William Tyndale – Criminal or Christian martyr?


A Tyndale Bible, displayed at the Bodleian Library in June 2014, photo by Steve Bennett (stevage)

A Tyndale Bible, displayed at the Bodleian Library in June 2014, photo by Steve Bennett (stevage), Wikimedia Commons.


Answering The Catholic Thinker

William Tyndale: Victim or Criminal?

In reality, Tyndale was a criminal, a breaker of the law. He knew very well that it was illegal to make an unauthorized translation. A look at the facts behind Tyndale’s death should scatter the notion that Catholics murdered him for simply translating the Bible, just another fanciful “history” of the Catholic Church.

Patrick E. Devens


File:Foxe's Book of Martyrs - Tyndale.jpg

Preparations to burn the body of William Tyndale. John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 1563. Tyndale was strangled and then his body was burned.



With other readers I tried to defend Tyndale to Patrick. Patrick wasn’t convinced and could only see Tyndale as a criminal. Having thought this over, I’m learning at last that Protestants and Evangelicals – Bible believers – cannot win The Argument with Rome or its followers, but in spite of this fact must answer from the Word of God. Catholics will answer back with “Who gave you the Bible? We did!”, but we will have honored the Lord Jesus Christ – praise Him forever!

So here is a Biblical answer to Patrick who maintains that as a lawbreaker Tyndale deserved to be punished; and that it was the State that executed him and that the Church of Rome didn’t have much to do with this. 

Acts 5

17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” 21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, 23 saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).

27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.

35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.


Resources for studying William Tyndale, Christian Martyr

William Tyndale’s Life and Work

The History of Protestantism by ‘James Aitken Wylie, Book 23 — Protestantism in England From the Times of Henry VIII, Chapter 4 — Tyndale’s New Testament arrives in England

Read The Tyndale Bible, at Bible Study Tools




Hermann Schweder, painter - Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley

Quote of the day – Hugh Latimer


Psalm 119:104


104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.


Hermann Schweder, painter - Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley

The Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer were executed on the 16th of October 1555, during the blessedly brief reign of Queen Mary. During her five years as sovereign, 280 religious dissenters were burned at the stake in the “Marian persecutions” (Wiki).

This quote of Latimer’s appears in a contemporary polemic against the Christian celebration of Christmas as a ‘holy day’. (It’s never out of season to consider this issue.) Following the quote, you’ll find the opening paragraph of the article.

“When candles go up, preaching comes down.”

“In the Highlands of Scotland in the mid-twentieth century Christmas day was regarded as an ordinary working day. There was little recognition of it in the community and almost none in the Presbyterian Churches. This was the result of the Reformed heritage handed down from the 16th century Reformation, and especially from the Puritan element within it, that prevailed in England and Scotland. Some observed the day as a family occasion; others celebrated New Year’s Day, as they did with Harvest Thanksgiving, to acknowledge God’s goodness in the past and seeking his blessing on the future…”

Rev John J Murray

Candles Up, Preaching Down

Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

HT: Sherry, for bringing this article to us in a comment on her post The Curse of Using Carnal Methods for God’s Work

HT: Meg, for presenting an image of Hermann Schweder’s painting in her post TO RIGHT THE WRONGS OF MANY

Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley martyred by being burnt at the stake. John Foxe's book of martyrs. 1563 edition.



CORRECTION TO: Important news – from Christian Heritage News (Angela Wittman)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Four Wycliffe Bible Translators Murdered by Militants in Middle East

Posted at Christian Headlines:

Four Bible translators have been murdered by militants in the Middle East, Bible translating ministry Wycliffe Associates, reports.

According to Wycliffe, a raid took place on the translators’ office. Two of the translators were shot and killed, while another two died of wounds from being beaten. These last two managed to protect and save the lead translator by lying on top of him while the militants beat them with their now-empty weapons.

The militants also destroyed translating equipment, including Print on Demand equipment, books, and translation materials.

3.23.2016 – Editor’s Note:
There seems to be confusion about which group these martyred translators were part of and Wycliffe Global Alliance has posted this disclaimer:

“Murdered Translators” Not Affiliated with Wycliffe Global Alliance Organizations

Asia [posted 03-2016]

Some me­dia net­works have re­cently pub­lished sto­ries con­cern­ing four lo­cal trans­la­tors ‘mur­dered by mil­i­tants in the Mid­dle East’. Some of the news sto­ries and head­lines iden­ti­fied these trans­la­tors as “Wycliffe trans­la­tors.” In fact, no Wycliffe Global Al­liance staff, staff of Al­liance or­ga­ni­za­tions, or re­lated lo­cal part­ners have been harmed.

We are sad­dened to hear of this tragic story and those af­fected by it, what­ever or­ga­ni­za­tion they may be as­so­ci­ated with. We, how­ever, have no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about this in­ci­dent, where it took place or who was involved.


Important news – from Christian Heritage News (Angela Wittman)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Four Wycliffe Bible Translators Murdered by Militants in Middle East

Posted at Christian Headlines:

Four Bible translators have been murdered by militants in the Middle East, Bible translating ministry Wycliffe Associates, reports.

According to Wycliffe, a raid took place on the translators’ office. Two of the translators were shot and killed, while another two died of wounds from being beaten. These last two managed to protect and save the lead translator by lying on top of him while the militants beat them with their now-empty weapons.

The militants also destroyed translating equipment, including Print on Demand equipment, books, and translation materials.


What is the pilgrim Church?




A question keeps popping up from Catholics critical of Biblical faith, and from Evangelicals who defend Catholicism, both here at my blog in a small way, and regularly at Timothy Kauffman’s Out of His Mouth blog. These critics believe that it can’t be answered – perhaps they want to believe that it can’t be. They ask,

If Biblical faith is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” where was it during the many centuries when Catholicism and Orthodoxy were all there was of Christianity? That is, if Bible Christianity really is the true faith, why did the gates of hell prevail against it so that after the apostles it ceased to exist? 

This has been answered but the answers are usually rejected. E.H. Broadbent, in his book The Pilgrim Church, and others, have demonstrated that the belief that Bible Christianity did not exist is held because Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, which held sway over the church for so long, labeled dissenters ‘heretics’, killed or scattered them, destroyed their writings, and were the ones who wrote the history that came down to us, or influenced much of the history that has been written since. 

Using facts learned through careful research, along with Biblical discernment, God’s children can follow the trail of bloody footprints of those who treasured God’s Word and walked humbly with Him. Sometimes, for a time, the trail disappears in the thickets of the forest of this world and then emerges again. It reappears wherever the Bible is preached, for the Holy Spirit – the Lord – honors His Word that gives life. (Broadbent’s view)

1 Peter 1:22-25 

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Because these pilgrims desired to live according to New Testament practice, and rejected the prevalent idolatry, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches accused them of heresy, labeling them ‘Manichaens’* (see below). Once labeled, and therefore shown to be a threat against both Church and State, they could be eliminated.

Excerpt from the Preface to

The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent

“The tragedy and glory of ‘The Pilgrim Church’ can only be faintly indicated as yet, nor can they be fully known until the time comes when the Word of the Lord is fulfilled: ‘there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known’ (Matt. 10. 26). At present, albeit through mists of our ignorance and misunderstanding, we see her warring against the powers of darkness, witnessing for her Lord in the world, suffering as she follows in His footsteps. Her people are ever pilgrims, establishing no earthly institution, because having in view the heavenly city. In their likeness to their Master they might be called Stones which the Builders Rejected (Luke 20. 17), and they are sustained in the confident hope that, when His kingdom is revealed, they will be sharers in it with Him.”

Excerpt from Chapter III – “Paulicians and Bogomils”

(A.D. 50 – 1473)

“The union of Church and State was in all times looked upon by many of the Lord’s disciples as contrary to His teaching; but whenever the Church had the power of the State at its command, it used it for the forcible suppression of any who dissented from its system or in any way refused compliance with its demands, and great numbers through indifference or interest or fear yielded at least an outward obedience. There were, however, always some who could not be induced to do this, but who still endeavoured to follow Christ and keep the teachings of His Word and the doctrine of the Apostles. These were continually objects of persecution.

“The history of the centuries which followed Constantine unfolds the growth in worldliness and ambition of the clergy, both of the Eastern and Western Catholic churches, until they claimed entire dominion over the possessions and consciences of mankind, enforcing these claims with a violence and guile that knew no limits. It also reveals vistas here and there of the path of tribulation trodden by countless saints who, at all times, and in various places, have suffered all things at the hands of the dominant World-Church, rather than deny Christ or be turned back from following Him.

