchased us, body and soul, from sin and from all the power of the devil, to be His own.


The title “Lord” means “master, owner.” In the Old Testament, a slave could be freed if a ransom were paid to his master. By our willful disobedience in Adam, we became “slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:20) and the devil (2 Tim. 2:25-26), as God’s just punishment for our sin. But Jesus Christ our Savior has redeemed us from the slavery of sin and Satan, by “giving His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) – to fully satisfy God’s justice; “you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Since His Church was “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), all believers belong to Him as His bondservants (Rom. 6:20-22). By the grace of His Holy Spirit we call Him LORD (1 Cor. 12:3), and are thankful to Him for our redemption. “For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). 

NOTE: These Posts were written and  designed as bulletin inserts by Pastor David Fagrey of the Grace Reformed Church of Rapid City, SD .  

Link to this blog entry as a bulletin insert:  Reformation 500 HC QAs 33-34

For a double-sided PDF for easy printing: Reformation 500 Week 13


Official Seal of  the RCUS
This is the seal of the Reformed Church of the United States (RCUS).  As you can see its history goes back to 1748, when the RCUS began.  We celebrate with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we praise God for what is probably the most amazing spiritual revival in the history of the world.

Page on Omaha Reformed Church's Website: Links to all Bulletin Inserts.