Morning Star of the Reformationby Andy Thomson, Andy Thomspon, Mark Sidwell (Editor)
When young John of Wyoliffe arrives at Oxford University, he finds it a fascinating and perilous place. With his friend, Sebastian Ayleton, John experiences the terrible plague calted the "Pestilence" (the Black Death), and he becomes involved in clashes between university factions as well as riots among the townspeople. Whenever he can find time away from his studies, John's favorite place is the inn of the Kicking Pony. There he and his companions discuss the political and religious issues of the day, and it is with his friends that he first shares his growing vision of an English Bible for all Englishmen to read. In the darkness of medieval England John's pursuit of truth gleams like a solitary star the morning star that promises the sunrise to come. He paved the way for the theologians of the next century and opened hearts in preparation for the great Reformation itself.
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One area in which the presentation of history in modern public schools has failed is in giving credit where credit is due for many of the foundational concepts in our Western Civilization to great religious leaders and movements. The humanists, evolutionists, and atheists who are in control of our educational system want to move our society as far away from the Judaeo-Christian tradition as possible. One way to help remedy this situation is by good historical fiction. Louise Vernon has written some excellent "Religious Heritage Juveniles." Dave and Neta Jackson have some similar books in their "Trailblazer" series, although so many of them focus more upon strictly "religious" concepts rather than how those concepts played a role in the development of Western Culture. Bob Jones University Press has republished Scott O'Dell's wonderful book based on the life of William Tyndale, The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day, and has now published this book on Tyndale's predecessor, John Wycliffe, who lived in fourteenth century England. The life story of John Wycliffe is told by the fictional son of a fictional friend in a very interesting and readable fashion. The truth is that many of the freedoms that developed in England and which influenced our founding fathers were spurred on by first Wycliffe and then Tyndale as they fought against the absolute and stifling control of the medieval Catholic hierarchy in their attempt to provide the Bible in the language of the common people. Recognizing that such men were coming out of long-held error and reached their conclusions slowly, we do not always have to agree with everything that they said to appreciate the role that they played in history. My friend and college professor Ferrell Jenkins once said that he includes these individuals in his thinking when he sings "Faith of Our Fathers." I highly recommend this book.
This is not a hard read, and it is short. I love it though, and there are lines in this book that I have written into my collection of quotes. I love history told as a story. It is good for adolescents but an enjoyable and touching piece for adults too. I was a teenager when I read it for school, and as a 22 year old I proudly shelve it amongst my other favorites. READ IT! :D Although not in the BN.com archives, "Martin Luther" by Edwin Booth is worth a read too, although I would not place it on the same level as this one.