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Western Christianity


Lollards

Doctrines The doctrines of the Lollards were inspired by the teachings of John Wycliffe (ca. 1325-1384), an Oxford theologian whose vies anticipated many of the developments of the Reformation. Wycliff argued that the Bible was the standard of faith for Christians. The head of the church is Christ, not the pope whom he denounced as Antichrist. The true church is composed not of the visible church but of those who have been predestined to salvation. The doctrine of transubstantiation (that Christ is actually present in the eucharistic bread and wine) is illogical and unscriptural. Wycliffe's followers put forward their own teachings in a document entitled the Twelve Conclusions. The Twelve Conclusions condemned the authority of the Church of Rome, clerical celibacy, transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, warfare and monasticism. In addition, Lollard doctrine claimed that the principal duty of the priest is to preach and called for the Bible to be accessible to all people in their own language.

History The term Lollard derives from the middle Dutch word lollaert (meaning mumbler) and was applied by Wycliffe's opponents to his followers. Because of his anti-clerical views Wycliffe was forced to retire from Oxford in 1378 and his immediate supporters were rooted out and punished. The movement, however, spread well beyond Oxford. The early rapid spread of Lollard teaching was halted when Henry IV came to the throne in 1399. Two years after his accession an anti-heretic statute was passed, De haeretico comburendo, under which a number of Lollards were put to death by fire. In 1414 the Lollards rebelled against the crown, only to be defeated and driven underground. Lollard ideas revived at the beginning of the 16th century and supported by leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

Symbols The Lollards did not have a distinctive symbol system.

Adherents No contemporary adherents.

Headquarters/
Main Centre
 Oxford.