The Story of Redemption


England and Scotland Enlightened

While Luther was opening a closed Bible to the people of Germany, Tyndale was impelled by the Spirit of God to do the same for England. He was a diligent student of the Scriptures, and fearlessly preached his convictions of truth, urging that all doctrines be brought to the test of God's Word. His zeal could but excite opposition from the papists. A learned Catholic doctor who engaged in controversy with him, exclaimed, “It were better for us to be without God's law than without the pope's.” Tyndale replied, “I defy the pope and all his laws; and if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you do.” SR 350.2

The purpose which he had begun to cherish, of giving to the people the New Testament Scriptures in their own language, was now confirmed, and he immediately applied himself to the work. All England seemed closed against him, and he resolved to seek shelter in Germany. Here he began the printing of the English New Testament. Three thousand copies of the New Testament were soon finished, and another edition followed in the same year. SR 350.3

He finally witnessed for his faith by a martyr's death, but the weapons which he prepared have enabled other soldiers to do battle through all the centuries even to our time. SR 351.1

In Scotland the gospel found a champion in the person of John Knox. This truehearted reformer feared not the face of man. The fires of martyrdom, blazing around him, served only to quicken his zeal to greater intensity. With the tyrant's ax held menacingly over his head, he stood his ground, striking sturdy blows on the right hand and on the left, to demolish idolatry. Thus he kept to his purpose, praying and fighting the battles of the Lord, until Scotland was free. SR 351.2

In England, Latimer maintained from the pulpit that the Bible ought to be read in the language of the people. The Author of Holy Scripture, said he, “is God Himself;” and this Scripture partakes of the might and eternity of its Author. “There is no king, emperor, magistrate, and ruler ... but are bound to obey ... His holy word.” “Let us not take any by-walks, but let God's word direct us: let us not walk after ... our forefathers, nor seek not what they did, but what they should have done.” SR 351.3

Barnes and Frith, the faithful friends of Tyndale, arose to defend the truth. The Ridleys and Cranmer followed. These leaders in the English Reformation were men of learning, and most of them had been highly esteemed for zeal or piety in the Romish communion. Their opposition to the Papacy was the result of their knowledge of the errors of the Holy See. Their acquaintance with the mysteries of Babylon gave greater power to their testimonies against her. SR 351.4

The grand principle maintained by Tyndale, Frith, Latimer, and the Ridleys was the divine authority and sufficiency of the sacred Scriptures. They rejected the assumed authority of popes, councils, fathers, and kings to rule the conscience in matters of religious faith. The Bible was their standard, and to this they brought all doctrines and all claims. Faith in God and His Word sustained these holy men as they yielded up their lives at the stake. SR 352.1