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

By Carl R. Trueman | Go to book overview

3
The Intellectual Context 2

LUTHER'S LEGACY

WHILE England never produced an organized Lutheran movement of any significance, it is simply impossible to understand the nature of English Reformation thought without reference to the theology of Martin Luther. Indeed, as the English Reformers moved beyond Humanism, it was to Wittenberg that they turned for inspiration. Both Tyndale and Barnes studied at Wittenberg University and, along with Frith, used Luther's writings as the textual basis for significant portions of their own literary output. All three also adopted justification by faith as a central motif of their theology, thus underlining their sympathy with Luther's position. There can be no doubt that they considered themselves to be allies of Luther in the fight against a false Christianity. Indeed, this was the view of their most talented opponent, Thomas More, who regarded them as nothing more than Lutheran heretics.

Until fairly recently, this view was also that of scholars of the English Reformation. Despite the fact that Barnes was the only one to hold a Lutheran view of the Eucharist, it was generally accepted that Tyndale, Frith and Barnes all advocated a view of salvation which was substantially identical to that of Luther. However, this position has been seriously challenged in the last forty years, and scholarly opinion concerning Luther's relationship to English Reformation thought is now firmly divided.

The two most important revisionist scholars are W. A. Clebsch and L. J. Trinterud.1 In a historical and theological study of early

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1
W. A. Clebsch, England's Earliest Protestants; L. J. Trinterud, ' "A Reappraisal of William Tyndale's Debt to Martin Luther"', CH 31 ( 1962), 24-45; ' "The Origins of Puritanism"', CH 20 ( 1951), 37-57. J. G. Møller also regards Tyndale's theology as

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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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