John Wycliffe was born on Yorkshire, England, around 1330. In 1360 he entered Oxford University as a professor. He is considered to be one of the reformers, due to his various attacks on the Catholic religion.
He attacked the confessions of sins to a priest, claiming that the confession was not to man but to God, and that He is the only that can forgive sins and not man. He urged people to trust entirely in Jesus, and that faith in Him was enough for salvation.
He was also opposed to the absolution of man. The Catholics taught that only a priest or bishop could free a person from the guilt of sin by simply telling him or paying for it. Wycliffe said that we must repent in our hearts, for in any other way God could not absolve us from the guilt of sin. With this, he attacked the indulgences saying that they were a blasphemy against the wisdom of God, that they were mere avarice, and greed. He said that they conversed about grace as if it was a thing that could be bought or sold like an ox or a donkey, and by doing it they learn to make a market of selling forgiveness. John said that even if you have monks to sing for you, and even if you hear a lot of masses each day, or even if you build up chapels in your honor, and colleges, or if you go on pilgrimage all your life, and even if you give all of you goods to the forgivers, all of this will not take your souls to Heaven.
Not only did he attack these teachings, but he also demanded the use of preaching. He said that the highest service that a man can reach on Earth is the preaching of the law of God. He said that the words of God will give man a new life; more than the other words that are for pleasure. He also wrote that the priests were the ones that had to preach, so they could produce sons of God. Also, that all Christians are priests, who may go directly before God.
With many other things that he said and wrote, he urged that the Church in England ought to be separate from the papacy. However, with the several circumstances that were going around in that time like the Black Death, the Great Western Schism, and the the Great Revolt that broke out in England, both the government and the church abandoned Wycliffe. What could have been an earlier reformation, and instead of having to wait for Martin Luther, was turned down by the circumstances of the fourteenth century.
The Great Western Schism is not The Great Schism. The Great Schism was the time when Christendom was divided between the East and the West. The West remained as the Catholics and the East remained as the Orthodox Church (this still persists today). The Great Western Schism was a time where the Catholic Church was divided among itself.
The Romans had been demanding a Roman, or at least an Italian pope. This was because for several years there had been French popes (seven of them), and they had been residing in Avignon, a French land due to the Babylonian captivity of the church. Until Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome in January of the year 1377. After this Roman mob was heard from the cardinals, they elect Bartolomeo Prignano, an Italian, as their next pope. Bartolomeo then takes the name of Pope Urban VI. The cardinals had chosen him for his fame of being a man of even temperament. Unlikely, he began to have sudden erratic behaviors where he would violently denounce church officials, and even stroke one. For this reason, the cardinals reassembled for a new conclave, where they elected a Frenchman known as Pope Clement VII. Nevertheless, Urban VI refused to abdicate, so Clement VII took up residence in Avignon. This was the beginning of the Great Western Schism.
Both of the popes began to excommunicate each other, the people began to divide themselves on favoring one or the other, there was confusion on who was the real pope, and even the both popes had their own cardinals and saints. Finally, it was decided that the line of Rome had been the correct one all along. Notwithstanding, it was in the Council of Pisa where it was decided that none of the popes were legitimate, therefore a new pope was elected, so now you had three popes. It was until the Council of Constance that Pope Martin V was elected in 1415, and was now recognized as the universal legitimate pope resolving the Great Western Schism.
With this, I can say that this is the result of putting the eyes in man and not in God. As a result, it brings confusion, chaos, and the separation of humans with God.
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
I am not saying that everybody should rule everybody, but that we must all have the same Spirit, submitting to one another.
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
As to John Wycliffe, I would like to add a few things in to what he said.
I agree that man cannot forgive sins in a way of taking the role of God. Nevertheless, we should confess our sins publicly, and we do have the power to retain sins.
And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
In these verses we see that they confessed their sins to one another provoking freedom in their souls. We can also see that if you do not forgive the sins of someone else, they will not be forgiven by God. This means that we must forgive infinitely.
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Also, if we don’t forgive others sins, ours will not be forgiven.
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
We should forgive those who have offended us, and we do have the power to forgive others sins. However, we must not put our eyes in man. God is the only one that can erase the sins of man, and redeem him. Therefore, confessing our sins in a way that gives a priest the “power” to determine your salvation, or redeem you, is not Godly. It is also not in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say that we must confess our sins to a certain person, and that person will determine if we are saved. Jesus is the only one that can make us free, and give us eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now that I have explained this, I can also say that indulgences are unrighteous into the eyes of God. They are only used by the priests to steal your money. The indulgences are used in a way of saying that the sacrifice and blood of Jesus wasn’t good enough or powerful enough to forgive our sins and give us eternal life, hence, I must pay perishable money in order to be saved and forgiven. Money is not eternal, so it cannot count for eternal things. In contrast, the blood Jesus defeated the devil, and it is ALL powerful to set you free. We CANNOT trade the blood of Jesus for money that offends God greatly!
I also agree that neither monks, nor masses, nor chapels, pilgrimages, giving your goods, etc., can save your soul, but it is only Elohim that can save you. Truly believing in Jesus is what saves the soul, NOT man effort. John 3:16.
J.W. said that priests had to preach, and that all Christians are priests. This is true.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
God has made the true believers and followers of Jesus priests, kings, and lords for His glory. This means that there are no elite people in the Church of Jesus. We are all kings, lords, and priests, and therefore our only mediator is Jesus, not a pope, a bishop, or a priest. We can all come before God with confidence.
Let us them approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Also, as the Church of Jesus, we should and have to preach. Actually, Jesus commanded to His disciples to preach the gospel.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Whoever is a disciple of Jesus must preach the gospel. Nonetheless, Jesus told his disciples to preach a specific gospel which was repentance. In fact, he too preached repentance. We must spread to the world the gospel of repentance, which is to change the way we think. This means that it is not only to ask for forgiveness of sins, but to receive the mind of Christ. In that way, I will not go back and commit the same sin, hence, the mind of Christ will make me loose every philosophy and religion, and stone wall of darkness that had been formed in my mind. I will not believe the lies of the devil anymore which is sickness, disease, death, religion, limitation, fear, disbelief, etc., but I will now have the faith to move mountains, heal, live in divine health, and manifest the power of God.
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, the he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
We must also preach good tidings, which is also part of having the mind of Christ.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings onto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
These are only a few of the things I believe in. We mustn’t limit ourselves into our reason and disbelief. The Kingdom of God is here, and I preach to you repent! Change the way you think! Seek Jesus, not man!