“In the BEGINNING was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD.”
The Printing Press
The printing press, invented in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468), became the most critical factor in the progression of the Reformation. The printing press provided the vehicle for the far-reaching circulation of NEW information. They were encouraging independent interpretational thoughts on subjects under the rigid control of the literate ELITE.
Reformers such as John Wycliffe (1330-1384) and Jan Hus (1369-1415), both supporters of Martin Luther, lacked the means to reach the masses.
John Wycliffe translated the bible from Latin to Middle English. His vision was to enable more people to read the bible personally. However, most people were illiterate in reading Latin or English. Wycliffe and John Hus started the Bohemian Movement (1380-1436). At that time, woodblock printing was time-consuming and costly. Though the Wycliffe Bible went through multiple printings, it could not reach a large audience. The Catholic church condemned Wycliffe’s endeavours. John Hus, Wycliffe’s printing partner, faced execution in 1415.
Gutenberg’s invention of moveable face type and the press facilitated printing many books at a low cost, allowing for wide distribution. The valued press once again exploited and challenged the draconian control of the Catholic Church.
Works by John Calvin (1509-1564) and Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) became best-sellers. The protestant vision of Christianity was given voice through the power of the printing press.
The Catholic church controlled what was to be printed. They knew most people were uneducated and illiterate. Hence, the church continued unchallenged and unaccountable for their suppression of the populace. Those who could READ gave public readings of this so-called SEDITIOUS material. Church authorities monitored this HEARING of the material. The printing press was not the instigator of this Reformation; it had its beginnings long before. The press was GOD’S avenue of access to further open people’s eyes to his TRUTH of individual autonomy and freedom of speech.
IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO WERE EXECUTED FOR STANDING FOR TRUTH:
A clergyman from Martham, Norfolk. He was BURNT at the stake on February 23, 1530, at Maidstone, Kent.
A teacher from Exeter, Devon. He was BURNT at the stake on January 15, 1531, at Exeter, Devon.
A Clergyman from Norwich, Norfolk. He was BURNT at the stake on August 19, 1531, at Lollards Pit, Norwich, Norfolk.
A leather seller from Paternoster Row, London. He was BURNT at the stake on December 1531 at Smithfield, London.
A Lawyer from Middle Temple, London. He was BURNT at the stake on April 30, 1532, at Smithfield, London.
An “aged father” from Chesham, Buckinghamshire. His brains were dashed out with a billet of wood while being BURNT at the stake in May of 1532 at Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
An apprentice to a tailor from Watling Street, London. He was BURNT at the stake on July 4, 1533, at Smithfield, London.
A 15-year-old teenager. He was BURNT at the stake on July 30, 1541.
The wife of Thomas Kyme, farmer and landowner from Stallingborough, Lincolnshire. She was BURNT at the stake on July 16, 1546, at Smithfield, London.
An upholsterer from Walbrook, London. He was BURNT at the stake on May 30, 1555, at Smithfield, London.
A widow from Pepeling, Calais. She was BURNT at the stake on July 17, 1555, at Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The widow of John Warne from Walbrook, London. She was BURNT at the stake on August 23, 1555, at Stratford-atte-bow, London.
She was the wife of John Foster from Fleet Street, London. She was BURNT at the stake on January 27, 1556, at Smithfield, London.
A widow from Tunbridge Wells, Kent. She was BURNT at the stake on April 1, 1556, at Rochester, Kent.
The list of those executed goes on and on. These Men and Women who gave their lives to stand for TRUTH for the next generations to come, and we are the recipients of their choice to SUFFER and DIE. My own heart laments alongside Jeremiah for these people of the past.
“Since my people were crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.”
My fellow citizens of this earth, I compel you to allow the testimony of those who have gone before and willingly laid down their lives for FREEDOM to ignite this same passion for yourself and the next and next and next GENERATIONS.
AND ALL THE PEOPLE SAID
Friday, September 15, 2023
Sally Darlene Cooper