By Aaron Scott:
The Reformation was a turning point for the church reaching the whole world, and its impact is still being felt today in nearly every region of the world. But how did the Reformation begin? And who were the main contributors to Martin Luther’s “nail heard ‘round the world”? Were there other main contributors to the Reformation that we do not hear or think about as often? When someone brings up the Reformation, my mind is immediately pulled to the pillars of the Reformation—Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, John Huss, William Tyndale, and the list goes on. As Christians today, we are eating bread that was baked in the ovens of these men’s lives. Through their lives, these men have made indelible marks in this world for the cause of Christ.
As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the work that God did in the Reformation, my mind is particularly drawn to the life and work of William Tyndale. As an American who is a member of a Baptist Church, I find the roots of my heritage in the English Reformation, of which William Tyndale played a significant role. God placed an unquenchable passion in the heart of William Tyndale to get the Word of God into the hands of every English-speaking man and woman. On one occasion, Tyndale’s passion could be seen when he confronted a businessman who stated that it was better to have the pope’s laws than God’s laws. Tyndale’s response to the man was, “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.” 1
Eventually, Tyndale’s passion for the word of God to be translated into English drew the attention of King Henry the VIII, Bishop Stokesley (Bishop of London), and Sir Thomas Moore. He ultimately captured Tyndale, tried and condemned him as a heretic, and then executed him by strangling and burning him at the stake in early October 1536. His final words rang out as he cried aloud, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes!” Though his life was snuffed out on this earth, the aims of his work on the English Bible spread throughout the world! The Lord answered Tyndale’s dying prayer, for, in 1537, King Henry VIII gave authorization for the first English translation of the Bible to be printed. And by 1539, the King required that every parish church in England should make a copy of the translation available to its parishioners.
You may ask, “So how does William Tyndale’s story affect Haiti?” I am writing this article to underscore the fact that none of William Tyndale’s work with translations would have been printed if the Lord had not brought faithful patrons for the gospel his way to fund his translation efforts. Behind every translated word of Tyndale’s Bible, God used John and Anne Walsh, the Poyntze family, and a businessman named Henry Monmouth to fund the work of Tyndale. It was through the financial support of these generous, gospel-centered patrons that God gave Tyndale the time and resources to be able to translate the Bible into English.
Much like the men and women who supported Tyndale, God is using you as a supporter and patron of Baptist Haiti Mission to see the light of the gospel reach the people of Haiti. We truly could not have seen God do the work He has done through Baptist Haiti Mission without your faithful financial support. We thank God for you and for the support He has provided for us through your generous gifts. We pray that God will continue to use supporters like you to continue the work of the Reformation in the nation of Haiti.
1 Timothy Larsen, D. W. Bebbington and Mark A. Noll, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, 678 (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003).