William Tyndale (pt. 1)

William Tyndale is one of my favorite individuals in Church History. Over the next few days, maybe even a week, I will be doing a series of post about William Tyndale. This post will serve only one purpose, to inform my readers more about the life and godliness of William Tyndale. There are many things that could be said about Tyndale’s life, however I will stick to “just the facts.” This is of course a partial lie because my opinions and partiality toward Tyndale will definitely bleed through. But I will try to give you an idea of what Tyndale’s life was like.

William Tyndale

William Tyndale is one of the most important men in the history of the church, in the history of western civilization, and in the development of the English language. Tyndale had this influence despite persecution, imprisonment, and constant loneliness. The story of William Tyndale’s life is an amazing story, and it is a story that we can learn a lot from. As we look at His life we can clearly see that He was not only called by God, but he was also equipped by God. Tyndale depended on Christ as his strength. And his life is proof that the Apostle Paul was on tyndale-portrait.jpgthe mark when he wrote Romans 8:28ff:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Throughout every trial that Tyndale faced we can see that God was working for good in his life. And even though Tyndale, more often than not, found himself without any companions it is clear that there was nothing that could separate him from the love that Christ had for him.

Tyndale’s Development

Tyndale was raised in a modest home. We do not know a lot about his childhood just a few facts. It is thought that Tyndale was born around 1494, probably in North Nibley near Dursley, Gloucestershire. The town of Nibley, to this day, claims Tyndale as its own. There is even a Tyndale monument in Nibley. This monument is a tower that was constructed in 1866 and is 111 ft tall. One of the things that we know about Tyndale’s childhood is that he was well educated. In fact, at 13 Tyndale entered the equivalent of a College and earned his degree by 1512. It was then, at 18, that Tyndale entered Oxford to begin studies for his master’s degree. Three years later Tyndale was ordained as a priest and was made Master of Arts. It was not until after receiving this additional degree that Tyndale was finally permitted to study theology. To Tyndale’s great disgust the theological studies that he so looked forward to had very little to do with the study of Scripture. Tyndale loved the Scriptures, and he loved to talk about the Scriptures. But with little to no Scripture in his school studies Tyndale had to find another outlet. And, in much the same way that we might meet at Starbucks, Tyndale would gather his fellow students together for discussion and debate about the teachings of Scripture.

tyndale02.jpg Thankfully Tyndale was a gifted linguist, for without this gift Tyndale would not have been able to read his bible. We must remember that at this time there was not an English Bible available to people. Thus Tyndale toiled in the languages (Greek and Latin at this time; it was not until later that he taught himself Hebrew). It was this gift, and love for the biblical languages that led Tyndale to leave Oxford and pursue further education at Cambridge. Cambridge, with the influence of Erasmus (the leading Greek scholar of the time), was the hub of Greek and NT studies. Under the influence of the Scriptures in their original languages Cambridge became the University of the Reformers. Tyndale was drawn to this atmosphere, and clearly it was God who was at work in these events.

There is little record of Tyndale ever being at Cambridge, and we can almost imagine him quietly listening, learning, and committing himself to his studies. This was the character of William Tyndale. As we look at his life we can see that he was the personification of James 1:19:

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…

Even Thomas More, who was the most bitter enemy of Tyndale on this earth, acknowledged that Tyndale was “as men say, well known, before he went over the sea, for a man of right good living, studious and well learned in Scripture, and in divers places in England was very well liked, and did a great good with preaching… (he was) taken for a man of sober and honest living, and looked and preached holily.” I can’t help but wonder how many of us, in the face of unjust persecution, would be described in this manner by our most bitter of enemies.

to be continued…

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Demand #6: Listen to Me

what-jesus-demands-from-the-world.jpgAs you can see in the “What I am Reading” section of the sidebar I am currently reading Piper’s book “What Jesus Demands From the World.” So far this has been a wonderful read, and I would give it my highest recommendation. If you want to learn about Jesus, what He taught, and what He demands from the world then this is the book from you. I think that it is interesting that Piper decided to use only the teaching of the 4 Gospels rather than the whole NT. He explains this decision in the introduction. Part of his goal in doing this is give a “rendering of Jesus almost entirely through the lens of his own words as recorded in the Gospels.” This book is tailor made for a group study; which I would love to do with this book. I hope to do a more in depth post on this book in the future but for today I will just give you a taste of the book from chapter 6.

