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Moreover, radicalism spread to Bohemia. Bohemia is where Czech Republic is located. The writings of Wycliffe made their way to hands of John Huss. This is pretty amazing considering that there were no printing presses during Wycliffe’s day, and his few translations available were copied by hand. Huss was a scholar also. He had studied philosophy and theology at University of Prague. This university went on to become one of most famous institutions of higher learning in Europe. Huss came to share most of Wycliffe’s views about scripture. Huss finally drew wrath of Catholic Church and under guise of safe passage to Council of Constance, he was arrested and burned at stake. His last words were, ‘Lord, into Thy hand I commend my spirit.’ I might add that burning of John Huss did not accomplish its objectives. His followers, called Hussites, increased more and more. One of Hussite groups was Moravians. They were famous for their missionary activities and influence on John and Charles Wesley. In 1501 Hussites printed first non-Catholic hymnbook. I think it’s rather ironic that after Huss was executed they cast his ashes into Rhine River, flowing northward into Germany. A soon-to-be-famous German by name of Martin Luther would one-day write, ‘If John Huss was a heretic, then there is not a single Christian under sun.’
I could go on naming many more radicals of that time. There were men like Ulrich von Hutten (c.1488-1523) who took liberty of attacking papacy as it had never been attacked in Germany. Also there was John Reuchlin (c.1455-1522) who wrote a book that was friendly toward Jews, and pope condemned it. And then at apex of radical movement was, of course, Martin Luther. This former Catholic monk turned world upside down with his “revelation” of Paul’s writing to Romans—the just shall live by faith. That’s right. Martin Luther revealed teaching about salvation by faith alone to world at no small cost. Salvation by faith alone was a radical concept for 16th century.
And there you have it. Many of basic doctrines of Protestant Christianity were once radical ideas and didn’t set well with powerful Catholic Church. Today we wouldn’t call these men radicals. We’d call them reformers, visionaries, or forefathers of faith, but we certainly wouldn’t consider their beliefs radical. In like manner, one day when Jesus rules from Holy City of Jerusalem, we who were once considered “holy rollers” will be considered sedate compared to saints before throne. Brother and sister I think it’s time to get RADICAL.
Pastor Terry Dashner—Faith Fellowship Church—PO Box 1586, B.A. OK for other articles on church history—firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastors a small church in Broken Arrow, OK