BEING A PASTOR:
Pastoral Treatises of John Wycliffe

Paperback. 101 pp. $14.99

John Wycliffe (c.1320-1384) has long been famed for his role in translating the Bible into English in Medieval England. Yet he was also a learned theologian and faithful priest. Faced with an unstable political and social order, a financially and sexually corrupt Church, and the Plague, Wycliffe upheld the ultimate authority of the Word of God and attacked the Church’s many evils.

These pastoral treatises, newly translated into modern English, were originally written in the vernacular, a key means of reaching poorly educated priests who had been hastily ordained to replace those killed off by the Plague. Wycliffe argues that the Church and her ministers must return to their first love: the Lord Jesus.

In calling pastors in his own day to better tend their flocks by preaching the Scriptures, living simply, and working diligently for the good of their parishioners, Wycliffe speaks just as effectively to our time. Wracked by Plague, beset by social and political upheaval, and faced with corruption in our churches, we are more similar to Wycliffe’s audience than we might suppose. Like his original audience, we need Wycliffe’s message: our life in this world is a pilgrimage, and our destination is the celestial city, there to dwell forever with our Lord.

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The Editor

Editor: Benjamin L. Fischer (PhD University of Notre Dame) is a missionary priest of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. He serves as Rector of Christ the Redeemer (ACNA) in Nampa, Idaho, and Associate Professor at Northwest Nazarene University, where he teaches literary history.

PRAISE FOR THIS WORK

"The republication of John Wycliffe’s Pastoral Treatises comes at a crucial time for the church. Many pastors are intellectually and emotionally exhausted from exposure to books and seminars that focus on church growth and strategies for this and that cause. Wycliffe takes us deeper down into the depths of Scripture and further into the presence of God. The result is a beautiful book, a delightful vision, and a realistic approach to the care of souls. Here is a book to make your pastor’s heart sing."

- Rev. Dr. Liam Goligher

Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church

"In translating these ‘pastoral’ tracts of John Wycliffe into accessible, contemporary prose, with scholarly care and theological insight, Benjamin Fischer has made the core theological concerns of this audacious late medieval reformer accessible to a wide readership. These tracts open a window on Wycliffe’s thought regarding the interpretation of Scripture, the relation of Gospel and law, the moral life of discipleship, and the responsibility of all the faithful to seek ’the mind of Christ’ in God’s written word. Aided by Fischer’s historical introduction, readers will acquire a fresh appreciation of Wycliffe’s relatively neglected role in transmitting Augustinian theology to later generations of church reformers."

- Dr. Joan Lockwood O'Donovan

Author of "Theology of Law and Authority in the English Reformation"

"While John Wycliffe is often hailed by modern Protestants as a champion of Bible translation and a forerunner of the Reformation, he is less frequently appreciated as a significant theologian and pastor in his own right - a neglect which surely stems, in part, from the relative inaccessibility of his works. This volume thus represents a welcome course correction, for here, finely rendered in clear, modern English, we have a collection of pastoral writings that will communicate Wycliffe’s vision of a biblically-rooted, faithful Christian ministry to a twenty-first century Church that is badly in need of it."

- Dr. Matthew Bingham

Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Church History
Oak Hill College

“I’m delighted to see these pastoral works of the great fourteenth century reformer in modern English. John Wycliffe was a man of his times, and those times were many years ago. But the primary issues he wrestled with, such as sexual immorality in the church, worldly managerial clergy, and how to defund false teaching, are perennial ones. His solution — a radical focus on God’s unerring word instead of human authorities or religious entertainment — is also universally applicable. From centuries ago, Wycliffe now casts his prophetic eye over the contemporary church thanks to this new edition.”

- Rev. Dr. Lee Gatiss

Director of Church Society
Lecturer in Church History at Union School of Theology

"It would be hard to overstate the importance of John Wycliffe’s reflections on pastoral ministry. His insights on the shepherd's calling, qualifications, character, challenges, unique temptations, biblical orientation, preaching, and disciplines are a refreshing stream in today's consumerist desert. If you have grown parched by reading too many pastoral techniques du jour, this volume will quench your thirst."

- Rev. Dr. Chris Castaldo

Lead Pastor of New Covenant Church, Naperville
Author of "Justified in Christ"

MORE FROM THE DAVENANT PRESS

The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.

Below are some of the works we've published towards that end.