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We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

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Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

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Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

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Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

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Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

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Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

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Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by the Revd Canon Chuck Collins

Christianity’s Dangerous Idea

By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins 

King Henry VIII was a religious Catholic in belief and practice all his life, so the odd occasions when he favoured Protestant ideas are notable. He was certainly influenced by the Protestants who occupied his court for their shared anti-pope sentiments. Henry issued a royal proclamation May 6, 1541 that an English translation of the Bible be in every church in England. This was on the heels of his chief minister’s (Thomas Cromwell) order in 1538, to provide “one book of the Bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it.” The Bible commissioned by King Henry was The Great Bible compiled by Myles Coverdale. This was a 1539 English translation that used William Tyndale’s New Testament and Pentateuch, and since Tyndale’s Bible was incomplete when he was martyred, the Old Testament English translation was supplied by Myles Coverdale (translated from the Latin Vulgate). The Great Bible changed everything!

Having the Bible available in English was kryptonite to the non-biblical and extra-biblical teachings of the medieval church, and the Reformation in England that began with John Wycliffe (Lollards) 150 years earlier would now not be stopped. For the first time in 1500 years normal Christians were permitted access to the great biblical doctrines of “justification by faith” and “the priesthood of all believers.” To their delight they read that the Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) word of God, and profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness.

Alister McGrath claimed that Christianity’s “dangerous idea” is that the Bible can be read and understood by individuals — “Protestantism took its stand on the right of individuals to interpret the Bible for themselves rather than be forced to submit to ‘official’ interpretations handed down by popes or other centralised authorities.” This one idea changed the landscape of the English church and society. The Bible is plain to read and plain to understand by ordinary people in all essential matters pertaining to salvation (Articles of Religion, Article 6). The first traditional Anglican homily states: “As drink is pleasant to those who are dry, and meat to those who are hungry, so is the reading, searching, and studying of holy scripture to those who desire to know God, or themselves, and to do his will.” Thomas Cranmer goes on to write in this homily to say, “Let us diligently search for the well of life in the books of the New and Old Testaments, and not run to the stinking puddles of people’s traditions.” There is no way to overestimate the impact the Bible translated into English had in Great Britain for all the ages!

Myles Coverdale was arrested and imprisoned when Mary Tudor became Queen. He might have been martyred along with almost 300 other Protestants had it not been for the King of Denmark intervening. Coverdale went into exile in 1555, first in Denmark and then to Switzerland. He returned to England when Elizabeth I succeeded her stepsister to the throne, and he resumed preaching the gospel until his death in 1569.

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