Demand #6: Listen to Me
Reasons to listen to Jesus:

  • No one ever spoke like this man.
  • Jesus speaks the very words of God.
  • Jesus’ words silence supernatural powers.
  • Jesus has the words of eternal life.
  • Jesus’ words awaken faith.

This is just a taste of a wonderful book that will be helpful to all people at any spiritual level.

Is Danger Inherently Bad?

My wife and I had a pretty interesting discussion Wednesday night over a cup of Starbucks (you know really coffee talk). The question that I posed to her was, is danger inherently bad?  When we often times think of a dangerous situation as a bad situation. But is danger actually a bad thing? And should we always avoid danger? I think the answer to both of these questions should probably be no. There are two specific reasons that led my wife and I to this conclusions.

  1. Danger is viewed as bad because of its ultimate feared result. And the ultimate feared result of danger (at least the kind that we were talking about) is death.  Since my wife and I are Christians we must view death as the Bible does. And the Bible is clear that death is a part of this world.  Because of sin we cannot avoid death.  As Christians my wife and I do not fear physical death because we have been set free from spiritual death.  This means that as Christians we cannot view all dagner as bad because it might lead to our death.  As Siggy from What About Bob would say, “We are all going to die.  You are going to die, I am going to die, there is nothing anyone can do about it.”  This is very perceptive, and from a physical perspective it is very true.    Our culture here in America has gone to great lengths to suppress this fact, but that does not change the fact itself.  To be frank we as a culture are in denial when it comes to death.  It really is odd that people do not know how to deal with something that will happen to each and every person on this earth (until the return of Christ).  I am not suggesting that we be cold and aloof towards the sorrow of death.  Mourning is appropriate, but most people do not even know how to mourn.  The fact that many people need therapy following the death of a loved shows that we as a culture are not doing a good job of dealing with death.  Going back to my original point this is why we have insulated ourselves so much from danger.  Do you realize how many phobias exists?  I do not think that this point (Our culture insulates itself from danger because it is afraid of death) needs much illustration.  But being a preacher at heart I will illustrate anyway!  My wife and I just had our first child. This means that shockingly in the last year my trips to “Babie’s-R-Us” have exceeded my trips to “Home Depot.”  It does not take long in “Babies-R-Us” to realize that you could spend quite a few paychecks (at least the ones I get) on safe guards and safety equipment alone.  Some of these items my wife and I have purchased.  However, my wife and I also realize that it would be a great disservice to our daughter if we insulated her from the danger of every little “boo boo” her entire childhood.  There are great lessons to be learned in the little “boo boo’s.”  And we know that our primary job is to teach her to love the Lord and his laws.  We must also be wise in protecting her physically, but ultimately we must trust in the Lord for her safety.  If we are always sacred to death that she will get hurt doing something then we will be teaching her by our actions not to trust in the Lord (Let me add for the sake of her grandparents, who read this blog, that we are concerned for her safety and we take appropriate measure to ensure that safety.  And if we ever have a boy we do not plan to name him Sue.).  My point is that danger is a part of this life, and we want to teach our daughter this now on a small scale so that as she gets older and leaves our care she will be able to handle the inherent dangers of this world.
  2. The second reason that danger is not inherently bad (again from a Christian worldview) is that there are inherent dangers in spreading the Gospel throughout all the Nations.  Remember Christ warned us that because they persecuted Him they will persecute us as well.  What is so amazing is that this danger is not presented by the Bible as a deterrent.  In fact the apostles considered it an honor to experience the reproach of Christ.  Even Moses, who lived thousands of years before Christ, “considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Heb 11:26).  The reason that Christians can view the world in this way is because we are looking beyond this world to the age to come.  We are greatly anticipating the arrival of our King Jesus and then the reproaches that we faced because we were loyal to Him will be forgotten.  This why the dangers of being a Christian should be of little concern. 

The State of the Union

bush5.jpgI had to work last night so I was unable to see the President’s speech live. I have caught a good amount of it on-line, and read other parts of it. My initial reaction is positive; especially that part about not raising taxes! I also think that if we want to get out of Iraq then we need to go over there in full force and wipe out our enemies. Some of the issues that Bush brought up, i.e. earmarks, are good ideas but will never happen.  I really would like to get that tax cut for health insurance, but I am not sure about giving out grants for health insurance.  I really think that the health savings accounts are the way to go.  The only way that our government can right the ship is if we get away from the entitlement mentality of the government, and promote personal responsibility.  This mentality of entitlement at the expense of personal responsibility is a major cultural problem that we as Christians are facing.  It is more than just a hindrance on the government; it is a hindrance on the spread of the gospel.

