John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
Wycliffe was highly educated. He was the master of Balliol College Oxford in 1361 and became a Doctor of Theology.
In 1366 Wycliffe supported Edward III and his refusal to pay tribute to the Pope. In 1374 Wycliffe denounced the sale of indulgences and verbally attacked the Pope. From this point on Wycliffe had severe opposition from Rome and from the church in England. The Pope issued five decrees (Bulls) against him and condemned him on nineteen different charges concerning his writings.
Four years later Wycliffe attacked the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation and in the ensuing troubles he retired from public life.
Fortunately the greatest of all of his works was accomplished. Wycliffe translated the Bible into the first English translation thus making it available to ordinary people. Those who could read were able to tell other people what the Bible actually said.
Wycliffe had a group of followers who acted as unauthorized preachers. They went out amongst ordinary people and preached the gospel to them. These followers were known as Lollards. Wycliffe's influence thus continued after his death in 1384. And his writings spread to the European continent when they were adopted by John Huss who was at the Prague University.
Forty years after his death, John Wycliffes's bones were dug up and burnt by order of the Roman church.