William Tyndale – Independent Thinker in the Lollard Tradition

Summary and Tyndale's theology

Conclusion

In short, Had Tyndale’s efforts to translate the Bible into English not overshadowed his unique contribution to English religious thought he might be appreciated more today as an independent thinker with a vigorous intellect and a courageous polemic. Tyndale represented a unique blend of Lollard, Lutheran, Humanistic, and radical teaching and contributed in no small measure to the development of the peculiar English Separatist tradition such as those of Robert Browne.

Tyndale’s theology

  1. The only authority is the Scriptures understood with the intellect bearing on clear passages. Allegorical passages are understood in the light of clearly understood passages. Both the Old and New Testaments present a unified message of salvation by faith and obedience to God’s Law.

  2. The Holy Spirit guides believers to belief in the Scriptures. Understanding of the Bible comes through study, not through inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

  3. No Anfechtung or conversion experiences but an intelligent faith entering into a covenant and experiencing an outworking of God’s love.

  4. Repentance is a turning around of one’s life in obedience to God. Penance to a priesthood is, therefore, rejected. Consequently, there is no clergy/laity division.

  5. The only mediator between God and Man is Jesus Christ.

  6. Justification and redemption is by faith in Christ’s blood.

  7. Justification occurs only within a covenantal relationship with God. This relationship is established through Baptism, by obedience to God’s law, and through the blessings of the Holy Spirit.

  8. Salvation is conditional on obedience to God’s law.

  9. Baptism is critical for salvation.

  10. Possibility of sympathy with Anabaptists (adult baptism) because baptism is performed only with an intelligent faith.

  11. The Lord’s Table is a memorial not a sacrifice.

  12. The Church is the congregation of believers.

  13. The souls of man sleep awaiting the resurrection from the dead.

  14. Purgatory is a myth. Death is the same state as Christ experienced in the tomb.

  15. Possible anti-Trinitarianism.

  16. Objection to warfare based on the examples set in the New Testament.

  17. Denounced vows of chastity and poverty. Good works are an act of love and obedience to God but not a means of salvation. Christ’s Blood sanctifies.

  18. Clergy can marry and are to set an example to others by their good conduct.

  19. The State is responsible for reforming the Church and is mandated to bear the Sword on God’s behalf. The Christian is to obey the authorities. Passive disobedience is the rule when the state is contrary to Christianity.

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