The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Forerunners to Martin Luther

The Reformation

The Reformation was a titanic movement that changed everything. But it did not develop in a vacuum. Although it is dated to October 31, 1517, when a Catholic monk named Martin Luther issued his challenges to Catholic doctrine, there were forerunners to Luther who paved the way for the revolution that ensued.

Waldo and Wycliffe

There was Peter Waldo (1140-1205) in France who condemned what he considered as papal excesses and Catholic dogmas, including purgatory and transubstantiation. In 1170 he started employing men to translate the Bible into the common language of France. (This was when the Bible was available only in Latin.)

But the most important forerunner of Luther was an English theologian named John Wycliffe (c. 1324-1384). Disgusted by the immorality of the Roman Catholic priests, Wycliffe stepped forward in 1378 and launched himself as a doctrinal reformer. He condemned the teachings of indulgences, transubstantiation and papal infallibility. He was the first to label the pope as Antichrist.

He further taught that Jesus, and not the pope, is the head of the Church; that the Bible, and not the pope, is the sole authority of truth; and that the Church should be patterned after the New Testament Church.

Wycliffe’s most important contribution to reform came in 1382 when he published his English New Testament which he and others had translated from the Latin Vulgate.

John Hus

Wycliffe’s teachings had a tremendous effect on a Czech priest named John Hus (1369-1415). Like Wycliffe, Hus preached against indulgences; he taught that the true Church was the universal body of believers; he argued that Christ, and not the pope, is the head of the Church; he reasoned that the Scriptures should be the final source for all truth; and he maintained that church membership did not guarantee salvation. He also advocated that the Scriptures should be made available to the people in their own languages.

Hus was excommunicated by the pope and sent into exile. He was later burned at the stake, and John Wycliffe’s writings were used as kindling for the fire. In some of his last words in 1415, he prophesied that there would arise a man whose call for reformation could not be suppressed. That prophecy was fulfilled 100 years later in 1517 when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

Martin Luther

Regarding Martin Luther, I have always had mixed emotions about him. He certainly should be admired for having the courage to stand boldly against the most powerful and corrupt institution of the Middle Ages. It is a miracle of God that he did not lose his life for doing so. I also admire his love of God’s Word and his desire for it to be the source of all authority for the Church.

But I am mortified by his virulent anti-Semitism and his satanic proposals for dealing with the Jews — proposals which the Nazis gleefully instituted.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

6 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • In the article, “Are You Celebrating October 31st.?”, it was said, “They believed the Bible and the truths contained in it, …”

    Which Bible? Today, there are so many versions, and they ALL contradict each other, and especially the King James Version Holy Bible! They add and omit words and verses; and they change the tenses of some words, thereby changing doctrine. So, which Bible are we to use? I prefer the one and only doctrinally correct Holy Bible, not because of its literary style but because of its doctrinal integrity. If that’s too difficult for you to read, you are now without excuse! Recently, there has been a brand new version that has maintained the doctrinal integrity of the Holy Bible, replacing the old archaic pronouns with modern ones, and giving one word substitutes for the old antiquated nouns. The Church and the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in right now if we had this 200 years ago! I highly recommend it. It is called “Holy Bible”, Sword Study Bible, KJVER (Easy Read). It can be found here, You have to search for it because they do NOT promote it in Bible sell-off specials or at all. It is the best there is, and they obviously are more interested in sales than in disseminating the truth. Go to their site, click on “Bibles”, and in the search bar key in, “KJVER” and it will take you to them. I have given a few of them away and the recipients are thrilled with them, as am I!
    It is very affordablem but be sure to order the LARGE or Giant Print, as our eyes grow dimmer with age, and you’ll want to keep it until Jesus comes!

    For your information, I have done up a 32-page typewritten expose on the modern messes we call “Bibles”, and I give it away for free. The Church didn’t have half of the issues it has today while they stayed with the tried, tested, and true KJV. That should tell us something right there!

    In my experience, I have learned quite quickly that the people I tried to warn about the counterfeit bibles that have infiltrated our churches since the 1950’s, suddenly lose their sanctification; they turn nasty in a nanosecond, and flatly REFUSE to look at the copious amounts of proofs. They don’t want to know the truth, and we all know…there can only be ONE Truth! For your free copy, email me, and I’ll send it back to you: In it, I explain how the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the counterfeits, and what He wanted me to do with those in my possession! It’s time the churches woke up and realized the enemy is in their sanctuary and in the homes of the sheeple, for those who bother to take the time to crack open the covers. Way back in the 70’s and 80’s, we had sincere men of God in the pulpit, etc. warning us of these phonies, but today, the younger Christians coming up never heard those warnings and are being deceived by their own bibles!

    We can celebrate the Protestant Reformation, but the Church is quickly relinquishing the Truth (Christ) be embracing Roman Catholicism again, and the horrors of torture that come with it! Even if we celebrate the PR, what good is it to do so when we carry counterfeit bibles around as though they were the ultimate authority on “all things spiritual”! Email me and ask for a free manuscript; you’ll be shocked to learn that homosexuals, Satanists/occultists were on the revision team for these modern per-versions we now proudly carry today, calling them “the Word of God, when they’re nothing of the sort! Blessings, as you seek out the truth of God’s genuine Word!

  • I enjoyed the article. Unfortunately the date now has satanic overtones and is just a day for kids to go around getting goodies. Not many know it’s true origin.

  • You are mortified by his virulent anti-Semitism and his satanic proposals for dealing with the Jews! That’s good, as any Christian who isn’t, would be suspect!

    I wonder about Luther, as John said, concerning such that do not love their brother; “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” As, “let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:15,18. Concerning #5. “Soli Deo Gloria”, Luther certainly did not strive to live a life pleasing to God, for “If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20. Nothing very pleasing here.

  • The times we are in remind us of the progression of evil that seeks to devour people and cause them to sin. Gods word is truth. “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Romans 12:9. I read John 3:19-20 every day. Jesus said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come into the light, lest his works should be exposed.” We are seeing alot of evil exposed these days. There are always false teachers and false prophets out there, God’s words help us discern wisdom and who to stay away from. Amazing that Martin Luther was anti-semitic against the Jews and yet knew the Scripture of Genesis 12:3. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. (Israel, and the Jewish people.). John Hagee has given us alot of facts on anti-semite, Martin Luther. We left the Lutheran church many years ago.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *