Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525-1556

By Carl R. Trueman | Go to book overview

nature of English Reformation thought.1Part Two then examines in detail the doctrine of salvation as taught by three Reformers during the reign of Henry VIII: William Tyndale; John Frith; and Robert Barnes. Part Three does the same for the Reformation under Edward VI and Catholic reaction under Mary, taking John Hooper and John Bradford as its subjects.

While any selection of Reformers is doomed to be in some way unrepresentative, the three men covered in Part Two of this study are as near to 'obvious choices' as possible. In general, there were few English theologians of any significance who were truly Protestant during the reign of Henry VIII. Men such as Cranmer and Ridley came to Reformation convictions relatively late in life. Indeed, Cranmer sat on the committee which condemned John Frith to death. Amongst those who did advocate true Reformation doctrine, the leading figures were undoubtedly Tyndale, Frith, and Barnes. Their writings constitute the first significant English expressions of Reformation theology and thus form the focal point of any study of English soteriology during this time.

The choice of William Tyndale as a subject needs no justification. As the translator of a Bible that was used extensively in the sixteenth century and later incorporated, to a large extent, into the Authorized Version, he exerted a profound influence on the religious language of the English people. For this reason alone, his other writings merit examination. Furthermore, he is now the subject of a growing body of secondary literature concerned with his merits not just as a translator but also as a theologian. While his soteriology has been examined in some detail, the subject has not been exhausted. In particular, little attempt has been made to set his theology within the wider context of English Reformation theology. This study seeks to rectify this deficiency.

John Frith is widely lamented as the great loss of the English Reformation. By the time of his death, aged 30 he had already converted John Rastell, a Catholic polemicist, to the Reformation

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1
Chapters 1 and 3 are intended as aids to those unfamiliar with either the history or the theology of the period. As such, they provide a basic introduction to their respective fields. Those wishing to know more about these areas should consult the books referred to in the footnotes.

-2-

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Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525-1556
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Note on Texts xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - The Historical and Intellectual Context 7
  • 1 - Five Roads to Martyrdom 9
  • 2 - The Intellectual Context 1 31
  • 3 - The Intellectual Context 2 54
  • Part Two - The Reformers Under Henry VIII 81
  • 4 - William Tyndale 83
  • 5 - John Frith 121
  • 6 - Robert Barnes 156
  • Conclusion to Part Two 198
  • Part Three - The Reformers Under Edward VI and Mary 203
  • 7 - John Hooper 205
  • 8 - John Bradford 243
  • Conclusion to Part Three 289
  • Bibliography 294
  • Index 303
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