William Tydale’s Example as Important 500 Years Later

Christians should know that speaking truth to power could get them killed, but this should not stop them from speaking it. History shows that when a certain kind of tyranny is in power, the truths that Christians hold dear are attacked, and they have had to decide whether to stand up, or stand down. A lasting legacy of the tyranny of Joseph Biden’s presidency will be the stifling of conservative Christian voices. The tragedy of this reality is that he doesn’t have to put in much effort to snuff out the truths conservatives desire to share, because most of the Americans who voted for him, and the media that helped him get elected, do not care about truth, and will try to censor anyone who has any desire to share it. A prime example is the way the military is currently treated. Although Americans hold religious freedoms in high regard, the religious purge of the ranks of the Armed Forces has not received much attention by the majority of our elected leaders, and it is perhaps because of the utter contempt half of the country has for anyone who would refuse the big-pharma vaccines. This action should cause more outrage than I have seen, but I know this is nothing new in history for Christians of all walks of life. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, in the year 308, demanded that his soldiers burn incense to the Roman gods or else lose their posts, their pay, and possibly their lives. The Christians in the ranks decided that they would rather hazard their lives than forsake the Lord Jesus, who payed for their souls with his own precious blood. This is just one example in history, and there are certainly myriad more. 

This action by the Christians in those dark days is a lesson to all of us, that we have an unction from God to preach the truth, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, the voices that should be the loudest across this land have been the quietest. When the pandemic first struck it caused the Christians to flee in fear. Churches around the country closed down, and many have remained closed these two years. In times past, if Christians were told by their governments to forsake meeting with each other, they would have seen this demand for what it was, a subtle way to stifle the truth, divide people further, and control them with false information. As always, Christians have the opportunity to raise their voices again for the truth, but they stay silent in order to appease the woke mob, and because they believed the liberal lie that our politicians should reject God’s laws, stemming from the lie of “separation of Church and state.” If this brand of Christianity had been prevalent in the day of Diocletian, no doubt the soldiers would have sacrificed to false gods to save their lives. 

This brings us to the occasion of this exhortation; 2022 is the 500th anniversary of when the martyr William Tyndale began to translate the Greek New Testament into English and preach God’s Word in the native tongue of his English congregation. When he began his work in 1522, Roman Catholic tyranny was in full force, and each mass was performed in Latin. Of course, Tyndale believed this was against God’s will, for what good is it to the people if they hear truth in a language they cannot understand? Tyndale wanted the truth disseminated to the Kings and the ploughboys as far as it could go in the language that they understood. The obstacles in his day were not so different compared to the obstacles we face today. Was there an oligarchy that controlled what information people had access to? In 1522 it was the Pope and his empire. In 2022 it is big tech and their empire. Was there a stigma surrounding the access to truth? Tyndale complained that the tyrannical church permitted the lay people to read as much Robin Hood and Hercules as they wanted, and “a thousand histories and fables of love and wantonness, and of ribaldry, as filthy as the heart can think, to corrupt the minds of youth with, completely contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles” (“The Obedience of a Christian Man”), and yet they constrained people’s access to God’s Word. Today, we have Bibles by the boatload, and the right information has the potential to reach millions, but the material the modern tyrants would rather have us be attentive to include Netflix, TikTok, Snapchat, endless video games, movies, and entertainment of all kinds, which do nothing but poison our minds and keep us sedated, so that we do not complain about the limited access to truth, as Tyndale did.

We can learn much from Tyndale’s resolve, especially in this time of great untruths, 500 years after he began his work. For when the Pope threatened death, Tyndale worked to bring life,  and the threats did much to persuade him to work even harder to bring God’s Word to the people, lest they be lost in the darkness of lies forever. Tyndale toiled the rest of his life to translate the entire Bible to English. He started with the New Testament and completed it in 1526. He printed it in Germany by the thousands and smuggled them into England. During this time he also printed books he wrote about current events. This angered the Catholics and, unfortunately, rubbed King Henry VIII of England the wrong way. While Henry was under the Popish control, he was against Tyndale’s works. Tyndale attempted to persuade the King to allow his work to be given free course throughout the land, but Henry would not relent. Tyndale was a fugitive from the Pope’s minions as well as the King of England for the rest of his days. 

Tyndale’s work brought him to Belgium, where he was captured, imprisoned, and was burned at the stake in 1536. While he wasted away in prison before his execution, he was still desirous to continue his translation work because he wanted to bring God’s truth to his people. His dying words were,

“LORD! Open the King of England’s eyes!”

God answered Tyndale’s dying prayer, and in 1539 King Henry VIII authorized the Bible to be printed in English, with a copy given to each Church in England. This was the first time many of the English speaking people would hear truth spoken to them in their own language, as opposed to the lies they had been fed throughout their lives. 

The Christians in this modern world should have the same desire to disseminate the truth of Christ to the lost and dying world. However strong the tyranny may be, our God is stronger still, and will strengthen us through each trial, as we have known him to do in the lives of the Christians who came before us. Through him, we are able to hazard the same dangers as Tyndale in order to accomplish this important work. Our work will involve speaking, writing, printing books, and bringing the truth to light in anyway we can. And our prayer should be: LORD, open President Biden’s eyes!

The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Amen.

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