“…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10
Throughout the turbulent years of the Protestant Reformation, persecution found new footing as the Catholic church sought to suppress the new theology. One of the most renowned leaders of the Reformation movement was John Huss, a Czech priest and philosopher who became one of the central figures of the Bohemian Reformation and whose death at the hands of the Catholic leaders began the Hussite in wars. While Huss was not the only famous reformer to be martyred by the Catholic Church, his life, his work, and his teachings make him unique in the history of early church Reformation.
Hus first studied Theology at the University of Prague, earning his Bachelor of Arts in 1393 and his master’s degree in 1396. In 1402 he began his preaching career and spoke openly about the need for a reformation in the Church. The main focus of Hus’ reforming efforts was to condemn the immorality of the corrupt Catholic leaders priests. Some of the most heated arguments in which Hus took part was in regards to the Church selling “indulgences” and its part in the Crusades. Huss argued that no one, not even the Pope should be allowed to take wield the sword on behalf of the Church or sell forgiveness in the form of “indulgence letters”.
The strong position Hus held and his influence on the people of Prague led to turmoil. Rather than bring the city of Prague into a political conflict, Hus retreated to the country, focusing instead on providing guidance and help to the less learned priest of rural Bohemia. In 1413, a general council in Rome condemned the works of Wycliffe (from whom Hus drew to create many of his own works) and issued a command that they be burned. In 1414 Hus was imprisoned and on July 6th, 1415 he was condemned for heresy. His execution led to an eruption of political fury in Bohemia, forcing the Roman authorities to launch not one, but four unsuccessful crusades against the Bohemians. In spite of the attempt made by the Catholic Church to end his work, Hus’ teachings stood the test of time and today he is still acknowledged as one of the earliest and most influential contributors to Protestantism.
There are many heroes of the Reformation and we are so excited to be able to look at their work on our upcoming Reformation Heroes tour with The Master’s Academy International. At the TMAI conference. Featured speakers like James White, John MacArthur, Mike Abendroth, Paul Washer, and others will be speaking on the topic of the European Reformation, and the brave Christian men whose mission it was to share the truth about God’s Word.