Humanities 102 On-line
May 13, 2011
A New Approach to Knowing God
During the 14th century there was re-birth in the way people sought to know God. This re-birth was catapulted by the Great Schism of the Catholic church that took place after the death of Pope Gregory XI who died in Rome in 1378. After Gregory’s death there ascended to the role of pope not one, nor two, but three men who claimed the worldly lordship. It is at this time in history that men like the preacher John Ball and Oxford theologian John Wycliffe fired of verbal assaults on the organized church and inspired Christians to look out side the Catholic church to seek and know God.
John Wycliffe in particularly “argued that there was no scriptural basis for papal claims of earthly power and that the Bible should be a Christian’s sole authority.”¹
Wycliffe’s writings was a source of constant attacks on the practices of the medieval church and there rituals (pilgrimages, veneration of saint and many of the rituals that men developed over the ages). John Wycliffe sought out a simpler church, led by clergy that rejected man-made rituals. This new path to God was a great success, but came with harsh consequences. Wycliffe’s followers were persecuted and even put to death by the Catholic church for accepting this new approach (Bible as the only authority) to know God.
1. Sherman, Dennis, and Joyce Salisbury. “New Critics of the Church.” The West In The World.
Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 283-284.