“The true histories of these have been obliterated as far as possible; their writings, sharing the fate of the writers, have been destroyed to the full extent of the power allowed to their persecutors. Not only so, but histories of them have been promulgated by those to whose interest it was to disseminate the worst inventions against them in order to justify their own cruelties. In such accounts they are depicted as heretics, and evil doctrines are ascribed to them which they repudiated. They are called ‘sects’, and labels are attached to them which they themselves would not acknowledge. They usually called themselves Christian or Brethren, but numerous names were given to them by others in order to create the impression that they represented many new, strange, and unconnected sects, opprobrious epithets being applied to them to bring them into disrepute. It is therefore difficult to trace their history; what their adversaries have written of them must be suspected; words from their own lips wrung out by torture are valueless. There is, however, in spite of these hindrances, a large body of trustworthy evidence, continually being added to by further investigation, which shows what they were and did, what they believed and taught; and these their own records afford a safe guide to their faith and practice.

“Even in the first three centuries there were numerous bodies of Christians who protested against the growing laxity and worldliness in the Church, and against its departure from the teachings of Scripture. Movements of revival have never ceased to be repeated, and even when no connection between one and another is visible, the underlying cause is the same—a desire to return to the practice of some New Testament truth. In the early centuries Asia Minor and Armenia were frequently the scene of such revivings, as well as being the refuge of churches that had from the first, in varying degree, maintained purity of doctrine and godliness of life.”


Excerpt from The Key of Truth, a manual of the Paulician church of Armenia



The Book called the Key of Truth. It was written x in the era of the Saviour 1782, but of the Armenians 1230; and in the province of Taron.

Address to my dear readers.

Although the throng of distractions, and the temptations and
storms of the world, and the manifold hindrances, strong to disturb
our transitory life in various ways,— although these have sorely
beset us and suffered us not to undertake this necessary work;
nevertheless the pressing needs of the Truth of our Lord Jesus
the Son of the heavenly Father, and zeal of the Holy Spirit [urged
us ] j — yea, and also to meet the prayers of many believers, and
especially because of supreme necessity — I have cast behind me
all the affairs 2 of this transitory life, and have spared nothing in
order to give unto you, my new-born children of the universal
and apostolic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, the holy milk,
whereby ye may be nourished in the faith. .

Wherefore the Spirit of the Father in Heaven hath taken hold
of us and inspired us to write this ‘ way and truth and life.’ Foras-
much as for a long time past the spirit of deception had shut
up the Truth, as our Lord saith : The tares had suffocated it.
Furthermore it is a little and slender discourse that I have
published to you, briefly and not opulently. The which ye shall
read with deep attention, unto the glory of Jesus the Son, the
Intercessor, and unto the honour of his Father . . .

Excerpts from “The Paulicians – What Were They by Timothy W. Dunkin”

“Hence, while ‘religion’ may predominate in, or even control, an area, this does not mean that true Bible Christianity will be the norm. Indeed, based on these, it seems reasonable to conclude that, especially in times such as the Middle Ages when the socio-political system was so thoroughly dominated by apostate religion, the appearance of biblical Christianity would take on the form of these various ‘out-groups’ that cropped up here and there at times throughout this period. The Paulicians do seem to have been one of these groups, and therefore would legitimately form a part of the Baptist folkways that wind their way back to the original churches of the 1st century…

“Again, I wish to reiterate that I reject the principle of ‘apostolic succession,’ whether in its Catholic form, or in the form adopted by some Baptists who believe in strict, bishop-to-bishop, church-to-church successionism (i.e. Landmarkism). I believe that what gives a church body ‘credibility’ as a true church is where it stands on the doctrines of the Word of God…

“So, when I point to the Paulicians as part of the ‘Baptist folkways that wind their way back to the original churches of the 1st century,’ I do not mean this successionally. Rather, I mean it holistically – God has been at work, throughout this age, working in men’s hearts using His Spirit and His Word. At certain times and in certain areas, salvation and revival have broken out, and these peoples have organized themselves into the polity and followed the doctrines that they found through a plain, literal, and contextual reading of the Bible. The Paulicians were one of these groups, being witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ in Armenia and the surrounding areas during a time of near-universal apostasy.”


*Manichaeism – a dualistic religious system with Christian, Gnostic, and pagan elements, founded in Persia in the 3rd century by Manes ( circa 216– circa 276). The system was based on a supposed primeval conflict between light and darkness. It spread widely in the Roman Empire and in Asia, and survived in eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang) until the 13th century. (Google Chrome definition)



The Paulicians – What Were They? by Timothy W. Dunkin at Study to Answer.Net

HISTORY OF THE PAULICIAN ICONOCLASTS – Part 1 by Rand Winburn at iconbusters.com

HISTORY OF THE PAULICIAN ICONOCLASTS – Part 2 by Rand Winburn at iconbusters.com

Full text of “The key of truth, a manual of the Paulician church of Armenia” at archive.org