Of course I had many other thoughts as I was listening to the speech, but at times it was hard for me focus. It was not because it was boring, or I do not have the attention span for it. No, it was because Nancy Pelosi was blinking 35 times a second. Didn’t notice it, go see the video here.

Take a moment and pray for Kailee

kailee.jpgThe story of Kailee Wells is breathtaking. Kailee, like my little sister, was born in China. Kailee was an orphaned little baby girl who had little hope. That changed when her parents, from America, adopted her and brought her home. All of this was in the providence of God for now Kailee had a home and hope. Fast forward to 2002. Kailee began to have health problems, and was eventually diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia. God knew that Kailee would have these problems, and as we can see now that is why He brought her to America. Here in the States Kailee has received all kinds of treatments. Here is a portion of a letter that can be found on Kailee’s website:

I have had every possible medical treatment for this disease, including several different rounds of profound immune-suppression. My family, doctors and many other people have continuously searched for a matching bone marrow donor for me because a successful bone marrow transplant is my last chance to get rid of this “stupid Aplastic Anemia” once and for all!

Apparently since that letter Kailee found a donor and has had two transplant procedures performed. Unfortunately these two surgeries did not solve the problem. This is why Kailee needs our prayers. On Feb. 3rd Kailee will be undergoing one last transplant. If this transplant does not “take” there will nothing more that doctors can do for Kailee.

It is the work of God that Kailee is here receiving any treatment at all; Please pray that God would continue to work in this situation for Kailee’s physical and spiritual good.

Do Not Speak Against One Another (James 4:11-12) Pt. 2

James 4:11-12

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

II. Reasons not to speak against one another.

  • a. You will speak against and judge the law.
  • In verse 11 James gives us two additional reasons not to speak against one another. First, if we speak against and judge a brother then we are speaking against and judging the law. In order to understand the weight of James’ argument we need to understand what James means by law. As we have already mentioned it seems best to understand the law that James is talking about here as the law that he described in 2:8-12. This royal law is that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There are several reasons why it is best to understand James as talking about this law here. Originally the command to love your neighbor as yourself is found in Leviticus 19:18. A close look at the context of this passage will reveal its relevance to our text. In v. 16, which is part of a group of commands that are summed up by the “royal law,” we find the command not to go about as a slanderer. So, we can understand James as referring to the royal law because when the command to love your neighbor was originally given “not speaking against one another” .vas a part of it. Additionally I think that it is significant that James uses the word neighbor in v. 12. James uses the word brother(s) three times in v. 11; I think that James switches terms to highlight the relationship between his command here and the royal law.The question that we really need to answer is how are we speaking against and judging the royal law when we speak against and judge our neighbor? The answer to that is actually quite simple. When we speak against one another we fail to keep the royal law. By our failure to keep the law we are denying the law’s authority in our life. In other words, when we do not do what the law commands we are judging the law to be inferior to our own ways. This is how we speak against and judge the law when we speak against and judge other people.

  • b. You will not be a doer of the law.
  • The second reason that James gives for not speaking against one another in v. II is that if we are speaking against one another we will not be doers of the law. This is an important theme in the book of James. For James the only way to prove what you believe is by what you do. Therefore, if you claim to believe in God’s Word then you must act on God’s word. This was exactly James’ point in: 1:23-25. In these verses the man who ignores his own appearance proves that he does not care what his mirror reveals to him. The analogy should teach us that if we do not do what the Bible says then it proves that we do not care what the Bible reveals to us. When we believe God’s Word then we will put it into practice. This includes hearing the Gospel and acting on it. This is one of the reasons why in 1:25 James says that the doer of God’s word will be blessed in what he does.If we are speaking against one another then we are not doers of God’s word. Rather, we arc breaking the command of God’s word. This is why we must strive to be doers of God’s word. We have to replace our evil speech with words that are consistent with the royal command to love one another. When our words are saturated with love, then we will be doers of God’s word. This means that we don’t always have to get the last word in. We can help another in their mishaps, rather than having a laugh at their expense. When someone comes to you to speak poorly of another person you remind them of this command, and you demonstrate to them how to be a doer of God’s word. If you can humble yourself enough to do this you will “be blessed” because God gives grace to the humble.