John Hus (1369-1415) was a Czech church reformer. Over a hundred years before Luther's famed 95 theses, Hus opposed indulgences, preached in vernacular Czech, preached the authority of Scripture, and defended freedom of conscience. Like Luther, his fiery opposition of corruption in the clergy was a catalyst for social upheaval and reexamination of core Christian doctrines. John Hus was executed in 1415 at the Council of Constance in Germany. He was condemned as a heretic for refusing to recant a trumped-up list of doctrines, many of which he had never believed or taught.
Hus and his colleagues were greatly influenced by the writings of John Wycliffe, though Hus held independent opinions on many key points such as the Lord's cup.
Luther wrote on reading Hus' writings, "I could not understand for what cause they had burnt so great a man, who explained the Scriptures with so much gravity and skill." Later, he wrote in a letter, "I have hitherto taught and held all the opinions of Hus without knowing it. We are all of us Hussites without knowing it."
Translated by R. Martin Pope, with introduction and historical notes by Herbert P. Workman.
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