John Wycliffe – Heretic
We know him as the first person to translate the Holy Bible into common English. We may also know that he stood in disagreement with the Catholic Church. Today he is known as “The Morning star of the Reformation” because his religious ideas preceded Martin Luther’s by two centuries.
In addition, Wycliffe “was an innovative thinker, a prolific writer, and extremely influential in his time.” One of his innovative ideas was very similar to what later became known as the “Law of Conservation of Matter,” an idea he got from reading the Bible. When Wycliffe read in Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth, that He saw that it was good and that He rested, Wycliffe inferred, “God cannot annihilate anything, nor increase or diminish the world.”
Let’s pause now in considering the matter of ‘matter’ to think about how revolutionary Wycliffe’s ideas were and still are…
- The truth expressed in Holy Scripture superseded the truth declared by men, e.g., the papacy.
- Transubstantiation didn’t happen.
- Personal salvation came from faith in God, not from church.
- God predestined true believers, according to Rom 8:28-30.
- War was un-Christian.
These ideas, which went largely unpunished during his lifetime (probably because of the Great Schism) earned Wycliffe the distinction of having his grave dug up, his remains burned and scattered, and all his writings suppressed.
 Atomism in Late Medieval Philosophy and Theology, p. 185.
 Atomism in Late Medieval Philosophy and Theology, p. 187.
 The conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration.
 Refer to the Council of Constance.