A person’s life may be looked at from an almost infinite number of different angles. But when I look at Latimer’s life, what I see ahead of anything else is a life-story that seems to have been written to prove, beyond question, that God is sovereign over all affairs of men; that nothing can resist His will and that when the appointed time of blessing is come to a nation, He acts decisively.
Since the days of the apostles, the church of Jesus Christ has had to contend with false teachers, and with the great damage that they bring. Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of church history knows that, very often, it is false teaching that appears to win the day. True religion is very often overthrown by those who pervert the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul knew only too well the cost of maintaining the struggle against heresy and error. He was followed by generations of church leaders, some of whom are very well-known even in our day, who had to stand fast in the face of enormous opposition, for the claims of truth.
England, and indeed Europe, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was a veritable cesspit in which wickedness was rife and immorality thrived. Those entrusted to that most serious duty of guiding and nurturing souls unto perfection in Christ, led only in this respect: that they were role models of iniquity and gross excess. What is still more shameful, is that they should arrogantly bear the title of Holy Church and pretend to perpetuate that most sacred of missions entrusted by Christ to His apostles.
Born in 1489, six years after Luther, and twenty years before Calvin, Cranmer spent his early life in Aslockton in Nottinghamshire. His early education was conducted under the direction of a rather cruel papist priest, so, naturally, Cranmer imbibed all the usual superstitious idolatry associated with the mainstream pre-Reformation church at that time.
I’m afraid I am rather out of my depth with this task: I am not able to condense Tyndale’s life into a brief summary, but I would like to try to give a small glimpse into the circumstances in which Tyndale translated the New Testament and half the Old, into English, and more importantly, what motivated him to do it.